Porsche Panamera Sport Turismo review

Category: Luxury car

More practical than the regular Panamera. Still has huge badge appeal and effortless performance

Porsche Panamera Turbo S 2021 front right tracking
  • Porsche Panamera Turbo S 2021 front right tracking
  • Porsche Panamera Sport Turismo 2021 rear tracking
  • Porsche Panamera Sport Turismo 2021 interior dashboard
  • Porsche Panamera Turbo S 2021 interior rear seats
  • Porsche Panamera Sport Turismo 2020 infotainment
  • Porsche Panamera Turbo S 2021 right tracking
  • Porsche Panamera Turbo S 2021 front right tracking
  • Porsche Panamera Turbo S 2021 rear right static
  • Porsche Panamera Turbo S 2021 badge detail
  • Porsche Panamera Turbo S 2021 badge detail
  • Porsche Panamera Turbo S 2021 interior front seats
  • Porsche Panamera Turbo S 2021 interior detail
  • Porsche Panamera Turbo S 2021 boot open
  • Porsche Panamera Turbo S 2021 front right tracking
  • Porsche Panamera Sport Turismo 2021 rear tracking
  • Porsche Panamera Sport Turismo 2021 interior dashboard
  • Porsche Panamera Turbo S 2021 interior rear seats
  • Porsche Panamera Sport Turismo 2020 infotainment
  • Porsche Panamera Turbo S 2021 right tracking
  • Porsche Panamera Turbo S 2021 front right tracking
  • Porsche Panamera Turbo S 2021 rear right static
  • Porsche Panamera Turbo S 2021 badge detail
  • Porsche Panamera Turbo S 2021 badge detail
  • Porsche Panamera Turbo S 2021 interior front seats
  • Porsche Panamera Turbo S 2021 interior detail
  • Porsche Panamera Turbo S 2021 boot open
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Introduction

What Car? says...

The Porsche Panamera Sport Turismo is a composite car – or a patchwork Porsche, if you prefer.

While the standard Panamera splices together the DNA of a luxury saloon, coupé and hatchback with a few strands of sports car, the Sport Turismo adds a pinch of estate car to that mix for good measure.

The Panamera Sport Turismo is a shooting brake rather than a fuddy-duddy 'station wagon', so it sacrifices some space at the altar of style, but its long tail deals with bulkier luggage better than the Panamera (or the Porsche Taycan for that matter).

It's roomier than the Mercedes CLS and Mercedes-AMG GT 4-door, but for the ultimate fast load-lugger, there's also the mighty Mercedes-AMG E63 Estate.

That’s quite a diverse spread of potential rivals, then, and the Sport Turismo range is broad enough to take on the lot. There’s no such thing as a slow version: power ranges from a relatively modest 326bhp in the entry-level 4, right up to a staggering 690bhp in the Turbo S E-Hybrid.

Speaking of the E-Hybrid, it’s the plug-in hybrid options that make the most appealing reading if you’re interested in company car tax costs – and, more to the point, lowering yours. The two E-Hybrids offer much lower benefit-in-kind tax rates than a non-plug-in performance car, so they're a smart choice if you pay it.

There we have it: the Porsche Panamera Sport Turismo is a driver’s car fit for everyday use. Or is it? In this review, we'll tell you all about its performance, comfort and running costs, as well as how it compares with its key rivals, which also include the BMW 5 Series Touring and Audi RS6 Avant.

When you've decided which performance car is for you, we can even help you find a great deal on most makes and models. Just head over to our free What Car? New Car Buying service to find out.

Overview

If you’re after a sharper-driving alternative to big luxury estates and plug-in hybrids, the Porsche Panamera Sport Turismo is well worth considering. It doesn’t have the biggest boot around, but it’s still quite practical and there’s loads of rear seat space. There’s certainly no lack of performance and it handles very well for such a big car. However, an AMG E63S Estate provides a better blend of space and pace.

