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26 July 2017

2018 Porsche Panamera Sport Turismo First Drive Review

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What’s the best-looking Porsche on sale today? That question just got tougher to answer, thanks to the 2018 Porsche Panamera Sport Turismo. It’s the third body style in the Panamera family following the standard sedan and the long-wheelbase Executive variant. It can carry more stuff compared to the standard Panamera, and it can fit five passengers, too—a first for Porsche’s luxury cruiser.

You’ll want to call it a wagon, and that’s fine, but try not to do so around a Porsche rep. Doing so will likely illicit a confused look, followed by a stern correction. (This is a Sport Turismo, and that’s that!) That said, the differences between the standard Panamera and Sport Turismo are subtle. Casual observers might not even notice a difference between the two, and that’s because everything ahead of the C-pillar is pretty much identical. Dimensions are similar, too, with an overall length and width of 198.8 and 76.3 inches, respectively. But a close look at the rear reveals more pronounced haunches, a longer roofline, and a hatch that cuts lower into the bumper (which also improves access to the cargo area). The Sport Turismo walks a fine line between quirky and handsome, and to these eyes, it’s the best-looking Panamera in the lineup.

Read our 2018 Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid review HERE.

Four models are coming to the U.S., and all are based on the regular 116.1-inch wheelbase along with standard all-wheel drive—the Panamera 4 Sport Turismo, the Panamera 4S Sport Turismo, the Panamera 4 E-Hybrid Sport Turismo, and the Panamera Turbo Sport Turismo.

Not surprisingly, the Sport Turismo drives just like the normal Panamera. We sampled two versions starting with the Turbo model powered by the same 4.0-liter, twin-turbo V-8 and eight-speed PDK dual-clutch auto used throughout the lineup. With 542 hp and 567 lb-ft of torque, the Panamera Turbo Sport Turismo has more than enough grunt to move the cruiser in a hurry, despite its curb weight that Porsche says comes in at 5,930 pounds. Power delivery is good, with little to no lag, especially with the drive mode set to Sport or Sport Plus. Its estimated 0-60-mph time of 3.6 seconds (with optional Sport Chrono Package) sounds about right, and top speed is capped at 188 mph.

We also drove the Panamera 4 E-Hybrid Sport Turismo that combines a 2.9-liter, twin-turbo V-6 (326 hp and 331 lb-ft) with an electric motor (134 hp and 295 lb-ft) that rests between the engine and eight-speed PDK gearbox. Porsche says the total system output is 456 hp and 516 lb-ft, with max torque available at a low 1,000 rpm. The plug-in hybrid’s various drive modes include an all-electric E-Power setting providing up to 32 miles of range at a top speed of 86 mph. The Hybrid Auto, Sport, and Sport Plus use a combination of the gas engine and electric motor, with an estimated 0-60 mph at a brisk 4.4 seconds. The transitions between the engine and electric motor were seamless, with the V-6 emitting a surprisingly sporty note. One quibble would be the wonky brakes at low speed, though this is something endemic to most hybrids.

Aside from the base Panamera 4, all Sport Turismos come standard with air suspension. PASM active dampers, however, are standard across the board. Both vehicles excelled at cruising the picturesque roads and highways through Canada’s Victoria Island, British Columbia, keeping road noise and harshness at bay despite riding on large and low-profile 21-inch wheels. Local speed limits kept us below 60 mph for most of the drive, but we’re confident the Sport Turismo will impress us once we get our hands on one and explore its extreme handling limits.

As previously stated, the serene and luxurious interior can now be enjoyed by five passengers, thanks to what Porsche is calling a 4+1 layout, a first for the Panamera (a four-passenger set up is still available). That middle back seat, however, should only be reserved for a smaller passenger and shorter trips. Also adding to the Sport Turismo’s practicality cred is an increase in cargo space at 18.3 cubic feet total (15.0 cubic feet for the hybrid), which is 0.7 cubic feet more than the regular sedan.

The Sport Turismo’s price premium compared to the normal Panamera ranges from $4,000 to $6,000. The Panamera 4 E-Hybrid Sport Turismo we drove, for example, starts at $105,050, which is $4,400 more than the sedan version, and the Turbo Sport Turismo ($155,050) commands a $4,000 price premium. That’s still a relatively small price to pay for the most practical and best-looking member of the Panamera family.

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