What’s it like?
Like every Panamera, the Turbo S comes in standard fastback and‘Sport Turismo’ shooting brake bodystyles, and in some markets in an extended-wheelbase ‘executive’ version as well. Four years ago, when Porsche introduced the wagon version, it gave the Panamera a clearer visual identity of its own than it had previously – and today, it’s still the ‘ST’ version that looks the best, I reckon.
The extra rear-seat passenger space and cargo volume would be deal-sweeteners, too; at 6ft 3in, I can sit in the back of a Panamera ST with enough legroom and headroom to be comfy over long distance, and can’t quite do so in a regular Panamera. Interior updates to the car are likewise few in number; there’s a revised steering wheel design, some new trim materials, and some updates to the car’s infotainment system so that it both charge your smartphone and connect to Apple Carplay wirelessly.
That revised engine and new exhaust makes the Panamera Turbo S both noisier and quicker across the ground than the old Turbo, but – although the old Panamera Turbo was anything but slow – it’s the improvement in roll-on acceleration that you really notice. Even with this much boost and torque in the mix there’s good part-throttle engine response, and drivability is great. But bury the pedal and the car really takes off from well under 3000rpm, and in anything below 5th gear. Ring out the revs and it feels every bit as rapid as that staggering 3.1sec 0-62mph claim suggests.
This tester would still prefer a bit more burbling muscle car character about the car’s exhaust note, mind you. The new V8 is more interesting to listen to than the old one was, when working hard under load and when just pulling matter-of-factly through the gears under little strain – but it’s still not a gargling, bleeding-heart soprano like a supercharged 5.0-litre lump from Jaguar or the 4.0-litre turbo from AMG. That you have to crack the driver’s window to really hear it says a lot. That apart, though, this is a very impressive powertrain about which you’d change very little, and it makes the non-hybridised Panamera feel like a proper big-hitter.
Porsche’s suspension tweaks seem to have delivered improved close body control for the car, making it better tied down and more consistently in touch with the road surface at high speeds than the pre-facelift car did. There is still just a hint of float about the ride over bigger vertical inputs when you’re using the softer-set drive modes, but ride isolation is nonetheless good.