  • Impressive pace
  • Surprisingly agile for such a large car
  • Relatively low CO2 emissions from E-Hybrid
  • Expensive to buy
  • Touch-sensitive controls are hard to navigate
  • Boot more practical than coupé’s, but still not vast
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Performance & drive

What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is

The Sport Turismo may have a bigger backside than the regular Porsche Panamera, but it matches it for acceleration. The 326bhp 2.9-litre turbocharged V6 petrol in the entry-level 4 is pokey but we suspect keen drivers will prefer the 'proper' performance and rev-hungry nature of the 434bhp 4S.

It’s not the fastest Panamera, but it's arguably the most satisfying dynamically. Why? Well, the engine is lighter than the more powerful V8 versions and the 4S isn't weighed down by any heavy hybrid batteries, either. Lightness means it's nimbler in the corners (more on that in a bit) and still capable of 0-62mph in as little as 4.3sec, which is rapid.

Porsche Panamera image
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Another great option is the 4S E-Hybrid. Being a plug-in, it carries some extra heft but the electric motor's additional 134bhp (on top of the same V6 petrol engine as the 4S) means performance is barely dented (0-62mph takes 4.4sec). Then there are its party tricks: 34 miles of electric-only running at up to 87mph and very low company car tax compared with most performance cars. It's well worth a look. 

The 473bhp GTS triggers the switch from 2.9 litres to 4.0 litres and a V8. It’s good, but if you're seeking the ultimate straight-line pace, you’ll want to take a look at the Turbos. The Turbo S has a whopping 621bhp that frazzles your brain with 0-62mph in 3.1sec – so it’s wholly capable of embarrassing supercars.

Still not enough for you? Then how about the range-topping Turbo S E-Hybrid? It twins up to 31 miles of silent electric power with a decidedly vocal (in a good way) 4.0-litre turbocharged V8. Together, they produce a colossal 690bhp that does wonders for its 0-62mph dash: just 3.2sec. It'll eventually top out at 196mph.

Be in no doubt, then, that almost all the engines are capable of flinging you down the road with great speed after just a flex of your right foot. But there’s something about the refined way the Sport Turismo delivers its prodigious turn of speed that means you're hardly aware of how fast you’re going – until you glance down at the speedo. 

The standard PDK eight-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox changes gears smoothly when you’re up and running but there’s some jerkiness in stop-start situations. This is a bit worse in the hybrid models because when the petrol engine is needed it can jolt as its power starts to feed in. The PDK gearbox is capable of rapid shifts in auto mode and you can trigger those yourself using the steering wheel paddles.

You get four-wheel drive as standard, ensuring the power reaches the road effectively even in the trickiest conditions. An optional four-wheel steering system (standard on the Turbo S E-Hybrid) improves low-speed manoeuvrability, agility in fast corners and high-speed stability. It’s very good, but even the standard steering is accurate, beautifully weighted and delivers precise control, making the Sport Turismo utterly confidence-inspiring to drive.

As we mentioned, the 4S is the sweet spot. It blends power with lightness, so it changes direction more eagerly than the heavier V8 GTS and Turbo, as well as the E-Hybrids. That said, the 4S E-Hybrid is about the best-handling hybrid you can buy.

The Sport Turismo is a technically great car to drive, then – right up there with the BMW M5 as it happens – but is it the most fun for the money? We’d argue not as the lairier Mercedes-AMG E63S Estate is an even bigger hoot because it focuses on smiles rather than lap times.

Next, let’s look at ride comfort. The Sport Turismo 4 has adaptive suspension but regular steel springs, while the rest of the range has adaptive air springs. The air springs produce a firm ride – mainly felt on lumpy town roads – but compared with a typical luxury car, it’s not harsh. It’s also incredibly well controlled across undulating roads: there’s very little sickness-inducing bounce after any big bumps. The Sport Turismo is calmer at motorway speeds than the more aggressively sprung AMG GT 4-door and E63S.

