If you’re a regular viewer of our show you’re probably asking, “another Panamera?” Well, yes. This time it’s the GTS and GTS Sport Turismo.
If you go to Porsche’s website and search for the Panamera, you’ll see 18 different versions to choose from, which seems like a lot because, well, it is a lot. But Porsche is hardly the only automaker trying to fill every conceivable category in the luxury performance market and the Panamera GTS represents a goldilocks model. Appropriately, Porsche invited me and my golden locks to Bahrain for a desert drive in the Panamera GTS to see if it’s just right.
The 4.8L naturally aspirated V8 from the previous GTS is replaced with a 4.0L twin-turbo V8 pumping out 453 horsepower and 457 lb.ft of torque. With the turbos seated between both banks separated at a 90 degree angle, peak torque arrives at 1,800 RPM and runs all the way to 4,500 RPM. This gets to all four wheels via eight-speed PDK, which continues to be the benchmark for dual-clutch transmissions.
Both fascias add blacked out trim pieces, but it’s the car’s rear end where it really separates itself from your run-of-the-mill Panamera. Standard sport exhaust tips peek out the back while a three-piece active wing shoots up and out from the electric tailgate of the sedan. The Sport Turismo uses an active roof mounted spoiler.
The GTS also sees the first application of a head-up display in the Panamera lineup.
“Inside the GTS you have alcantara just about everywhere, which if you’re an alcantara fan that’s great news. I’m not a huge fan, especially when it’s on the steering wheel like it is now. It dries my hands out, it feels slippery. Luckily there is a leather option, you can get leather seats, a leather steering wheel and when you do move up to the leather option, you have the chance of getting ventilated seats.”
GTS models ride 10mm lower than a standard Panamera and come equipped with an adaptive air suspension.
“After a morning of a lot of city driving, highways, just about everything Bahrain has to offer, I gotta’ say the Panamera GTS is just downright comfortable. There’s no other way to say it and in my opinion it’s every bit as comfortable as a standard Panamera and that’s what Porsche wants with a GTS. It should be drivable every day. Now we’re headed to the racetrack to see the other part of the GTS, which is its track performance.”
“Yep, there it is. It gets up and goes in a straight line. This Panamera GTS sedan will go zero to sixty in 3.9 seconds and I got on those carbon ceramic brakes, which are optional. Now we’re getting into some of the switchbacks and this is really where you can feel the weight. It actually doesn’t roll as much as you’d think.”
Part of that is due to my test car’s optionally equipped Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control Sport, which takes advantage of a 48-volt system to electronically actuate stabilizers, helping keep all 4,400 pounds of the sedan in check. PDCC Sport also combines torque vectoring technology. Rear axle steering is available as well.
Porsche certainly likes to dangle those tasty options in front of buyers’ faces, but if you possess a strong will and a more modest wallet, the GTS Sedan starts at $128,300, which does include the standard Sport Chrono Package. If extra space is a priority or you’re like us and just enjoy the look of the hatchback, GTS Sport Turismo pricing takes off at $134,500.
Looking at the spec sheet, it may be hard to justify the jump from, say, a Panamera 4S to a GTS considering there’s only a 13 horsepower gap between the two. But at the same time, if horsepower is of real concern, there’s always the Panamera Turbo or Turbo S E-Hybrid models.
This brings us back to the reason for any Porsche GTS, which is to find the sweet spot between everyday practicality and enthusiast-level performance. Without a doubt, the 2019 Panamera GTS achieves this mission and offers a rare instance where you can have your cake, and drive it too!
Engine: 4.0 liter
Torque: 457 lb-ft.
0-60 mph: 3.9 seconds