Porsche Panamera Sport Turismo 4
Engine: 2995cc, turbocharged V6
Transmission: 8-speed twin-clutch semi-automatic, 4-wheel drive
Top Speed: 259km/h
Price: S$398,388 w/o COE
The Porsche Panamera’s big flaw, for drivers that demanded a car that could seat five occupants, is that it only seats four people. Despite looking to all the world like a regular five-seater, the heavily sculpted rear bench is shaped for two occupants, and to reinforce the point, there are only two seatbelts in the rear.
So here we have the new Porsche Panamera Sport Turismo, this time promising to really have room for five. It’s a dynamic take on the standard Panamera, and some have called this the wagon variant. It’s actually a fair bit curvier than what you would expect from a regular station wagon though, and strictly speaking, it’s a 4+1 seater.
The rear bench has room and seatbelts for three passengers, but the person getting the centre space will have to uncomfortably straddle the huge transmission tunnel running the length of the car and sit on a hump on the bench. It’s a little like riding a pony, and with air-conditioning vents blowing at your crotch.
For the driver though, this is going to matter little. It’s a proper Porsche, and from the B-pillar forwards, it’s essentially the same car as the standard Panamera. Available in a myriad of different engine configurations and options, the car that we drove was the 3.0-litre turbo V6 with four-wheel drive.
It’s pretty big car, and the sense of size is magnified by the low seating position. Once you get the hang of it though, the car seems to shrink around you as it carves up corners with clinical precision and power. From the driver’s seat, there are plenty of selectable options from the retractable spoiler to the sports exhaust. It’s a little like piloting a spaceship, and the slick, glossy centre console with touch panel interface adds to the whole Star Trek-like feel of the cockpit.
The driver interface looks good on paper, but in fact is difficult to operate when the sun is shining and reflecting off the whole panel. Also, the lack of tactile surfaces on the glass-smooth centre panel means that you can’t go by feel; you actually have to glance down to see where to press, not the best thing to do in moving traffic.
Take a tour of the back end though, and this is a Porsche with plenty of load-carrying capacity. The car’s balance remains excellent, and the styling is arguably better looking than the standard Panamera, with more curves in all the right places.