Open gallery Close by Matt Saunders 19 July 2017 Follow @TheDarkStormy1 Share
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The Porsche Panamera Sport Turismo is the new, more practical sister of the four-door Porsche Panamera liftback.
After our look at the 456bhp Panamera 4 E-Hybrid version, which we liked in spite of its slightly mannered and underwhelming petrol-electric hybrid powertrain, now’s our chance to find out if the 542bhp V8-engined Turbo version feels more like the definitive flavour.
Porsche might just have created the circumstances in which its problem child can finally thriveMatt SaundersRoad test editor
The rest of the Sport Turismo engine range mirrors the standard Panamera, with the 4 powered by a 3.0-litre V6, the 4S by a 2.9-litre V6 while completing the range is the ballistic 4.0-litre V8 oilburner powering the 4S Diesel Sport Turismo.
Understanding the Porsche Panamera Sport Turismo
The Panamera’s estate makeover consists of a longer, straighter and higher roofline, along with slightly larger rear passenger door and boot openings.
The car’s wheelbase and rear overhang measurements remain the same as the standard-wheelbase Panamera’s. Boot space grows by 25 litres to 520 measured up to the windowline, rising to just under 1400 to the roof with the rear seatbacks folded.
And with those seatbacks in place, the Sport Turismo is also the first Panamera able to carry five passengers – although Porsche prefers to call it a 4+1.
What separates this car from a normal four-door Panamera Turbo technically amounts to very little. Adaptively damped air suspension comes as standard, just as it does on the equivalent liftback, while both Porsche’s PDCC Sport package (which bundles active anti-roll bars and a torque-vectoring active rear differential) and its four-wheel steering system are options.
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On kerbweight, the difference between the standard Porsche Panamera and the Sport Turismo is just 40kg; on price, it’s less than £4000, with the wagon the marginally more expensive car of the two; and for 0-62mph acceleration, the two models are identical.
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For reasons that may already be obvious, I don’t really buy Porsche’s principal argument for ownership of this car: practicality. But I freely accept that you need do no more than lay eyes on the Sport Turismo to instantly understand another very convincing one.
Is the Panamera Sport Turismo a true fast estate?
It’s true that the car’s wider rear passenger door openings, improvement in rear head room and extended side window section make it a roomier-feeling car for four adults, but it’s hardly any more of a true five-seater than the existing car is. The thin middle seat, wide transmission tunnel and reduced head room would make life distinctly uncomfortable for even an older youngster travelling in that seat over any distance.
The Sport Turismo’s boot is fairly large, but would miss the overall cargo capacity of something like the Mercedes-AMG E 63 by a wider and more conspicuous margin than that by which it improves on the standard of the four-door Panamera.
It’s not as if Porsche has converted a car with a saloon-style, separate boot here, but rather one with an accessible hatchback-style boot. Porsche’s admission is that, while the regular car’s boot will swallow four typically sized suitcases, the Sport Turismo’s may manage five – depending on how you load them. Hardly the stuff of utility-car legend.
The car’s bodystyle has, however, answered this tester’s biggest reservation about the Porsche Panamera; it has finally given Porsche’s big passenger car the design identity and visual charisma that it has thus far lacked.
You could even call it the final jigsaw puzzle piece if you consider how much more dynamically accomplished the second-generation Panamera is than the first was, and how much more star quality is contained within its range of engines.
The simple fact that the Sport Turismo no longer seems so desperate to be mistaken for some curious, overgrown four-door Porsche 911, thanks to its elongated profile and windowline and smart, raked D-pillars. These make all the difference.