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Pushing boundaries

Justin Harper
Justin Harper • 5 min read
Pushing boundaries
The Porsche Panamera Sport Turismo is a family car with an edge.
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The Porsche Panamera Sport Turismo is a family car with an edge.

SINGAPORE (Apr 16): We all know the classic children’s fairy tale of the ugly duckling. Shunned and mistreated for its looks, it grows up into a beautiful swan, leaving everyone amazed. While not quite on such a grand scale, the new Porsche Panamera definitely has a similar story to be told.

The Panamera first hit our roads in 2009 as Porsche dipped a toe in the executive saloon category to beef up sales. But the reception wasn’t that positive for the luxury German brand. Still, it did hit the mark with the family man who wanted a powerful Porsche engine while being able to transport the rest of the brood with space and style.

It wasn’t until 2016 that Porsche gave the Panamera a much-needed facelift, making it look more like its famed 911 sports car and less like an ugly duckling. That was a significant milestone for the classy sedan and, since then, it has gone from strength to strength. Each new variant has enhanced these changes and made it even more attractive.

We now have the Porsche Panamera Sport Turismo, which really pushes the boundaries on how sports car-like an estate car can look. Yes, you heard that right. The Sport Turismo is an estate car, or station wagon, if you prefer the American terminology.

It’s really hard to believe Porsche would go so far as to make an estate version of the Panamera, but it has. And it works. The Sport Turismo maintains the sporty look of the new Panameras but it is now more practical and spacious. An example of this is the boot, which now opens up much wider, reminiscent of a slowly opening crocodile’s mouth. So, it is now much easier to load and unload things in the boot.

But the Sport Turismo still shares many similarities with the previous generation of Panameras, such as the wheelbase, length, width and choice of engines. Why change something if it works well? But what struck me about this new Panamera Sport Turismo was how it oozed quality and luxury from top to bottom, inside and out, and front to back. This new addition was really starting to grow on me.

As for the drive, it was everything I was expecting and more. Porsche does not make slow and underpowered cars, so there was no surprise at how fast this Panamera could go. It is called the Sport Turismo, after all, and the figures speak for themselves — 0 to 100kph in just over five seconds and a top speed of 259kph. The difference is that the Panamera is a big car, so high speeds don’t feel that fast, as you are so well insulated from the road. That can be a dangerous thing.

There was such a strong temptation to see what this V6, 3-litre engine could do, that I managed to find a quiet stretch of expressway out west and really floored it. The sportiness exceeded all my expectations as I tested out the different driving modes available. It seems it doesn’t matter whether you are in Normal, Individual, Sport or Sport +, the Panamera is lightning fast in any mode. All the time, I was happily cocooned in a cabin brimming with luxury and comfort.

This Panamera differs from other models in that it has three rear seats, whereas the others have just two. So, for a larger family, the new seating concept is a welcome addition. On top of that, luggage space is very generous. You get 520 litres of luggage space for starters. But with the backrests of the rear seats folded down, a flat loading floor can hold up to 1,390 litres.

While I spent a good amount of time inside the car, I also took the opportunity to really study the exterior. I was basically trying to discover what made the Sport Turismo so sporty when it was essentially an estate car. Major factors were its powerful shoulders, a sleek front bonnet (despite its large size) and a stretched roof line. At the back, the roof drops away much less dramatically than the window line, resulting in striking D-pillars. In the tailgate area, the roof curves into an adaptive spoiler, which is automatically raised to three positions depending on the driving settings. While it looks good, it also optimises fuel consumption.

It’s not easy to define who exactly the Panamera Sport Turismo is right for. For me, it would be an upmarket family man — someone who enjoys his status, has children but with a need for speed. It’s hard to find an estate car as sporty and good-looking as this one.

Porsche Panamera 4 Sport Turismo
$406,959 without COE
Engine: 2,995cc, V6, turbocharged
Power/torque: 330bhp/450Nm
Fuel consumption: 7.9L/100km
0 to 100kph: 5.5 seconds
Top speed: 259kph

Justin Harper is a freelance journalist with a passion for all things fast

This article appeared in Issue 826 (Apr 16) of The Edge Singapore.

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