This is still a large and heavy car, but its inherent balance provides the driver with great confidence

Our Verdict

Porsche Panamera GTS
The Panamera is the latest Porsche model to get the GTS treatment

Curious mix of raw and cooked doesn’t automatically make the GTS the stand-out car in the Panamera range

  • First Drive

    Porsche Panamera GTS

    This is still a large and heavy car, but its inherent balance provides the driver with great confidence
21 January 2012

What is it?

With all of the new model activity going on at Porsche these days it would be easy to look upon the new Porsche Panamera GTS as just another version of its big luxury liftback conceived to pad out its ever growing range in the search of greater profits prior to the arrival of a facelifted model later this year.

But to do so would be to ignore one thing: the Panamera GTS is, whisper it, quite special – by far the most engaging in what is now a significant seven strong line-up of Panamera models offered here in the UK.

What’s it like?

At the heart of the Panamera GTS is a powered up version of the naturally aspirated 4.8-litre V8 direct injection petrol engine found in the Panamera S. Through the adoption of an altered inlet manifold and other detailed internal modifications, the four-valve-per-cylinder unit gains 30bhp, taking power up to 424bhp. At the same time, torque climbs by 14lb ft to 383lb ft. The same engine is earmarked for the upcoming second generation Cayenne GTS due in the UK in September.

As with its lesser siblings, the Panamera GTS offers the choice between three different driving modes: standard, sport and sport plus. Each mode brings its own specific throttle and steering mapping as well as suspension and driver assistance function settings. The difference is that the this latest version of the range topping Porsche offers a greater spread of abilities– standard mode continues to offer up cosseting refinement but Sport Plus is more sporting than other Panamera models, giving it a more focused character.

The seven speed PDK gearbox, which comes as standard, is brilliantly effective, capable of firing off up shifts under full load with the sort of decisiveness and speed you’re unlikely to ever achieve with a traditional manual gearbox out on the open road while providing imbibing smoothness and efficiency when asked to perform as an automatic on part throttle openings around town. On top of this are its fuel saving features: stop/start, brake energy recuperation included.

Together, the engine and gearbox combine to provide the Panamara GTS with explosive off the line and in-gear acceleration. Despite giving away 148bhp and 119lb ft to the recently launched sixth generaton M5, the new Porsche is just 0.2sec slower to 62mph than the new BMW at a claimed 4.5sec. Porsche also says it’ll hit 100mph in 10.9sec on the way to a top speed of 179mph. Not exactly slow, then. Drive it more sparingly, and you also get close to matching Porsche’s claimed 26.4mpg.

Up until now we’ve been impressed if not exactly blown away by the Panamera’s dynamic ability. It’s more engaging than the Audi A8, BMW 7-series, Jaguar XJ and Mercedes-Benz S-class on the right road in each of its different guises.

Among the highlights is the lightly altered variable ratio steering, which while continuing to lack for ultimate precision on dead centre improves greatly as lock is applied and is tremendously well weighted – not too light that interaction between driver and car is lost and not too heavy to make it a chore on more challenging back roads.

But it is the changes Porsche’s engineers have made to the suspension which are most telling. Unique elasto-kinematic properties combine with a general 10mm reduction in ride height to provide the GTS with excellent turn in traits, truly impressive body control and the sort of back road agility to shame just about every up-market rival.

Should I buy one?

Make no mistake, this is a large and heavy car, almost five metres in length and close to two tones at the kerb, no less. But it feels much smaller and lighter from the low seat driver’s seat owing to its inherent agility and, thanks to the actions of its sophisticated four wheel drive system with its electronically controlled locking rear differential and integrated torque vectoring feature that juggles the amount of power going to each of the rear wheels, extraordinary grip. Even on winter tyres, as fitted to our test car, its inherent balance provides the driver with great confidence.

Porsche Panamera GTS PDK

Price: TBA; Top speed: 179mph; 0-62mph: 4.5sec; Economy: 26.4mpg; Co2: 251g/km; Kerb weight: 1920kg; Engine type, cc: V8, 4806cc; Installation: front, longitudinal; Power: 424bhp at 6700rpm; Torque: 383lb ft at 3500rpm; Gearbox: 7-speed double clutch

Join the debate

Comments
46

23 January 2012


Okay, Mr. Kable, how about adding some balance to your writing?

[quote Autocar]Despite giving away 148bhp and 119lb ft to the recently launched sixth generaton M5, the new Porsche is just 0.2sec slower to 62mph than the new BMW at a claimed 4.5sec.[/quote]

How about....

[quote Autocar]Despite giving away 148bhp and 119lb ft to the recently launched sixth generaton M5, the new Porsche does only 26.4mpg while the M5 beats it with 28.5mpg.[/quote]

You're very selective with your figures for the sensational, lopsided view every time.

23 January 2012

[quote The Special One]Tumbleweed[/quote]Only 3 minutes on screen and already the topic is tainted.

23 January 2012

The GTS versions of Porsche have always been a little more special and this one doesn't change that. They even appear to have made it the best looking Panamera in the range.

 

 

It's all about the twisties........

23 January 2012

I once had a ride in a first generation Cayenne GTS, the manual six speeder made it the most awkward sporty SUV I never been in, I am guessing why they choose not to offer the manual transmission on the Panamera GTS, given that the manual transmission is already offered in the Panamera bsae and S rwd models. And obviously it should have been rwd!

23 January 2012

Impressive car and interesting that Porsche is sticking to naturally aspirated engines for most of its models. But why no word on the car's ride quality, noise levels etc, especially considering that, as stated in the article, it competes in the luxury end of the market?

23 January 2012

[quote TegTypeR]They even appear to have made it the best looking Panamera in the range.[/quote]

Hard to digest.Look at that rear, oversizesed end.

23 January 2012

I am with Overdrive and The Special One on this. This article reads full of praise, key qualities a luxury car should offer are glaringly overlooked...I'd say it stinks of BS. Greg, the article needs to be more objective:

Meaning - uninfluenced by emotions or personal prejudice, or in other words a balanced view. Hope this helps ; -)

23 January 2012

[quote The Special One]the new Porsche does only 26.4mpg while the M5 beats it with 28.5mpg.[/quote]

I would prefer the BMW too but its a pretty piffling mpg differential for cars at this level surely? Hardly justifies the 'sensational, lopsided view' you apply to it, surely the article would run to many pages if detailed comparisons were made with all potential rivals?

The near parity on performance is probably due to 4wd traction i would guess?

23 January 2012

[quote RadeB]

[quote TegTypeR]They even appear to have made it the best looking Panamera in the range.[/quote]

Hard to digest.Look at that rear, oversizesed end.

[/quote]

The blacked front lip and the black sills do something visually. You are right though, the back end still looks awful.

With regards to the over enthusiastic / over biased way the piece is written, unfortunately, this is a typical Greg Kable piece.

 

 

It's all about the twisties........

23 January 2012

So big it's pointless on any road other than a motorway

 

Hydrogen cars just went POP

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