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.
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.