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More space for Porsche’s luxurious performance GT

PROS

  • Estate version of performance coupe
  • Increased space is welcome
  • Impressive mix of comfort and performance
  • Strong engine line up
  • Small premium over the standard car

CONS

  • An expensive car regardless of specification
  • Exterior design may be divisive
  • Remains less practical than some rivals

Verdict

Porsche’s second-generation Panamera has already proven its credentials with a smarter cabin, sleeker design and improved ride and handling.

Now the firm has added to the range with the introduction of the more spacious Panamera Sport Turismo, giving it a rival for the Mercedes-Benz CLS Shooting Brake and BMW 5 Series GT.

With redesigned bodywork towards the rear of the car, passenger room has been increased as well as boot space, boosting practicality and even making the Panamera capable of carrying five people for the first time.

Same footprint as standard Porsche Panamera

All of the physical changes to the exterior are limited to the rear of the car. It takes up no more space on the road or on your driveway in terms of length or width, but the roofline of the car is extended to increase the amount of headroom for rear passengers.

A new tailgate gives a wider aperture for easier loading while boot space has been increased by 26 litres with the seats up to give 520 litres total, while folding the rear bench now gives 86 additional litres of space compared to the regular hatchback – a total of 1,390 litres in this configuration.

Those changes also have a significant impact on the Sport Turismo’s appearance compared to the standard Panamera.

The additional bodywork behind the rear wheels and around the roof and tailgate gives a chunkier look to the tail end, and is in contrast to the coupe-like looks of the standard car.

Fans of the original design may remain unmoved, but for others who find the regular Panamera visually unappealing the Sport Turismo may prove to be more popular.

Space for five - just

Inside the changes to the Sport Turismo are felt most significantly by those in the rear. Available in a four seat version as with the standard Panamera or as a ‘4+1’ arrangement as Porsche calls it, both variants provide better headroom for those sitting in the rear seats.

Redesigned rear doors open to reveal a larger aperture for passengers to access through, and the amount of light entering through the cabin is also improved as a result.

Where optioned the centre seat is definitely suitable only for occasional use; although a three-point seat belt is fitted, it is a narrow and sparsely-cushioned chair with the occupant required to place their feet either side of the transmission tunnel.

Space age cockpit

Those in the front of the cabin can enjoy the same high-tech layout as the standard Panamera.

The Porsche Virtual Cockpit incorporates twin digital screens in the instrument binnacle combined with touch-sensitive glass buttons around the gearlever and a large central touchscreen.

A little familiarisation is required, but it is packed with features and works well. The only criticism is that the central air vents can only be adjusted via the touchscreen itself.

Same engine range as standard Panamera

The Sport Turismo variant mirrors the engine range of the conventional Panamera, giving two petrol, two petrol hybrid and one diesel option, matched to a four-wheel-drive system on all bar the entry-model and an eight-speed dual-clutch gearbox.

While the Turbo version catches the eye with its impressive performance, it is the Diesel S model that offers the strongest mix of power, acceleration and fuel consumption. With so much torque available at low engine speeds it offers a relaxing drive, and even when pressed for full acceleration it delivers a more petrol-like engine note.

All Sport Turismo models are fitted with air suspension which does an impressive job of keeping the car stable and controlled during cornering but also filtering out road imperfections.

The Sport Turismo is ideally suited to covering long distances with complete ease, while still retaining the ability to offer a spirited drive where circumstances permit.

The Parkers Verdict

While the Sport Turismo adds a modest amount of practicality over the standard car it is a useful boost in that respect for a modest increase in costs.

It also adds something to the car in terms of its visual appeal, providing a more distinctive look.

In all other aspects it remains a deeply impressive machine in a variety of circumstances, although still available only to the fortunate few, given the price. Well worth investigating if you can afford it.

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