Test Drive: 2012 Porsche Panamera Turbo S

“2012 Porsche Panamera Turbo S: The ultimate Porsche Gran Turismo”

Porsche Panamera 4S

When I first learned of Porsche’s intent to build a four-door sedan, I wondered aloud “Who would want a stretched Porsche 911? My disdain was bolstered even further at the concept of such a vehicle, since Initial photos were not particularly flattering. Admittedly, I entertained the same degree of skepticism when the Cayenne SUV was first introduced to the stable of the legendary German automaker, one who, had previously only specialized exclusively in the production of highly revered sports cars.

As it turns out, I happened to be wrong in my view on both counts. In the case of the Cayenne, which comes in a variety of models and trim content, highly successful sales enabled Porsche to grow ever more popular as a marque, and to bolster its coffers supporting future R&D.

The Porsche Panamera appeared on the scene, displaying 911 DNA from both the front and the rear to some degree, but with a stretched profile. It was not however, simply a 2 plus 2 seater, nor was it a stretched 911. The resemblance though, was not coincidental, as Porsche’s goal was to focus on and to emphasize luxury without sacrificing the marque’s instantly recognizable identity and performance capabilities.

The Porsche Panamera was first available in three specific models: Panamera S; Panamera 4S; and Panamera Turbo, all powered by a 4.8-liter, water-cooled V-8 mounted up front (what was up with that?). The S and 4S versions were naturally aspirated and featured Direct Fuel Injection generating 400 horsepower along with 369 pound feet of torque. The Panamera S was a rear-wheel drive model, while the 4S was all-wheel drive. The Panamera Turbo added twin turbocharging to the equation, delivering 500 horses and 516 pound feet of torque, and was also all-wheel drive. All three models incorporated Porsche’s innovative seven-speed Doppelkupplungsgetriebe (PDK) double-clutch automatic gearbox with steering wheel mounted paddle shifters.

Now, two new additional models have been added to the lineup: the Panamera Turbo S and Panamera Turbo S Hybrid. We’ll deal here with the Panamera Turbo S, which ups the horsepower by 50 to 550 hp and boosts the torque rating by 35 lb.-ft. to 553 lb.-ft. – these figures over the basic Turbo model. Total Panamera model availability is now seven with the Panamera, Panamera 4, Panamera S, Panamera 4S, Panamera Turbo, Panamera Turbo S and Panamera Turbo S Hybrid.

The Panamera’s lightweight monocoque body is executed in a combination of steel, aluminum and magnesium, with all body panels in aluminum. It was Porsche’s first true sports car built from the ground up for four. It is a genuine Porsche sports car, with all the inherent performance properties and a luxury Grand Turismo to boot, all in one, with comfortable accommodations for four full sized adults.

The exterior is totally striking when viewed in person – as already mentioned, photos don’t really do the Panamera justice. And, if you aren’t enamored with it at first, it has a strong tendency to grow on you. The Panamera is lower, wider and more aggressive than its competitors thanks to its thoroughbred sports-car heritage.

The Panamera displays a classic four-door design in a unique interpretation of classic four-door design with the advantages of its variable space concept in a truly unmistakable appearance that defines its individuality.

Traditional Porsche themes are incorporated and reinterpreted, providing a dynamic and powerful appearance while reflecting a philosophy applied on the Boxster, Cayman and Cayenne, despite the very generous interior accommodations and layout. Up front, a low air intake instead of a traditional grille, powerfully curved front wings that rise above a low hood creating the “topography” of a sports car and its characteristic headlights, Panamera clearly presents itself as a Porsche.

The Panamera Turbo S’s silhouette exhibits a compact front overhang. The roofline design with its curved contour flowing gently to the tail section truly makes it out to be a Porsche. From the rear, LED lights with individual light chambers taking up the side-line of the car and horizontal graphics emphasize the Gran Turismo’s width at night.

The dual tailpipes to the outer left and right are finished in brushed stainless steel communicating power and performance. An integrated rear diffuser on all Panamera models is part of an aerodynamic package.

 A highlight of the Panamera aero package is an adaptive spoiler at the trailing edge of the rear window that deploys at a speed of 56 mph automatically adjusting to the optimum angle as a function of existing road speed. The Panamera Turbo S comes with a four-way spoiler, featuring a two-piece upper section that moves up and out, increasing its width in order to make the spoiler larger and more efficient.

