Amid a complete redesign for the 2017 model year, the Porsche Panamera lost its signature bulbous rear end to more closely resemble the sporty sedan it has always tried to embody. A year later, the Panamera gains that rump back on the new Sport Turismo wagon variant. Despite the extra bulk, the model is just as competent as its traditional-looking counterpart.
Practically speaking, there is little difference between the regular Panamera and the wagon version. They feature the same exterior dimensions in terms of length, width, and wheelbase, but the wagon is 0.2 inch taller. It has just 1.7 cubic feet of extra space in the back with the seats folded, or 0.7 inch with the seats up. In terms of curb weight, Porsche lists a standard Panamera 4 Sport Turismo as 65 pounds heavier than a traditional Panamera. Both come with a standard 3.0-liter turbocharged V-6 engine making 330 hp and 331 lb-ft of torque.
So how did our wagon perform in our battery of tests? It’s not the quickest car we’ve tested, but we certainly weren’t left wanting for more power. The 0–60 run took 4.6 seconds, matching the time of a rear-drive Kia Stinger GT we tested.
“As always, Porsche’s launch control is solid, easy, and great to use. Definitely got better results compared to doing it on my own,” associate road test editor Erick Ayapana said of our tester. But those who really want to hustle will need the S version or the Turbo, which hits 60 mph in 3.0 seconds with its 550-hp twin-turbo V-8. But the drive experience is more than just speed.
Just like the previous-gen Panamera, our tester features a well-tuned suspension that protects riders from the indignity of road imperfections. Of course, Sport Plus mode is noticeably firmer, and the throttle is also more responsive than in Normal mode. Road and wind noise is kept to a minimum, just as you’d expect from such a saloon. The greatest praise belongs to the eight-speed twin-clutch transmission that quickly and seamlessly switches gears.
That, and the car’s steering. You need to make only small inputs to achieve the desired effect, and you won’t get tired making constant corrections. Grippy tires help make cornering a real thrill. After driving the Panamera, you realize this is what a passenger car is supposed to feel like: translating a driver’s best intentions into reality.
This skill is never more important than while braking. And the wagon performed very well in this test, as well. Our 4,410-pound Panamera managed to brake from 60 mph to a complete standstill in just 101 feet, on par with a 2017 718 Cayman we tested at 100 feet. During testing, Ayapana noted he experienced “minimal dive or unwanted body movements” in the wagon Panamera, and that the brakes refused to fade.
In the figure eight, testing director Kim Reynolds noted, “Pretty easy to drive (thank goodness). With S+ on and PSM [Porsche Stability Management] off, it’s still very controlled while exiting (that’s its all-wheel drive talking).”
One point of contention: Big side pillars hamper visibility when checking your blind spots through the driver’s side windows. And although our model had many nice amenities such as a competent 12.0-inch touchscreen, it lacked a number of important features you’d expect on a six-figure car.
A base Panamera Sport Turismo will cost you $96,200, but our model rang out to $109,260 since it had a number of options. Yes, we had to pay extra for seat heating and front seat ventilation, $550 and $840, respectively. Not a big deal, although other cars offer it standard on high trim levels. Our model came with partial leather seats; upgrading to full leather will cost north of $3,700. Unfortunately, it also didn’t have keyless entry, which is a $1,100 option. It’s a little strange fumbling around in your purse for the key to your $100,000 Porsche when the person parked next to you has already opened their $25,000 Kia with the click of a button on the door handle. I know, first-world problems. But it’s the attention to detail that makes me love this car so much.
It’s larger than a 911, and it has somewhat ungainly proportions. But the Panamera Sport Turismo is no less Porsche, engineered for poise and precision. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
|2018 Porsche Panamera 4 Sport Turismo|
|PRICE AS TESTED||$109,260|
|VEHICLE LAYOUT||Front-engine, AWD, 5-pass, 4-door wagon|
|ENGINE||3.0L/330-hp/331-lb-ft turbo DOHC 24-valve V-6|
|TRANSMISSION||8-speed twin-clutch auto|
|CURB WEIGHT (F/R DIST)||4,410 lb (51/49%)|
|LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT||198.8 x 76.3 x 56.2 in|
|0-60 MPH||4.6 sec|
|QUARTER MILE||13.2 sec @ 103.6 mph|
|BRAKING, 60-0 MPH||101 ft|
|LATERAL ACCELERATION||0.97 g (avg)|
|EPA CITY/HWY/COMB FUEL ECON||20/26/23 mpg|
|ENERGY CONS, CITY/HWY||169/130 kW-hrs/100 miles|
|CO2 EMISSIONS, COMB||0.87 lb/mile|
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