Test drive: Porsche Panamera 4 Sport Turismo

By ahmadzulizwan, 04 July 2018
Porsche Panamera 4 Sport Turismo

Tell me what this car is all about again…
It’s the Panamera Sport Turismo, basically the sports saloon we all know but with a wagon-ish rear. Don’t call it a wagon though, the company likes to stress that it is a shooting brake. There’s sense to that; we don’t see the usual extra long window between the C- and D-pillars. The structural difference to the Panamera is quite minimal, but the visual effect it substantial. In fact, Porsche could have tweaked the front-end and simply called this the Porsche Sport Turismo, an entirely new model.

And how about this specific car?
It’s the slightly-too-long-for-a-car-name Porsche Panamera 4 Sport Turismo. This would be a rather short, boring report if not for the fact that I’ve already forgotten how the regular fast-backed Panamera 4 feels like. This time, I probably won’t forget.

This thing is incredible. This thing is fast. Two separate things, and even if it didn’t do so well at speed, the Sport Turismo is still mighty impressive.

Do tell…
I took it on an overnight trip to Ipoh, which usually would include a few stops for snacks. However, it was during Ramadhan, thus the journey became a single push to the Perak capital, roughly 200 kilometres of highway drive. I could have used some B-roads but the corners are for later, I just wanted to test its GT credentials first.

It didn’t disappoint. In fact, this is now my new benchmark of quick highway cruising. Don’t get me wrong, the Panamera 4 Sport Turismo is not a beast; even with the sports exhaust turned on the sound at tickover is barely interesting, and its 0-100kph in 5.5 seconds is really deceptively tame. Yet it moves with such composure. Slot the gear into first, press the throttle and before you know it you’re turning every other traffic in front of you from a distant speck to rear view mirror occupant in a matter of seconds – even the ones travelling at ‘fun’ highway speeds.

There are other cars which are just as fast, sure (some even faster), although this Sport Turismo just does it better.

It’s very comfortable, to start with. Granted I was alone with no idea how those in the back seats would experience. I felt next to nothing on the smooth surface of the North-South highway, and on poorly surfaced urban roads the suspension gives a high level of suppleness to the ride quality.

There’s very little road or tyre noise too, and a very big reason on why I had to be very deliberate in maintaining a sensible speed. Granted, this may give the idea that the car can be boring to drive, however it’s not that simple. There’s speed to entertain you, and with the all-wheel drive system, there’s plenty of grip as well. You should know that the Panamera 4 Sport Turismo is roughly 1,900kg so taking long sweeping corners at *ehem* fast speeds – while still accelerating! – is fun. The Porsche Traction Management (PTM) system holds its own, right there.

Added grip comes from the adaptive spoiler that comes up automatically at 170kph to provide a modest 50kg of downforce (it’s a little spoiler, as you can see). This Performance Position of plus one degree is activated at 90kph when in Sport or Sport Plus driving modes. The angle changes to plus 26 degrees when the panoramic rood is open in order to not bother cabin occupants too much with wind buffeting effect.

Speaking of driving modes, I mainly kept it at Sport because the throttle is suitably livelier yet the car can still maintain a reasonable ride pliancy.

The cabin looks nice…
As you can see the test car came with two individual seats – hence the centre control that stretch from the front right up to the back, complete with touchscreen – each which can be adjusted for personal comfort. But it can also be spec-ed for a 2+1 rear seat arrangement, be warned though, there’s good reason why it’s dubbed +1. The passenger’s legs will be spread apart by the tall, wide centre tunnel, you see; not the most dignified of poses.

Porsche Panamera 4 Sport Turismo

I mean it looks really nice.
You must be talking about all the carbon fibre trim. Those are all not standard and forms the optional carbon interior package. It sure does make the interior look sportier, and costs over RM7,700.

I suppose it’s all part of the joy in buying a Porsche. But as the carbon interior package will prove, it can add up. Our car’s Carmine Red body colour is special – for RM18,000 plus. Bose sound system is RM6,700, panoramic roof is RM9,900, soft-close doors total RM3,300, key fob in the same colour as the car costs RM1,600 (I kid you not), and the Sport Chrono Package is RM8,800 (test car’s Bordeaux Red Sport Chrono watch face added RM1,600). In case you’re curious if the red seat belts are standard… no it’s not. Those are RM2,200.

When listed like that (and there are many other options I do not list here), perhaps yes, it’s not that expensive. Not after starting with a base price of RM990,000, anyway. And I wouldn’t recommend anyone to not opt for the RM16,000 sports exhaust.

Total price tag of WB 885L? RM1,229,364.95. That’s One Point Two Million. If you have the money, and if you enjoy taking drives, still worth it.

By the time KL-Ipoh-KL was done, there was slightly more than quarter tank left in the 75-litre capacity. I’m happy.

Without issues, then?
Of course there are, just not big enough. Take the air-cond vents, for example. The simple and instinctive gesture of directing the air-cond vents’ blade requires the touchscreen, not the ideal thing to do when doing 200kph. Porsche has done well in making a few vehicle functions accessible in one- or two-touches on the, urmm, touchscreen. But some needs some more navigating, and each touch needs to be precise; rather difficult when a driver really should invest more attention to the act of steering the car. Voice navigation is possible, only that is also a matter of time and getting used to the commands.

You know what would make this better? If it’s efficient…
I am sure it is, but I cannot objectively say ‘Yes’ simply because of the relatively short time I had it together with the manner the Sport Turismo was driven. And the time it was on the road, it was at high speeds with plenty of hard braking-heavy acceleration cycles due to traffic. By the time KL-Ipoh-KL was done, there was slightly more than quarter tank left in the 75-litre capacity. I’m happy.

Best Panamera, then?
I would like to think so, but the Panamera 4 E-Hybrid Sport Turismo (wow that’s a long name) looks more interesting on paper. More power (462hp with help from the electric motor, against the test car’s 330hp), more torque (700Nm vs. 450Nm), faster (4.6s to 100kph vs. 5.5s), and still better with fuel (claimed 2.6L/100km vs. 7.8L/100km). The hybrid starts from RM1.1 million which is a fair bit away from the 4 Sport Turismo’s RM990k, albeit without the bells and whistles of our RM1.2m Carmine Red tester has. In any case, the best Panamera is the Sport Turismo.

Verdict: 9/10

Not sure how it’ll look in its RM990k base price spec, but still such a balanced car to drive. Does everything exceptionally well. Doesn’t try too hard to say it’s special; doesn’t need to.

  Engine    2,999cc, V6, turbo, AWD, 330hp, 450Nm
  Price    RM1.2 million (as tested)
  Performance    0-100kph in 5.5s, 259kph
  Economy    7.9L-7.8L/100km (claimed)
  Weight    1,880kg (dry)