It’s Porsche’s distinctive take on an estate car
When we first saw the Porsche Panamera Sport Turismo concept at the 2012 Paris Motor Show, we knew Porsche had to make it. A cool ‘shooting brake’ estate, it was perfect as it was: the firm may have inexplicably taken five years, but at last it’s here with a near-identical showroom-ready version.
It’s not without rival, mind. The Mercedes CLS started the craze for sportily-styled premium estates, while the Tesla Model S shows an alternative, all-electric take on the practical-but-sporty car. Neither of them can match the new Porsche for behind-the-wheel satisfaction, though.
In V8 Turbo guise, the Sport Turismo’s acceleration is vicious, yet delivered with total isolation. You can charge from 0-62mph in just 3.6 seconds, without terrifying your passengers. The 4S Diesel is even more of a powerhouse, while the 4 E-Hybrid is fantastically smooth and refined.
All of them stack up on track, something that you wouldn’t ordinarily expect of a sports estate, but which proves its credentials as a genuine Porsche. It may weigh two tonnes but it’s still tactile and genuinely rewarding. The ride of models running on air suspension is also comfortable, with just the right blend of firm control to make it a satisfying grand tourer.
Porsche has always served up sporty and satisfying driving positions. They’re the sort of cars you feel excited in just sitting behind the wheel. The Panamera Sport Turismo is no exception, only this adds in a real spectacle of a tech-packed dashboard. There are multiple touchscreens, which work well, and a touch-sensitive centre console, which works less well: it’s confusing to use on the move. Quality throughout is peerless.
It’s spacious as well. The interior is surprisingly airy, with genuinely accommodating space for two adults in the rear (pity the third passenger squeezed into the middle jump seat though). Those in the back get their own infotainment screen and heater panel, a bit like a first-class passenger jet, and the seats are as indulgently comfortable as the roomy chairs up front.
The only surprise is that boot space is barely four per cent up on the regular Panamera – despite its quasi-estate car appearance, it doesn’t serve up estate car space. Even so, the space on offer is well designed and the massive hatchback tailgate opens right down to bumper level. You can even get rails in the floor that house lashing points to stop loads flying about. Maybe important for those doing serious track work on the way back from the supermarket.
What won’t be a surprise is to learn the Panamera Sport Turismo is not cheap. Porsche dealers don’t discount, either. And although depreciation isn’t disastrous, it’s still going to be heavy in pure monetary terms. Porsche’s surprisingly substandard reliability survey results is hardly reassuring either.
The 4S Diesel should prove economical, and the 4S petrol is a good buy for private buyers as it too is good on fuel and comes without the diesel’s price tag. Those fully focused on tax efficiency best choose the E-Hybrid though: claimed economy of 113mpg is a pipe dream, but 56g/km CO2 gives it loads of tax-friendly appeal. And, like all Panamera, it’s very well equipped.
Overall, the Sport Turismo is appealing and well-rounded enough to become our new favourite Panamera. Fast, agile and classy, it’s not cheap, either to buy or run, and the interior is fiddly for the driver, but overall its blend of practicality and style is a winning combination.