At £90,409, the Panamera GTS isn’t a cheap option, costing £6,280 more than the standard 4S. Yet once you take into account the adaptive suspension and the engine’s power boost, the newcomer actually makes more financial sense. What’s more, the tweaked chassis and raucous soundtrack help to ensure the GTS is the best petrol-powered Panamera yet.
If the standard Porsche Panamera
is a little soft for you, then this could be the answer. It’s called the GTS, and
it has been designed to inject
an extra dose of driver fun into Porsche’s flagship luxury saloon.
Based on the already rapid four-wheel-drive 4S model, the newcomer gets a number of tweaks aimed at boosting
performance, handling and involvement behind the wheel.
At the heart of the changes is a revised version of the company’s familiar 4.8-litre V8 engine. The addition of new camshafts, a larger air intake system and sports exhaust has boosted power by 30bhp to 424bhp, while torque rises to 520Nm from 500Nm.
And that’s not all, because
the standard Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM) has been under the engineers’ knife, resulting in firmer springs and dampers and a 10mm lower ride height in its standard setting. Engage hardcore Sport Plus
mode and the air springs
are lowered by a further 15mm.
Car group tests
Used car tests
Completing the mechanical makeover is a slightly wider
rear track and the fitment of the Turbo models’ huge grooved and ventilated brake discs. However, it’s the changes to the outside
of the GTS you’ll notice first.
At the front is a deeper bumper and wider grille, while there’s a matt black finish for the headlamp surrounds, sill extensions and quad exit exhausts. There are also huge 19-inch alloy wheels and distinctive LED running lights,
plus the option of a bespoke Carmine Red metallic paint finish.
Inside, the GTS benefits from heavily bolstered sports seats,
and a Sports Chrono package that includes a dashtop stopwatch and gearshift paddles in place of the standard version’s tiptronic buttons.
Twist the key in the
ignition and the V8 erupts into life with a fierce bark. While it’s not as brutally fast as the Turbo models, the GTS is still extremely quick, blasting from 0-62mph in just 4.5 seconds. As ever, the PDK twin-clutch gearbox serves up rapid-fire shifts in both
manual and auto modes. Yet
it’s the noise that dominates.
A clever piece of kit called the Sound Symposer channels some engine noise back into the cabin when Sport or Sport Plus mode is selected. Combined with the standard sports exhaust, it creates a bellowing V8 soundtrack under acceleration and plenty of pops and crackles from the tailpipe when you lift off the throttle.
Turn into a corner and the Panamera is surprisingly agile
for such a heavy machine. Our
car was fitted with the £3,197 Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control, which uses active anti-roll bars to virtually eliminate body roll, and torque vectoring control to reduce understeer.
However, even if you don’t add this clever kit, you’ll get well weighted and direct steering, strong grip and limpet-like four-wheel-drive traction. Equally impressive are the brakes, which provide powerful and fade-free stopping power in both standard and £5,924 carbon ceramic forms.
But the GTS’s party trick is its ability to transform into a relaxed and refined cruiser at the touch
of a button. The roomy cabin seats four adults in comfort, while noise levels are low. Only the firmer ride betrays the car’s