The new 2019 Porsche Panamera 4S Sport Turismo thinks it has the practicality chops to make the BMW 7 Series and Mercedes S-Class irrelevant. It’s not slow, either…
Let’s be honest, when it comes to engineering a fantastic automobile, there are few manufacturers that come close to Porsche. However, when it comes to product planning and marketing, Stuttgart is quite possibly in a class of one. And here’s why. At current tally, Porsche makes five basic models, but thanks to their varied spin-offs, it offers as many as 60 different versions thereof. Want your 911 with a full roof, no-roof, or half a roof? Sure, you can have it. Rear-wheel drive? No problem at all. All-wheel-drive? Sure. I won’t belabour the point, but in essence, whatever you desire from your next car, there is a chance that Porsche has the answer for you. And this, in a long drawn manner, brings me to my test car, the Panamera 4S Sport Turismo.
Porsche has extended its Panamera range with the new estate version of the four-door saloon. However, estate is too dreary a term, so this one is called the Sport Turismo – a suitably sexy moniker to complement that striking body style. It’s almost identical to the concept showcased at the 2012 Paris motor show and, boy, does it look good in the metal.
The extended roof not only enhances the profile of the car, it improves head-room for taller passengers sitting in the back, ensuring their bouffant doesn’t brush the roofline. In terms of added practicality, there isn’t much to be honest – you only get four percent more space than the saloon. However, the point of the Sport Turismo isn’t merely every day usability.
It sits low and wide and exudes this sense of coolness; it certainly attracts attention but not in the way where passersby make negative character judgements about you. If I had to buy a four-door Porsche this would be my go-to car. It looks stunning without trying too hard, and that’s a rare trait in any vehicle.
Naturally, this being a Porsche, it all boils down to performance. Our 4S Sport Turismo packs a 2.9-litre twin-turbocharged V6 making 440 horsepower and an eye-widening 550Nm of torque channeled to all four wheels via an eight-speed PDK gearbox. Cumulatively, this enables our 4S tester to hit 100km/h from a standstill in just 4.2 seconds, only running out of puff at 286km/h. Not bad for a comfortable family saloon of this girth, is it?
The way the Panamera Sport Turismo drives, however, is the real revelation. The steering is nice and taut and suitably loquacious. The ride is firm, but never brittle or jarring and body roll is extremely well controlled. In short, the Panamera Sport Turismo hides its expansive dimensions quite well. There is a sense of urgency in how it gathers pace and sheds it. The, engine, although relatively small in capacity does have a get-up-and-go attitude and turbo lag is pretty much non-existent. It actually sounds quite racy too, despite the exhaust gases carving a curious path through the turbochargers.
The cabin is stupendously good, as well. Our tester comes with the optional two-tone leather interior, with Saddle Brown and Luxor Beige, smooth-finish leather and everything you touch and see looks fitting of a half-a-mil car. I’m still not impressed with the electronic air vents, which are a pain in the neck.
And that brings me to the price. Our Panamera Sport Turismo comes with 29 optional extras – including front cupholder cover – which add up to nearly AED140,000 in additional kit. Look at it this way; that’s a Toyota Camry, and a Kia Picanto. Overall, this car weighs in at AED665,250, and that’s a lot of money. But then, it’s a Porsche. And it’s a four door. And it looks really rather good.
In short, it’s got the dynamic chops for the keen driver, practicality for the family, and the wow factor for those mildly afflicted with HPD. You could – but shouldn’t – compare it with something like a BMW 7 series or an AMG Mercedes S-Class, because there is distinct sportiness here that’s lacking in the others. And most of all, it doesn’t come across as a contrived attempt at sportiness. It really does live up to its Sport Turismo name. Nice one, Porsche. Nice one…
2019 Porsche Panamera 4S Sport Turismo
2.9-litre V6 twin-turbocharged | eight-speed automatic transmission, all-wheel drive | 440 horsepower at 5,650rpm and 550Nm of torque at 2,000rpm | zero to 100km/h in 4.2 seconds and a top speed of 286km/h | AED665,250 as tested, from AED 532,500