Fast five-door fun for the whole family
Just two short years after the launch of the second generation Porsche Panamera GTS, the speedy premium five door receives a light refresh and is now even more of a four-passenger straight line bruiser.
The mid-grade version of the hatchback retains special exterior differentiators like a sportier grill, blacked out side mirror caps and Porsche script across the trunk lid, and exclusive contrasting 20-inch alloy wheels. Special GTS badging can be found on the bottom part of the doors and on the trunk lid. The rear of the car receives the most notable changes including a new LED light strip connecting the pair of tinted taillights, and freshened diffuser fins below.
A sport-meets-luxury theme is echoed inside the cabin — brushed aluminum is sprinkled throughout, as is the suede-like Race-Tex material found on the redesigned heated multifunction steering wheel with integrated paddle shifters. The top-of-the-line 18-way adjustable adaptive front seats are standard offering lots of support and endless adjustability.
Still anchoring the interior is the 12.3-centre touchscreen infotainment system, eliminating many of the physical knobs and buttons once littering the centre console. I personally would prefer some analog control to make a comeback, particularly since the unit in our test vehicle was malfunctioning and I had to rely on the navigation knob to maneuver through the menus. Not so easy a task when currently even settings for things like the dynamic spoiler are digitized.
Whoever said Porsche cars don’t have much luggage capacity have never driven a Panamera. Even when the split second row is upright, the 495 litres of space behind swallowed up two full size suitcases, a carry-on and a couple of duffle bags fairly effortlessly, the only thing stopping even more being the sloping rear window. Need more space? Move on up to the Sport Turismo wagon featuring more room, shorter cargo loading edge and an additional seat in the back.
Under the hood, Porsche has managed to shoehorn in a twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V8 engine pushing 473 horsepower and 457 lb-ft of torque, an additional 20 horses compared to before. The mill sounds sublime, especially after opening up the electric valves of the Sport exhaust system. Helping transfer power to the ground is the brand’s signature six-speed manual transmission (or optional PDK) and an all-wheel drive system aided by Porsche Traction Management.
Straight line performance is all well and good, but the real fun is had when the road bends. Luckily, the GTS utilizes adaptive three-chamber air suspension allowing continuous and precise adjustments for dynamic handling as well as offering a high degree of ride comfort. Don’t, however, expect quite the same level of agility as say, a 911. Even something as simple as a U-turn on a narrow street becomes a three-point affair in the larger model.
The vehicle also sits 10 millimetres lower than its regular stablemates for an athletic stance. Stopping the car are big brakes, 390-millimetres in the front and 365 at the back.
Regardless of trim level, all variants receive the new digital Porsche Advanced Cockpit eschewing traditional analogue gauges for virtual ones, InnoDrive adaptive cruise control with semi-autonomous driving capabilities, and available rear axle steering (+$1,880).
The 2021 Porsche Panamera GTS retails for $147,400 MSRP and is in dealerships now.
Motor: 4.0-litre twin-turbocharged eight cylinder
Horsepower: 473 @ 6,500 rpm
Torque (lb-ft): 457 @ 1,800 rpm
Gearbox: Six-speed manual
Layout: Front engine, all-wheel drive
Fuel economy: 16.4 L/100 km mixed city/highway (observed)