New Porsche Panamera Turbo S finally gets RS6-beating power
…thus addressing our only quibble with Porsche's seriously sexy saloon/estate
Porsche has just revealed the updated Panamera and a range-topping Turbo S model, which has a 630hp V8. Good grief.
We've always loved the Panamera for the way it gave us a saloon (and, in Sport Turismo form, an estate) that handled and felt like a sports car. But it's always lagged behind its AMG and Audi RS rivals on power. Until now.
We'll get to the aesthetic and techy updates in a minute, but let's talk performance. The £135,610 Turbo S replaces the Turbo as the range-topper in the Panamera range (the Turbo model is gone completely), and that 630hp output is a whopping 80hp increase over the old Turbo.
Accordingly, the 0-62mph dash drops to 3.1 seconds, and it'll blare on to 196mph. Peak torque is 820Nm, which is 20Nm more than you'd get in an RS6. Seeing as Porsche actually designed the 4.0-litre V8 used across the Volkswagen Group, it's nice to see them getting to turn the wick up a bit.
Oh yeah, it's set a 'Ring record
As we found out a month ago, the new Panamera Turbo S has lapped the Nurburgring Nordschleife in 7 minutes 29.81 seconds, which is a new record for an executive car.
Plug-in power steps up
There's also a new plug-in drivetrain option in the form of the £101,690 Panamera 4S E-Hybrid, which give us 560hp, 750Nm of torque and a pure-electric range of 34 miles from its 17.9kWh battery.
Oh god there's a brown one. Excellent
The hybrid drivetrain is made up of a 440hp 2.9-litre V6 (hello RS4 engine), mated to a 100kW motor built into the eight-speed dual-clutch gearbox. Performance-wise it's not far behind the Turbo S, at 3.7 seconds to 62mph and with a top speed of 185mph.
The GTS gets sportier too
We've always loved a Porsche GTS model, simply because they give you the finest Porsche handling experience without paying the premium for a full-on Porsche Motorsport-division car. And the £107,180 Panamera GTS gets a few enhancements too with this facelift – its 4.0-litre V8 is up 20hp to 480hp, and torque sits at 620Nm, and Porsche says the power delivery has been designed to increase in a naturally aspirated-mimicking fashion towards the redline. It's a trick Ferrari has been pulling for a few years, and it's nice that Porsche is doing something a bit different for those who don't just want 'the fastest one'.
Want an entry-level Panamera?
You can still get a boggo £69,860 Panamera or four-wheel-drive £72,890 Panamera 4, and they still come with the 2.9-litre V6 in a 330hp, 450Nm state of tune.
What else has changed?
Porsche says the active suspension option has been fine-tuned for comfier damping, and the brand's electric roll stabilisation has been sharpened up to cancel out lean in corners more quickly.
The Panamera's looks have also been tweaked – all cars now get the 'sport design' front-end (used to be an option), which includes bigger air intakes. There's also a redesigned lightstrip across the Panamera's bootlid.
Wireless Apple CarPlay is now a thing in the Panamera, as is a suite of updated online services and improved voice commands – while active lane keep assist is now standard, giving you something extra to turn off five minutes into your drive.
You can now get a matching watch as well
Porsche Design has done an excellent job of extracting currency from quite a few of us over the past couple of decades, and this looks set to continue. If you tick the Sports Chrono option on your Panamera, you'll get a dash-top timing clock – same as usual – but now it's a fancy Porsche Design chronometer with a metal dial, ceramic markers and it's got some form of fancy lighting. If that's not cool enough, you can also buy a matching wristwatch, which you'll inevitably have to explain to someone and wish you'd not bothered buying it. But at least you've got the option.
Mostly, though, we're just glad Porsche has been allowed to leapfrog sister brand Audi in the power stakes with the Turbo S. Though we'd still take our Panamera in GTS spec, in the funky Sport Turismo estate bodystyle, in bright orange. Please and thank you.