8
Better at crushing your windpipe than appealing to your heart, but this Turbo S is nonetheless impressive

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

Nic Cackett
11 April 2014

What is it?

Having driven the go-faster version of the Porsche Panamera Turbo abroad some time ago, we now get to experience the range-topper in the UK, where it adds £23k the standard model’s six-figure price. Chiefly, what that buys you is bragging rights.

Porsche has swapped out the two turbochargers on its V8 engine for those with an even healthy capacity for forcing air through the engine. With the pressure up by 20 bar, the pistons have been made from a new aluminium alloy to compensate.

The net result turns up the wick from 512bhp to 562bhp. The peak twist advantage is more slender – from 516lb ft to 553lb ft at 2250rpm – although full-throttle overboost takes it all the way to 590lb ft. Impressively, this hike in potency has apparently not harmed efficiency. Porsche has recorded the same optimistic 27.7mpg for the S as it did for the Turbo. 

Elsewhere, most of Porsche’s favourite acronyms come fitted as standard. PASM, PDCC, PTV and PDCC (or active air suspension, active anti-roll bars, torque vectoring and ceramic brakes to you and me) are 
all on board, as are 20-inch wheels, sat-nav and a full-leather interior. 

Using the launch control of the seven-speed PDK, the Turbo S hits 62mph in a claimed 3.8sec – about 0.3sec quicker than the standard Turbo and a shade faster than Audi claims for the manual R8 V10. 

What's it like?

Unexpectedly effortless to drive because, truthfully, the advantages of the V8’s bigger-lunged prodigiousness show at much slower speeds, where it spends most of its time employed in making the Panamera’s ample two-tonne mass feel preposterously featherlight.

There are other pleasures, too. In stark contrast to some rivals, it’s a joy to short-shift and then work hard from a high gear – building crank and road speed with the kind of large-chested harmony that makes a V8 such a satisfying donkey in the first place. 

Of course, there is some appeal to simply wringing its neck as well, but this can become wearisome. Partly this is because its gearing, refinement and running gear make its express-lane attitude more about achieving autobahn super-cruise than going ‘bang’ on a B-road.

Partly it’s because the all-wheel-drive Panamera is a micro-processed car to drive – forever modifying its own strategy for all that tug, regardless of what you do. But mostly it’s because the English countryside just feels too small (and heavily surveilled) to accommodate the S’s appetite for excess.

Should I buy one?

Sure, the Turbo S is gratifying and astounding and a greaser of journey time par excellence, but it’s not the best Panamera (that honour goes to the nearly £50k-cheaper, rear-driven V6 S) and nor is it king of extravagant sports saloons. For that, you’ll need the additional £15k that buys an Aston Martin Rapide, a slower car with considerably more character.

Porsche Panamera Turbo S 

Price £131,152; 0-62mph 3.8sec; Top speed 192mph; Economy 27.7mpg (combined); CO2 239g/km; Kerbweight 1995kg; Engine V8, 4806cc, turbo, petrol; Power 562bhp at 6000rpm; Torque 553lb ft at 2250-5000rpm; Gearbox 7-spd dual-clutch automatic

Join the debate

Comments
7

11 April 2014
Yes it is crushingly expensive and perhaps clinical,like its main rivals the CLS63'S' and RS7,which beat it in a recent Triple test in Car&Driver I think,they did 3.2 sec to 60 and are here in Canada $80000 !!! cheaper.It is overpriced for sure.
But to even mention the awful old fashioned Rapide! Please!
Give me the CLS63'S' 4 Matic anyday.

Madmac

11 April 2014
562bhp to ride at 50 mph?
Is it sufficient?

11 April 2014
To each his own, but the notion that the Rapide shouldn't be mentioned here is preposterous. Have you driven it? Have you LOOKED at a Panamera? I've driven the Panamera (V8 and GTS) and the Rapide S. The Rapide S is wonderful in many ways that no Panamera can ever be -- it's SO MUCH more appealing than any Panamera, unless the only thing that matters is going even faster. As though with 550hp, a Rapide S isn't already faster than one can use on the road except on rare occasions. The Rapide S isn't just far better to look at, it's also better to drive IMO, with beautifully balanced -- and adjustable -- handling, and the feel and sound that only come from a V12. The Panamera is a very effective tool. The Rapide S is so much more than that.

haz

12 April 2014
well said

14 April 2014
"Pointless" is a rather large overstatement. I'm 5'11", and I've traveled more than a few miles in the back seat of a Rapide, sitting behind someone about the same size I am. It's far better than pointless. While it wouldn't be comfortable for a long trip and I'd never call it roomy, it's certainly usable.

16 April 2014
Pressure up by 20 bar!? About ten times the pressure of any other car turbochargers?
In any case, I'll take 1.5 Audi RS7s instead...

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