Granted, it’ll do a WLTP-certified 27.4mpg combined compared to the old model’s 26.4mpg, which was a figure recorded on the absurdly optimistic NEDC test. Given the new model is not only larger and heavier but also 20bhp more powerful and 0.3sec quicker to 62mph, at 4.1sec, that’s some improvement.
But the GTS was always meant to about more than the numbers, and so it’s a surprise the mechanical modifications are also in short supply outside the engine bay.
The standard-fit air suspension sits the chassis no lower than for any other PDCC-equipped Panamera, though as is also the case for those cars, selecting Sport mode effects a further 18mm and 10mm squat at the front and rear axle respectively. You get thicker anti-roll bars, at least for the non-PDCC base model, but relatively few will buy with such austerity.
For PDCC cars with active anti-roll bars (and a torque-vectoring rear differential) the electronic actuator is instead ordered to massage quite a bit more tension into the setup when required. Damper rates are also up, but the existing hardware remains. The same applies to the sports exhaust, whose software is altered for a bit more muscle-car woofle. All in, the GTS feels a lot like an tuning exercise using code instead of compression testers.
What's it like?
Not that any of this stops the latest Panamera from feeling unnaturally athletic for its 1995kg kerb weight. Our time on the road is limited but stints on track highlight the car's ability to summon truly tenacious grip one moment then indulge the driver with tip-toe poise the next.
Porsche has tuned the four-wheel drive in the GTS to remain rear-biased even after grip turns to slip. Along with an ESP Sport mode calibrated to intervene a moment later, it really shows, with the chassis adopting just a touch of yaw and feeling supremely well balanced in general – at least on track.
Indeed, there are more genial super-saloons, and quicker ones, but no comparable car dials you into the driving experience like a Panamera, and that is more palpable than ever in the GTS. It’s responsive to the sort of subtle throttle inputs lost on other big-boned cars and, thanks to a linear EPAS steering setup you'd be grateful to have in a bona fide sport car, devastatingly accurate right up to the point the Pirelli P Zeros begin to wilt. You’re not conscious of the body control, either, which suggests it is superbly effective.
Caveats? Blemishes, more like. There’s some latency to paddle-prompted shifts from the eight-speed PDK ‘box and, despite a hot-vee configuration, there’s still no question this engine is blown.