From £59,7468
Curious mix of raw and cooked doesn’t automatically make the GTS the stand-out car in the Panamera range

Our Verdict

Porsche Panamera

Can the four-door Porsche Panamera still do what’s expected of a Porsche?

Matt Prior
26 November 2014

What is it?

The Porsche Panamera GTS, which augurs well, because we’re fast becoming accustomed to GTS variants being (GT3 aside, perhaps) the most desirable variant in each of Porsche’s model line-ups. For serious drivers, anyway. 

And in the Panamera, those letters GTS are particularly notable. Because while the meat of the Panamera range went turbocharged and downsized last year, this version retains a normally aspirated V8 of 4.8-litres. Marvellous.

It sends its power via the obligatory seven-speed PDK dual-clutch automatic gearbox, with drive going to all four wheels, The suspension, though 10mm lowered, features, as standard, air springs.

A couple of those points raise an eyebrow. On the original Panamera launch, Porsche execs told me their favourite version was the naturally aspirated ‘S’ model with rear-wheel drive and steel springs. You’re now unable to get such a Panamera. Seems a shame. 

Still, Porsche knows more about this sort of thing than I do. Presumably nobody would buy one. So the Panamera GTS stays air sprung and with four driven wheels. 

What's it like?

Well, there’s certainly no shortage of old-school drama when you first twist the key. The V8 automatically revs up a bit before settling to a purposeful idle.

From then on, the GTS is a slightly curious thing. The engine wants revving to give its best, which manifests as 434bhp at 6700rpm. A bit like an old V10 BMW M5, then, the Panamera GTS wants working hard. 

That’s a slightly curious thing to be doing in a pseudo-luxury car that’s all but two tonnes in weight and more than five metres in length, given that such cars are typically about lazy, effortless responses.

Still, put the effort in and there’s reward to be had. It makes that great noise for a start, while traction is unbeatable and the brakes are superb. The Panamera also steers better than any other huge saloon. There’s a weight, heft and accuracy through a rim that isn’t trying to disguise the car’s size. The tightness of the body control manages that well enough. 

However, I couldn’t help craving a touch more adjustability via the throttle and greater consistency to the ride, which has that familiar air-sprung ‘sproing’ to it, for all of its flatness.

Air springs do mean, however, that the Panamera is relatively well isolated on most roads, while at speed its straight-line stability is superb. A several-hour fast motorway cruise gives you every sense as to what the Pamanera is designed for. 

The seats and driving position are terrific and, if some of the interior finishes are beginning to appear a little fussy, still there’s a good ambience inside. Good enough to make you forgive the fact that, compared to the latest Audi MMI or BMW iDrive, Porsche's touchscreen set-up is a little clumsy.

Should I buy one?

Maybe, but be sure it’s the right Panamera for you. On those long, lazy journeys, the confident low-rev response of a turbocharged car would seem more appropriate than the urgency of the GTS's V8. 

And when twistier roads arrive, the GTS seems a bit more complicated and sophisticated than it needs to be. So it’s a bit of a compromise, but one I could live with. Is it the pick of this range? Not for all of our testers, no. But that V8 soundtrack means it’s probably the one I’d have. Probably.

Porsche Panamera GTS

Price £93,391; 0-62mph 4.4sec; Top speed 179mph; Economy 26.4mpg; CO2 249g/km; Kerb weight 1925kg; Engine V8, 4806cc, petrol; Power 434bhp at 6700rpm; Torque 384lb ft at 3500rpm; Gearbox 7-spd dual-clutch automatic

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Comments
8

26 November 2014
They sure make a lot of nice cars!

26 November 2014
Still a shame that any vehicle made by a company with a sporting background such as Porsche looks SO heavy in the metal. Other similar manufacturers seem to be able to do the large saloon thing without this problem. And I don't think I've read a review yet which criticises the number of buttons the Porsche driver has to deal with, yet other cars get slated for it all the time.

26 November 2014
catnip wrote:

Still a shame that any vehicle made by a company with a sporting background such as Porsche looks SO heavy in the metal. Other similar manufacturers seem to be able to do the large saloon thing without this problem. And I don't think I've read a review yet which criticises the number of buttons the Porsche driver has to deal with, yet other cars get slated for it all the time.

This car looks very wide because there is a lot of metal between the headlamps due to the lack of a grille and low bonnet. Does a 4- (rather than 5-) seater need to be this wide?
Also the rapidly rising windowline above the rear door makes that area look very bulky. BMW has the Hofmeister kink which shapes the window above the rear door, Mercedes are traditionally triangular, Audi has always been a 6-light arrangement with the little window placed behind the rear door. But Porsche has no such design tradition to fall back on. Let's hope the next generation manages to resolve these styling problems.

26 November 2014
There are now 9 models in the panamera range, 8 in the cayenne and god knows in the 911 range. I think Porsche do their customers a disservice by having so many and even at this end of the price range probably put some customers off by the various models.

26 November 2014
Autocar, what are you doing? How can you seriously like cars, and write an article wishing to replace one of the few remaining large capacity V8's with an 'easy' turbo? In a couple of years, you will regret your contribution to the end of so many of the things that make cars interesting.

26 November 2014
There's nothing wrong with having buttons on display in a car. We have them everywhere else in modern life - phones, computer keyboards, TV remotes etc, why do people get in such a tizz when confronted with a heated-seat button, three airflow direction buttons, and a few others for your convenience.
Do you really want to be trying to scroll through a technology-for-the-sake-of-it menu or touchscreen (like in the RRS) just to get a warm arse on a frosty morning?

26 November 2014
I think the weight kills it? At £90k a pop surly porsche could have come up with a lighter engineering solution than this.... Stylistically I think looking for inspiration from 928 rather than 911 would have worked better?

28 November 2014
The Panamera, Panamera Diesel, and Panamera S all have RWD and coil springs as standard in the UK.

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