The Panamera lineup boasts of a number of technical and design firsts to appear in the luxury performance class – no less than five “World-First” innovations.

The now iconic Gran Turismo was the first car in its class with active aerodynamics, provided by the rear spoiler. It was the first car in this segment with a double-clutch transmission, the Porsche-Doppelkupplungsgetriebe (PDK). It was the first car to combine an engine start-stop system with an automatically shifted double-clutch transmission. It offered air suspension with additional, on-demand air volume in each spring for a wider range of comfort and performance options, and finally, it came with the first Sport Chrono package in the segment, giving drivers the option of an even sportier setting for the engine, suspension and transmission, along with other features such as launch control at the touch of a button.

My test Porsche Panamera Turbo S came finished in Carrara White, with a Dark Chocolate-toned interior accented by polished wood trim pieces on the dash and doors. The base sticker read $173,200, while the final total came to $174,175.

 

SUMMARY: The Panamera Turbo S is more than enough car for all but the serious accomplished and experienced racer. It may certainly be driven successfully in a race scenario, but for non-racer types such as myself it also serves up a higher degree of creature comfort and convenience features and equipment, with the potential to transport four full size adults and their luggage. Okay, I know that purists will protest, given that the 911 Carreras are rear-engined craft with flat horizontally-opposed six-cylinder engines, while the Panamera lineup represents a horse of an entirely different color with a V-8 engine mounted up front.

 

I’m here to testify that the 2012 Panamera Turbo S is a comfortable, most capable vehicle at high speed on a challenging and technical racecourse, incorporating the added stability and traction provided by the Active All-Wheel Drive. The Panamera Turbo S is a beast that’s quite naturally suited to track conditions with its added horsepower and torque – with its potential far exceeding the capability of most drivers, including many aspiring racers. That, of course, doesn’t make it any less fun to rip around passing unsuspecting motorists.

Even though I was a Panamera skeptic initially, I’m now a believer. The Panamera in any form serves an elevated purpose over most of its competitors. The Panamera Turbo S is a truly sports car that rates as the ultimate Porsche Gran Turismo suited for high speed travel in luxurious surroundings.

“2012 Panamera Turbo S: The ultimate Porsche Gran Turismo”

When I first learned of Porsche’s intent to build a four-door sedan, I wondered aloud “Who would want a stretched Porsche 911? My disdain was bolstered even further at the concept of such a vehicle, since Initial photos were not particularly flattering. Admittedly, I entertained the same degree of skepticism when the Cayenne SUV was first introduced to the stable of the legendary German automaker, one who, had previously only specialized exclusively in the production of highly revered sports cars.

As it turns out, I happened to be wrong in my view on both counts. In the case of the Cayenne, which comes in a variety of models and trim content, highly successful sales enabled Porsche to grow ever more popular as a

marque, and to bolster its coffers supporting future R&D.

The Porsche Panamera appeared on the scene, displaying 911 DNA from both the front and the rear to some degree, but with a stretched profile. It was not however, simply a 2 plus 2 seater, nor was it a stretched 911. The resemblance though, was not coincidental, as Porsche’s goal was to focus on and to emphasize luxury without sacrificing the marque’s instantly recognizable identity and performance capabilities.

The Porsche Panamera was first available in three specific models: Panamera S; Panamera 4S; and Panamera Turbo, all powered by a 4.8-liter, water-cooled V-8 mounted up front (what was up with that?). The S and 4S versions were naturally aspirated and featured Direct Fuel Injection generating 400 horsepower along with 369 pound feet of torque. The Panamera S was a rear-wheel drive model, while the 4S was all-wheel drive. The Panamera Turbo added twin turbocharging to the equation, delivering 500 horses and 516 pound feet of torque, and was also all-wheel drive. All three models incorporated Porsche’s innovative seven-speed Doppelkupplungsgetriebe (PDK) double-clutch automatic gearbox with steering wheel mounted paddle shifters.

Now, two new additional models have been added to the lineup: the Panamera Turbo S and Panamera Turbo S Hybrid. We’ll deal here with the Panamera Turbo S, which ups the horsepower by 50 to 550 hp and boosts the torque rating by 35

lb.-ft. to 553 lb.-ft. – these figures over the basic Turbo model. Total Panamera model availability is now seven with the Panamera, Panamera 4, Panamera S, Panamera 4S, Panamera Turbo, Panamera Turbo S and Panamera Turbo S Hybrid.

