Driven: Porsche Panamera Turbo
Following a short track test of the Porsche Panamera Turbo here are my first thoughts on this super executive sports saloon.
What is the Porsche Panamera Turbo all about?
The Porsche Panamera Turbo is Porsche’s high performance four-door sports car. The Panamera has some fine executive luxuries inside, and also some great sports car capabilities too. The Turbo version is the ultimate representation of sports car and executive saloon in one.
The stretched 911 look does have customers divided on whether or not they think it’s a good looking car; either way the styling fits in very nicely with the Porsche brand, and I don’t think any other design would work as well as the one that Porsche have achieved with this latest Panamera.
The Panamera Turbo is powered by a 4.8-litre V8 engine that drives all four wheels using a PDK gearbox. This will get the car from 0 to 60mph in 4.1 seconds and will do a shocking top speed of 189mph.
How does it drive?
Getting into the Panamera Turbo you sit in a control room of buttons and dials; this is hardly a bad thing as the cabin is covered in luxury left, right, and centre. Testing the car on the handling circuit at the Porsche Experience Centre, Silverstone, driven slowly it feels relatively normal to drive, the car feels smaller than it physically looks, which helps you forget about all that extra weight you are carrying.
With the car in the normal performance mode you are able to manoeuvre it without any drama, for a car with 520bhp this is a pretty good achievement.
Once the car had warmed up I wanted to test its capabilities a bit more so I put the car into Sport mode. Sport mode sharpens the throttle response, stiffens up the adjustable suspension and adjusts the PDK system for optimum performance. Pushing hard around the handling circuit this is where the executive saloon starts to feel more like an actual sports car; the car feels sharp and alive, and has very little body roll. For a car of this size it feels great.
There is no question about the power of this car; the acceleration is brutal and instantly there when you ask for it. You can still tell from the driving experience that it is a Porsche but it does have a small feel of additional weight to it, however it is still exceptionally good for a car in its class. Pushing the car hard around the track you feel that you have full control and you get lots of feedback through the chassis and steering wheel.
This car weighs 2,070kgs which makes it a pretty heavy car. Being a Porsche, they want to ensure that all cars are able to break from 60-0mph in half the time it takes for the car to accelerate from 0-60mph. And bearing in mind this car can do 0-60mph in 4.1 seconds, that is an incredible achievement and really keeps up the sports car feeling that Porsche want to adopt for their large executive saloon.
Whilst I had the Panamera Turbo on the track it was a great time to test out some of the features I wouldn’t normally be able to test on the car. Firstly was the launch control system. To initiate launch control you need to make sure the car is in Sport mode. The model on test had a PDK gearbox, you put your left foot on the brake pedal and then punch down the accelerator pedal hard with your right foot, and when you are ready to go you simply release your left foot off the brake and the Panamera Turbo grips at all four corners and releases that 520bhp out the back of the car. It did this with no wheel spin or drama, it just fully launched the car as fast as physically possible. The beauty about launch control is that it will do it every time without fail; no missing gears or short shifting just great performance every time.
Next we looked at testing Porsche’s advanced braking systems to see how the car would stop from around 100mph in different scenarios. We ran this test multiple times to demonstrate how well the car controls each wheel independently to ensure maximum braking performance and control. Testing it out on damp tarmac didn’t seem to phase the car and I was shocked by the amount of braking power and grip that the Panamera Turbo has.
The Panamera Turbo absolutely blew my mind with its sports car performance, and it is incredible that a car with this much luxury and passenger space inside can still perform like a much smaller and lighter car.
What’s it like inside?
Inside of the Panamera Turbo it is a true luxury car, there is plenty of room both in the front and back seats so you could comfortably take four people on a very long journey in this car.
The centre dashboard area is a maze of buttons, switches, and lights that control all aspects of the car including the performance systems, heating controls, and audio system. The dash also features a large LCD screen display which is the central hub for the infotainment system.
The Porsche Panamera Turbo is a car that would excite anyone mildly interested in cars. The car is still very exclusive on the roads, especially in the UK. Traveling inside the car really leaves you feeling very high-class as it is a true luxury car.
Being the Turbo version gives you a boost of insane power that creates a car that has the best of both experiences; respectable executive car and plenty of power.
The Porsche Panamera meets a direct need from customers to have a large executive car that is also rewarding to drive. It’s fair to say that the Panamera has real Porsche sports car characteristics and will be the likely choice for those that want a four door driver’s car.
Porsche Panamera Turbo
- Price: £108,006
- Engine: 4.8-Litre V8
- Power: 520bhp
- Torque: 700Nm
- Transmission: 7-Speed PDK Manual
- 0-62mph: 4.1 Seconds
- Top speed: 189mph
- Weight: 2,070kg
- Economy combined: 27mpg
- CO2: 239g/km
Author: Paul Hadley