One of the Panamera’s defining features is that it moves and sounds like a Porsche rather than conforming immediately to the conventions of the luxury car market. The end result is that, because of its inherent size and weight, the model tends to work better as more power is injected into it.
Thus the entry-level 3.6-litre V6-powered car and the current 3.0-litre V6 diesel model struggle to stimulate the driver. Neither are asthmatic – even the oil-burner will hit 62mph in 6.8sec – but nor can they be considered quick.
The petrol six-pot is at the very least free-revving and quietly characterful; the hand-me-down diesel, although popular thanks to its 44.8mpg potential, is neither, and feels too often like an unfortunate compromise.
A similar accusation could be aimed at the E-Hybrid, which, although not suffering from a lack of pace, is just far too soulless for consideration outside of a city centre, or the United States. Objectively, the bigger battery has given the model better flexibility and eco credentials, but it’s still tagged to Porsche's lacklustre 3.0-litre V6 engine and the combination only feels quick in the most benign way imaginable.
The other debutante first seen at the 2013 facelift is far easier to like. The 3.0-litre V6 is essentially a fettled, downsized and twin-turbocharged version of the 3.6, and it feels impeccably well honed for the job at hand. The V6’s reticence at low revs is eradicated by the 383lb ft available at just 1750rpm, and, thanks to a new balancer shaft, it’s just as refined on the motorway as the V8. It’s possible that returning buyers will miss the old V8’s braggadocio when pushing on, but if maximum attack is your default position, then the GTS is still the superior choice.
With its V8 bulked up to 434bhp for the facelift, the GTS’s 0-62mph time (thanks mostly to the ever-sleeker seven-speed PDK dual-clutch automatic gearbox) descends to 4.4 seconds. But it is the way that it gets there and the way that it roars towards 7000rpm that set the naturally-aspirated eight-cylinder engine apart – perhaps even from the mighty Turbo above it.
That said, if you want the ultimate in time-crushing, continent-crossing pace, then there is no other four-seater quite like it. With 516lb ft driving all four corners, the blown Panamera grips and goes like a car carrying far less than its near two-tonne burden.
The stats are faintly ridiculous – 8.9sec to 100mph quick enough for you? – but then so is the car. The Turbo, as it is elsewhere, is a statement of incredibly muscular intent.