The Panamera’s lightweight monocoque body is executed in a combination of steel, aluminum and magnesium, with all body panels in aluminum. It was Porsche’s first true sports car built from the ground up for four. It is a genuine Porsche sports car, with all the inherent performance properties and a luxury Grand Turismo to boot, all in one, with comfortable accommodations for four full sized adults.

The exterior is totally striking when viewed in person – as already mentioned, photos don’t really do the Panamera justice. And, if you aren’t enamored with it at first, it has a strong tendency to grow on you. The Panamera is lower, wider and more aggressive than its competitors thanks to its thoroughbred sports-car heritage.

The Panamera displays a classic four-door design in a unique interpretation of classic four-door design with the advantages of its variable space concept in a truly unmistakable appearance that defines its individuality.

Traditional Porsche themes are incorporated and reinterpreted, providing a dynamic and powerful appearance while reflecting a philosophy applied on the Boxster, Cayman and Cayenne, despite the very generous interior accommodations and layout. Up front, a low air intake instead of a traditional grille, powerfully curved front wings that rise above a low hood creating the “topography” of a sports car and its characteristic headlights, Panamera clearly presents itself as a Porsche.

The Panamera Turbo S’s silhouette exhibits a compact front overhang. The roofline design with its curved contour flowing gently to the tail section truly makes it out to be a Porsche. From the rear, LED lights with individual light chambers taking up the side-line of the car and horizontal graphics emphasize the Gran Turismo’s width at night.

The dual tailpipes to the outer left and right are finished in brushed stainless steel communicating power and performance. An integrated rear diffuser on all Panamera models is part of an aerodynamic package.

A highlight of the Panamera aero package is an adaptive spoiler at the trailing edge of the rear window that deploys at a speed of 56 mph automatically adjusting to the optimum angle as a function of existing road speed. The Panamera Turbo S comes with a four-way spoiler, featuring a two-piece upper section that moves up and out, increasing its width in order to make the spoiler larger and more efficient.

The Panamera lineup boasts of a number of technical and design firsts to appear in the luxury performance class – no less than five “World-First” innovations.

The now iconic Gran Turismo was the first car in its class with active aerodynamics, provided by the rear spoiler. It was the first car in this segment with a double-clutch transmission, the Porsche-Doppelkupplungsgetriebe (PDK). It was the first car to combine an engine start-stop system with an automatically shifted double-clutch transmission. It offered air suspension with additional, on-demand air volume in each spring for a wider range of comfort and performance options, and finally, it came with the first Sport Chrono package in the segment, giving drivers the option of an even sportier setting for the engine, suspension and transmission, along with other features such as launch control at the touch of a button.

My test Porsche Panamera Turbo S came finished in Carrara White, with a Dark Chocolate-toned interior accented by polished wood trim pieces on the dash and doors. The base sticker read $173,200, while the final total came to $174,175.

SUMMARY: The Panamera Turbo S is more than enough car for all but the serious accomplished and experienced racer. It may certainly be driven successfully in a race scenario, but for non-racer types such as myself it also serves up a higher degree of creature comfort and convenience features and equipment, with the potential to transport four full size adults and their luggage. Okay, I know that purists will protest, given that the 911 Carreras are rear-engined craft with flat horizontally-opposed six-cylinder engines, while the Panamera lineup represents a horse of an entirely different color with a V-8 engine mounted up front.

I’m here to testify that the 2012 Panamera Turbo S is a comfortable, most capable vehicle at high speed on a challenging and technical racecourse, incorporating the added stability and traction provided by the Active All-Wheel Drive. The Panamera Turbo S is a beast that’s quite naturally suited to track conditions with its added horsepower and torque – with its potential far exceeding

the capability of most drivers, including many aspiring racers. That, of course, doesn’t make it any less fun to rip around passing unsuspecting motorists.

Even though I was a Panamera skeptic initially, I’m now a believer. The Panamera in any form serves an elevated purpose over most of its competitors. The Panamera Turbo S is a truly sports car that rates as the ultimate Porsche Gran Turismo suited for high speed travel in luxurious surroundings.

 

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