Wind noise is well contained, but the Panamera’s giant, garden roller tyres generate a fair bit of road roar on coarse surfaces (although nothing like as much as the E63 or AMG GT 4-door). It’s also worth mentioning that the exceedingly powerful carbon-ceramic brake discs (standard on the Turbo models) can be hard to modulate in slow traffic. The E-Hybrid’s regenerative brakes can be similarly grabby, but not as bad as some hybrid or electric cars’ braking systems.

Porsche Panamera Sport Turismo 2021 rear tracking

Interior

The interior layout, fit and finish

Porsche has a reputation for providing a top-notch driving position, and the Panamera Sport Turismo mostly continues that tradition. Its adjustable steering wheel (manually adjusted as standard but power adjustment is available) has loads of rake and reach movement and the eight-way electrically adjustable driver’s seat is comfortable and supportive.

One demerit is its lack of lumbar adjustment on the entry-level 4 and 4S, but you can add it as part of the 14 or 18-way seat adjustment package. You get that as standard with the GTS, Turbo S and Turbo S E-Hybrid.

The large analogue rev counter sits directly in the driver’s line of sight. That's flanked by two configurable screens that display other information, including speed, trip, media and navigation info. They’re pinprick sharp but not quite as practical as Audi’s Virtual Cockpit in terms of functionality and ease of use. It’s also worth pointing out that the steering wheel’s rim obscures the outer parts of the screens.

The middle of the dashboard is dominated by the 12.3in infotainment touchscreen. We don’t usually like touchscreens because they're distracting to use on the move compared with the iDrive rotary controller you get in a BMW M5. Still, thanks to its high-resolution screen, easy-to-hit icons and lag-free response times, Porsche has done a decent job of making the formula useable. You do need to spend some time figuring out the menus, though, because they’re quite complicated at first glance.

Less successful is the touch-sensitive panel integrated into the centre console. With yet more features that cannot be operated by feel while you’re driving (you have to divert your eyes from the road as you do with the infotainment touchscreen) and the sheer number of options presented to you, they're a backwards step in terms of staying focused on the road. It’s also a magnet for fingerprints, so you’ll find yourself wiping the glossy surface regularly.

You sit low down in the Sport Turismo, which makes seeing kerbs just a few feet away tricky, and the fat windscreen pillars hinder your vision at junctions. Rear visibility is slightly better in the Sport Turismo than the regular Porsche Panamera thanks to its more upright rear screen and slightly bigger side windows, but it’s still not great. The good news is that all versions come with front and rear parking sensors and a rear-view camera. Bright LED headlights are also standard.

The interior quality is at the top of the class. Pretty much everything feels beautifully put together and it's possible to get the interior completely customised to your individual tastes – just don’t expect that to come cheap. Moving up the range automatically adds enhancements such as extended leather trim, an Alcantara roof lining and brushed aluminium panels, and each adds its own brand of swish.

Porsche Panamera Sport Turismo 2021 interior dashboard

Passenger & boot space

How it copes with people and clutter

The Porsche Panamera Sport Turismo puts more emphasis on rear seat and boot space than the standard Panamera, but front-seat occupants are well catered for too. Anyone six feet and taller has the benefit of acres of head and leg room, and this is a broad car inside and out.

Storage space is good as well. In the front, you get a decent central cubby with USB ports for charging devices under the front centre armrest. There are also a couple of generously sized cup-holders on top of the centre console and the door bins each swallow a fair amount of clutter or a bottle of drink.

In terms of rear passenger space, the Sport Turismo's squared-off rear end makes it feel positively airy compared with the regular Porsche Panamera, which can feel snug in the back because of its sloping roofline and shallower glasshouse. The Sport Turismo has a four-plus-one seating layout. That means the two outer rear seats are spacious enough for six-footers to have space in every direction while the middle seat is for occasional use and kids. The middle seat lacks leg room and the foot space is poor due to the massive hump running down the middle of the floor.

