A mightily impressive engineering achievement, but an expensive one at that

Our Verdict

Porsche Panamera Turbo

Porsche's Panamera has had a mid-life refresh, tested here in its most-powerful state yet - the new 513bhp Turbo

6 June 2011

What is it?

This is the £122,623 Panamera Turbo S, a riotous extension of Stuttgart’s blown four-door rocketship boasting, at 543bhp, a crowd-pleasing 50bhp more than the standard Turbo. More pertinently, the Turbo S produces 553lb ft, rising to 590lb ft with overboost, compared with the non-S Turbo’s positively asthmatic 516lb ft, or overboosted 567lb ft.

The Turbo S also gets cosmetic upgrades including side skirts, new 20-inch alloys, 5mm spacers behind the rear wheels to widen the track (Porsche says it’s an aesthetic upgrade, not a performance one), revised engine bay styling, a two-tone leather interior and its own unique agate grey metallic paint option. It also comes as standard with a sports exhaust, Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM), Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control (PDCC) and a Sport Chrono Package, all upgrades that would be cost options on lesser Panameras.

See pics of the Porsche Panamera Turbo S in action

What’s it like?

This is a properly fast car laden with kit. Top speed is 191mph, which is faintly academic, while 0-62mph appears at the touch of a button, thanks to launch control, in 3.8sec, which is faintly ridiculous for a 1995kg saloon.

In-gear acceleration and overboost-enhanced kickdown are roundly impressive too, with the Turbo S capable of dispatching overtakes or reeling-in big chunks of the horizon in a manner that doesn’t befit something so large and luxurious.

But that’s nothing compared with the tricks the Turbo S’s chassis can perform. Don’t be fooled, this is no four-seat 911 in outright handling terms, but the three-mode switchable PASM, PDCC and the Porsche Torque Vectoring Plus (PTV Plus) work together to contain, control and coerce the Turbo S to the extent that it can be hustled along a mountain pass in a way that takes some adjusting to, particularly in the PASM’s lowered Sport Plus mode.

There’s an almost unnatural lack of body roll for such a big car, and it takes ham-footed stabs at the accelerator to find the limits of traction on corner exits. At times you’re aware that there’s a lot going on beyond your fundamental steering, braking and accelerator inputs, but the systems themselves aren’t overly intrusive, and they’re broadly welcome for the combination of dynamic agility and electro-mechanical safety net that they provide.

There is an overall feeling of artificiality to the way the Panamera goes about its business of devouring challenging twisty roads. It is, however, an impressive, accomplished and entertaining experience, although if you explore the limits of the Turbo S’s dynamic repertoire for too long it’s debatable whether your three passengers would enjoy the experience as much as you would from the driving seat.

Should I buy one?

And with performance like this on offer you can start to forgive the Panamera’s more challenging aesthetic disadvantages, but even so, nigh-on £123k is a lot of money to spend in order to transport four people, even if you do want to do so (very) quickly and quite luxuriously. And if you only want to use all four seats on occasion, then the Panamera, any Panamera, is a lot of car to be driving around in for the rest of the time.

As an engineering achievement the Turbo S is a mightily impressive one, but arguing a convincing case for its purchase isn’t quite so clear cut. However, at this price point purchases start to happen beyond the normal conventions of automotive buying decisions, so if you’ve got £120,000 or so gathering dust on the kitchen table then you won’t be in the least bit disappointed if you spend it on one of these.

Porsche Panamera Turbo S

Price: £122,623; 0-62mph: 3.8sec; Top speed: 191mph; Kerb weight: 1995kg; Economy: 24.6mpg (combined); Co2: 270g/km; Engine: V8, 4806cc, twin-turbocharged, petrol; Max power: 543bhp at 6000rpm; Max torque: 590lb ft at 2500-4000rpm (overboost)

Join the debate

Comments
37

9 June 2011

I'd love to have a go in one, to experience what a 2-tonne rocketship feels like, but I have no desire to ever own one.


9 June 2011

why not??

you could be a nice chap giving rides to others ;-)

9 June 2011

2.8secs to 60mph lollll only porsche can manage such a feat ,and + impressive handling ,thats just genius

9 June 2011

The report carries an image of the car and says "with performance like this you can start to forgive the aesthetic disadvantages..."

No you can't. It's a £122k car and you need to feel good about spending £122k on a car which you won't when everyone you ever meet sniggers and shows you an image of an elephant's butt as a relief for your eyes when you park it on the drive.

A Mitsubishi Evo has stuuning handling and performance - but it's still just a repmobile on acid. This is only beaten in ugliness by that new MINI coupe abomination, which is also apparently a great car dynamically. So what if you look like the bloke that went on a date with Elle MacPherson and she sent her 150kg, 5'1" troglodyte PA in lieu?

9 June 2011

[quote Jeffrey Bunting]

The report carries an image of the car and says "with performance like this you can start to forgive the aesthetic disadvantages..."

No you can't. It's a £122k car and you need to feel good about spending £122k on a car which you won't when everyone you ever meet sniggers and shows you an image of an elephant's butt as a relief for your eyes when you park it on the drive.

[/quote]

My thoughts exactly. I couldnt get over how dumpy and heavy the Panamera looked when I first saw one on the road. Of course, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but if I was spending this much on buying and running a sports saloon I'd want something beautiful and stylish. Just compare it with the Aston Martin Rapide......

9 June 2011

[quote catnip]Of course, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but if I was spending this much on buying and running a sports saloon I'd want something beautiful and stylish[/quote]

Let's see what marvels Lamborghini can work on an A8 chassis.

9 June 2011

Bomb, Big tin of beans or small tin of beans?, for god's sake man have some ambition !

Peter Cavellini.

9 June 2011

[quote Jeffrey Bunting]

The report carries an image of the car and says "with performance like this you can start to forgive the aesthetic disadvantages..."

No you can't. It's a £122k car and you need to feel good about spending £122k on a car which you won't when everyone you ever meet sniggers and shows you an image of an elephant's butt as a relief for your eyes when you park it on the drive.

A Mitsubishi Evo has stuuning handling and performance - but it's still just a repmobile on acid. This is only beaten in ugliness by that new MINI coupe abomination, which is also apparently a great car dynamically. So what if you look like the bloke that went on a date with Elle MacPherson and she sent her 150kg, 5'1" troglodyte PA in lieu?

[/quote] You're obviously a "person" who is more concerned with what others think of you than what you actually think yourself. You would, of course, love Elle "MacPherson" [sic] only because all of your buddies would envy you. That's your agenda, fair enough, but don't tar everyone else with the same caveman painted brush.

This car is menacing, has huge presence and is a resounding success. I'm hardly Porsche's biggest fan but I have to admit that this one is a winner. Sub-4 to 60, 190+mph, massive power and torque, plenty of room and a devilish looker. Yes please.

9 June 2011

On balance I think i would prefer the Mercedes CLS63 AMG tested this week.

OK it's 1.4 seconds slower to 60MPH and limited to 155MPH, but where would you ever be able to test it. £40,000 less as well.

9 June 2011

[quote The Special One]I'm hardly Porsche's biggest fan[/quote]

Bit of an understatement!!

Think I agree with you on this though. I think it looks far better in the metal than on photos and it has quite some presence on the road. It's no obvious looker in the way the Quattroporte is but it looks fairly special in its own quirky way. And I don't like the AM Rapide. It doesn't look right to me.

I like cars which are slightly off the wall and a bit different and I think this fits the bill. Couldn't say if I would buy one or not for definite but I would consider it.

The comments section needs a makeover... how about a forum??

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