2018 Porsche Panamera Sport Turismo first drive review: practically perfect in (almost) every way Page 2

Those who do pop for the Sport Turismo, which runs about $6,000 more than the standard sedan shape, will find driving dynamics essentially unchanged by the longer roofline. The Sport Turismo’s roof is a mere 0.2 inches higher than the regular-issue Panamera’s, while its length, wheelbase, and width are unchanged.

It does gain some interior room for a total of 49 cubic feet of maximum cargo-carrying capacity. That's an increase of less than two cubes. More importantly, its rear bay is a shaped better for larger objects, making it the better road-trip choice.

Porsche bills the Panamera Sport Turismo’s second row as a 4+1 setup, although a full center console is optional and highly recommended. There’s remarkably good room in the outboard seats. Even taller riders should have decent space for their heads and stretch-out leg room once they’re aboard. The aperture for inserting oneself into this plump Porsche remains a bit tight, but not unreasonably so.

2018 Porsche Panamera Turbo Sport Turismo

2018 Porsche Panamera Turbo Sport Turismo

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2018 Porsche Panamera Turbo Sport Turismo

2018 Porsche Panamera Turbo Sport Turismo

Enlarge Photo
2018 Porsche Panamera Turbo Sport Turismo

2018 Porsche Panamera Turbo Sport Turismo

Enlarge Photo

We sat in the middle seat—if you can call it that. Porsche still fits a console of sorts above the driveshaft hump that robs any semblance of leg space. If you find yourself the very unlucky third passenger, you’ll sit several inches higher than your neighbors and you’ll share footwell space. There may be less usable room in the +1 position than you’ll find in a 911, and that’s really saying something.

Drive time

When we review a Porsche, we rarely bury our driving impressions this far. But in this case, if you’ve driven (or read about driving) a Panamera, you’ve essentially driven (or read about driving) the Sport Turismo.

It’s still brilliant.

At a recent press event in sunny Victoria, British Columbia, most of my drive time was behind the wheel of a gorgeous Amethyst Metallic Turbo Sport Turismo. Yes, they’re all turbocharged, but this range-topper cranks out a prodigious 550 horsepower from its 4.0-liter twin-turbo V-8. Power is rapidly shuttled to all four wheels through Porsche’s latest dual-clutch automatic transmission; no manual is available, not that anyone would likely buy one.

DON'T MISS: We drive the Porsche Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid

The Sport Turismo’s steering is divine, with crisp turn-in and plenty of feedback. It felt almost as though our tester’s 21-inch, 911-inspired alloy wheels had a direct intercom to my brain. (“Is this thing on? Testing, testing.")

The Panamera Sport Turismo’s suspension is identical to the standard Panny’s, including its $1,620 rear-axle steering system. It’s worth it alone for the way it helps this nearly 200-inch-long luxury car slot into tiny parking spots, but it also aids highway stability and makes the most of a twisty road. I experienced it for myself at rapid speed on a winding, pockmarked logging road. It’s a surreal level of confidence offered by the Panamera’s taut—but not too taut—adaptive suspension.

Skip the carbon-ceramic brakes unless you’re going to drive on a racetrack (in which case, maybe just order a 911 GT3 instead?). The standard 6-piston units provide predictable, fade-free stopping without the grabbiness and insanely expensive running costs.

The $2,530 Sport Chrono package is certainly worth the coin here. Yes, it comes with the silly analog timer/wart-on-the-dash, but it also includes Normal, Sport, Sport+, and Individual modes accessed via a nifty dial on the steering wheel. More fun is the Sport Response button that spools things up for 20 seconds of immediate passing thrust. It’s gimmicky, but I pressed it at least half a dozen times with increasing giddiness.

Like any Porsche, it’s hard to rationalize the Sport Turismo. Even the automaker seems somewhat confused about its purpose in life, stressing that it “brings new variety” to the automotive world, rather than kayak-carrying utility.

But that doesn’t stop us from swooning, either behind the wheel or behind the…behind.

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