Porsche Panamera GTS review

* New Panamera GTS driven * Priced from 90,409 * On sale February...

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What Car? Staff
26 Jan 2012 10:04 | Last updated: 14 Jun 2018 00:03

The Porsche Panamera was already one of the sportiest grand tourers money could buy, but with this new GTS version, dynamic ability is pushed even further to the fore.

The Panamera GTS looks similar to the mind-blowingly fast Turbo model it gets the same front-end styling treatment and 19-inch alloys but there are all sorts of other visual tweaks, including high-gloss black trim, xenon headlamps and matt black exhaust pipes.

Like Turbo and Turbo S models, the Panamera GTS has adaptive air-suspension that alters its height, spring rate and damping response according to which of the three modes Comfort, Sport or Sport Plus are selected. However, to make it even sharper in the bends, the Panamera GTS's suspension has been given lower, tauter settings.

What's it like to drive? Our test car had an optional 3197 suspension package, which adds active anti-roll bars and a torque vectoring system. With this entire arsenal of gadgetry on board, the results are stunning.

There's amazing lateral grip and virtually zero body lean, so the Panamera GTS handles rapid direction changes with real composure. Meanwhile, the quick and beautifully weighted steering lets you place the car with great accuracy.

As good as the handling is, though, the Panamera is still a little hamstrung by its sheer size and weight.

On the upside, you don't lose much of the Panamera's impressive ride comfort, so the GTS can still play the role of grand tourer.

You'll be able to tour from place to place very quickly, too. The GTS has a version of the 4.8-litre V8 found in the S and 4S Panamera models, but power has been boosted by 29bhp to 424bhp, while torque is up 15lb ft to 384lb ft.

The power is sent to all four wheels through Porsche's seven-speed twin-clutch PDK gearbox, and 0-62mph takes just 4.5 seconds, although the power delivery is strong and linear, rather than utterly ballistic.

A sports exhaust gives the engine extra volume and menace.

What's it like inside? The GTS has some bespoke Alcantara-and-leather trim, plus a host of embroidered GTS badges. Other than that, it's pretty much like any other Panamera.

That means the plush cabin materials are a feast for the eyes and fingertips, and with an 18-way electrically adjustable seat and an electrically adjustable steering column, you won't struggle to find the perfect driving position.

The dash has a sophisticated-looking design, too, but with Porsche believing in a separate button for every function, the console is somewhat over-endowed with them.

Over-the-shoulder visibility isn't great, either, but all four seats have acres of space around them, and there's a decent boot.

Should I buy one? That all depends on what sort of Panamera you have your heart set on, but the GTS wouldn't be top of our list.

Yes, it's utterly brilliant to drive, but so are all Panameras, and most are cheaper than the 90,409 GTS. For us, the diesel is still the one to go for.

Still, if you've got your eye on a 4S, and plan to add all the performance-enhancing options available (air-suspension, twin-clutch transmission, sports exhaust, Sports Chrono package), then the GTS makes a lot of sense. It has all those items and more as standard, and the premium you pay for the GTS is less than it'll cost you to add all that tech to your 4S. The GTS is more powerful and looks cooler, too.

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