2019 Porsche Panamera GTS Sport Turismo review: Powerful meets practical
I love small sports cars , but let's face it, little cars are impractical. Sure, if it's just you and your pal out for a Sunday drive, a Porsche 911 is a perfect car. But what of the well-heeled enthusiast family? You know, people who want the sports car experience but have to haul more than just ass. For them, the answer is simple. Meet the Porsche Panamera GTS Sport Turismo.
The Sport Turismo has the same stellar 4.0-liter, twin-turbo V8 as the Panamera GTS sedan, with 453 horsepower and 457 pound-feet of torque. That power routes through a super-quick-shifting, eight-speed, dual-clutch automatic transmission, and hits the ground through all four wheels. You can read a very thorough review of the driving dynamics of the GTS sedan here, but suffice it to say, this thing rips.
Take the GTS on winding roads and the available rear axle steering keeps the Panamera rotating with a grace that belies its long wheelbase. Hammer it down a freeway on-ramp and you'll hit triple-digit speeds before you reach the merge point. Or hey, just dial it all back and cruise down the coast in comfort. In any situation, the Panamera GTS excels.
The standard Panamera GTS offers up 17.6 cubic feet of space behind the rear seats, expanding to 47.3 cubes when folded. The Sport Turismo's more functional wagon shapes up those numbers just a bit, to 18.3 and 49.0, respectively. That might not seem like a lot, but those numbers are just slightly less than what you get in the Porsche Macan SUV. Wagons rule.
Additionally, the Sport Turismo just looks sexier, especially in my tester's Mamba Green Metallic paint. While the sedan looks like it's trying to be a four-door 911, the Sport Turismo is its own thing, the elongated roof giving it a sleek profile that conveys the car's attributes of performance and practicality.
In-car technology is handled by the Porsche Communication Management infotainment system, housed on a 12.3-inch touchscreen. It's easy to use and I dig the reconfigurable home screen, but some functions can be complicated. For example, I have to go to the climate control screen to open and adjust the center vent. Is that really necessary? Also, don't forget that while Apple CarPlay is standard, Android Auto is not available.
Driver-assistance features are plentiful, but don't come standard, so be prepared to shell out many thousands of dollars if you want the full gamut. My tester features the $2,610 Premium Package that includes lane-change assist. Add the $5,370 Assistance Package and you get Porsche's InnoDrive adaptive cruise control that can modulate speed based on GPS, radar and video data, as well as lane-keeping assist and night vision assist. You can also add features a la carte if you desire. Considering the Panamera GTS Sport Turismo starts at $134,500, I'm a little cheesed that Porsche nickles and dimes customers for this technology. That's par for the course with most German automakers, unfortunately.
Are there things to complain about? Sure. The Panamera's parking sensors are super-sensitive and it took me a while to find the off button (it's on the overhead console with the light switches). I have to contort my arm to reach the cup holders, and the center console is hardly big enough to hold a cell phone and a pair of sunglasses.
But these are extremely minor things to nitpick on a car that is so excellent in every other regard. During a week with the Panamera GTS Sport Turismo, I carpooled, carved corners, packed it up with luggage, took a road trip down the California coast and impressed everyone who saw it along the way. Heck, I even got 18.8 miles per gallon, which isn't a lot, but bests the 18-mpg combined rating from the EPA.
Some cars try to be a Jack of all trades, but end up being a master of none. The Panamera GTS Sport Turismo, on the other hand... is there anything it can't do?