You can opt to ditch the middle seat and have just the two full-sized rear seats if you wish. If you do, the centre console and armrest comes equipped with an infotainment screen and climate control panel, creating the sense that you’re flying first class (while never leaving the ground, hopefully).

The E-Hybrid models have a smaller boot because the big hybrid battery lives under the boot floor, although it’s still a decent size at 418 litres with the rear seats up. The non-hybrid models have 487 litres, which is more than the Mercedes-AMG GT 4-door can muster and plenty for a decent quantity of suitcases or a couple of sets of golf clubs. It's not a patch on proper estate cars, though, such as the Audi RS6 Avant or, the king of the boots, the Mercedes-AMG E63 S Estate. That has 680-litres of space available for anything from dogs and dump trips.

If you need more space, pop open the Sport Turismo’s powered tailgate (that's standard) and, within the boot compartment, you’ll find some handy buttons. They release the rear seatbacks, which drop down in a 40/20/40 configuration. Easy peasy. 

Porsche Panamera Turbo S 2021 interior rear seats

Buying & owning

Everyday costs, plus how reliable and safe it is

The Porsche Panamera Sport Turismo isn't cheap to buy, whichever model you choose. You’ve probably realised that already, but did you know Porsche dealers don’t do discounts, either?

Our pick of the range, the Sport Turismo 4S, is about the same list price as the Audi RS6 Avant and a bit cheaper than the Mercedes-AMG E63 S Estate – you should get a hefty discount on those if you look at our New Car Buying section. The Turbo models are quite a jump up in cost, and more in line with the AMG GT 4-door.

The good news is that the Sport Turismo is one of the best cars in the class when it comes to depreciation. Along with the RS6, it will hold on to a far bigger percentage of the list price after three years than the BMW M5 and E63 S.

What none of the rivals have is the advantage of plug-in hybrid options which can save you quite a bit in fuel costs as long as you can keep the battery charged and stick to smallish commutes. More significantly, you’ll save a heap of benefit-in-kind (BIK) tax compared with a non-hybrid Panamera or any of its petrol-only rivals. A Porsche Taycan, being fully electric, will save you even more cash, though.

All Panameras come with a reasonable amount of standard equipment but nothing out of the ordinary at this price level.

The entry-level 4 has 19in alloy wheels, dual-zone climate control, leather seats, cruise control, power-folding door mirrors and heated front seats, but you’ll need to pay for extras such as privacy glass, keyless entry and the adjustable lumbar adjustment we mentioned earlier. The 4S is our favourite trim more for the way it drives than any additional luxuries: you get air suspension and better brakes.

The GTS adds a sports exhaust, different styling, 20in alloys, a heated steering wheel and part Alcantara seats, while the Turbos improve on that with a panoramic sunroof, metallic paint, 21in alloys, a head-up display and keyless entry.

In the 2020 What Car? Reliability Survey, Porsche finished joint 22nd (with Audi) out of the 31-strong list of manufacturers. That's just ahead of Mercedes and Tesla but a long way behind BMW in ninth. The Panamera’s warranty period is three years, but it isn’t limited by mileage.

Euro NCAP hasn’t tested the Panamera for safety. You get stability control, ABS, lane-keep assist, traffic sign recognition and the usual selection of airbags, but automatic emergency braking (AEB) is an option that comes only when you add adaptive cruise control. That's disappointing when even most sub-£15k city cars get AEB as standard.

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Porsche Panamera Sport Turismo 2020 infotainment
At a glance
New car deals
Target Price from £81,205
Swipe to see used car deals
Nearly new deals
From £82,900
RRP price range £81,205 - £142,174
Number of trims (see all)4
Number of engines (see all)4
Available fuel types (which is best for you?)petrol parallel phev, petrol
MPG range across all versions 235.4 - 29.4
Available doors options 5
Warranty 3 years / No mileage cap
Company car tax at 20% (min/max) £5,883 / £6,158
Company car tax at 40% (min/max) £11,766 / £12,316
Available colours