Once upon a time station wagons were the staple of the American family's automotive diet. These days, SUVs are where it's at for most, and a station wagon stands out more than ever before. One of the most special of this rare breed is the Porsche Panamera Sport Turismo. Three variants of this unconventional Porsche are on offer without a 'Turbo' suffix, each with different engines. The base Panamera 4 variant makes use of a turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 that develops 330 horsepower and 330 lb-ft of torque. Stepping up to the 4S gets you a 2.9-liter twin-turbo V6 with 440 hp and 405 lb-ft, while the sportiest offering is the GTS, with four liters of displacement from its twin-turbocharged V8. Outputs here are 453 hp with 457 lb-ft of torque, with each variant using Porsche's eight-speed dual-clutch PDK and all-wheel-drive.
Very little has changed for the 2020 model year. Two new color options have been added to the palette - Gentian Blue and Papaya. Beyond that, there's little to distinguish this year's variant from the 2019 model.
See trim levels and configurations:
Based on the regular Panamera, the resemblance is clear yet the differences are too. The Sport Turismo has more wagon-like roof and rear hatch, which we think is a definite improvement over the bulbous Panamera's design. LED headlights and taillights are standard along with 19-inch wheels, while the GTS gets 20s. The GTS also gains various black accents, two more tailpipes than the standard dual-exit setup, and a unique rear end that it shares with the 4S, a model that also features quad-exit exhaust tips. An adaptive rear spoiler is standard on all models.
The Panamera Sport Turismo is no lightweight special, with the base 4 variant weighing at least 4,348 lbs. The 4S bulks up further, weighing 4,397 lbs, while the top GTS trim tips the scales at 4,606 lbs. The GTS is a fraction longer too, measuring 198.9 inches versus the other models' measurement of 198.8. Thanks to a lowered suspension setup, the GTS is less lofty than models with a 4 in their name. The 4 and 4S are 56.2 inches tall, while the GTS is 56 inches high. Wheelbase and width (with mirrors folded) are identical across the range at 116.1 and 76.3 inches respectively.
The base variant has a 3.0-liter turbocharged V6 that produces 330 hp and 330 lb-ft of torque, allowing it to accelerate from 0-60 in 5.2 seconds and eventually topping out at 160 mph. The 4S has a marginally smaller engine at 2.9 liters but it has a turbo on each bank of its V6, both housed inside the V, increasing output to 440 hp and 403 lb-ft of torque. This allows it to complete the benchmark sprint in 4.2 seconds on its way to a top speed of 177 mph. Each variant is impressively responsive and quick off the line, although the aforementioned weight can be difficult to ignore. If you want a little more zing from either model, the optional Sport Chrono package with launch control drops their respective 0-60 times by two tenths. For a properly rapid experience, the GTS features a twin-turbo 4.0-liter V8 with 453 hp and 457 lb-ft. It also gets the Sport Chrono package as standard, boasting a 0-60 time of 3.9 seconds, while top speed arrives a little later than in the 4S, at 179 mph. All models feature Porsche's incredibly brilliant eight-speed dual-clutch PDK transmission, a system that we are still amazed by every time we have the opportunity to sample it. It's fast, predictive, and smooth.
Before you read the next sentence, bear in mind that we are the kind of people that have been spoilt by the incomparable handling of 911s and the like. The Sport Turismo is not as fun to drive as we expect from the Stuttgart-based marque. That's not to say that it's boat-like, vague, or uncomfortable. But the steering is numb compared to what we've become accustomed to. In the Sport Turismo's defense, the steering is quick, direct, and as point-and-shoot as you'd expect from an all-wheel-drive Porsche carrying upwards of 4,000 pounds. Handling composure and body roll are equally balanced by a supple ride and incredible levels of grip, with the standard adaptive air suspension providing the best of both worlds. For an effectively shortened wheelbase and even better handling, rear-wheel steering can be added too.
The Panamera Sport Turismo is available in various e-Hybrid configurations for improved economy, but the models we review here are a far cry from the cheap-to-run Beetle that Porsche's heritage can be traced back to. The base Panamera 4 is the most efficient with EPA estimates of 19/26/22 mpg on the city/highway/combined cycles. The 4S is a little less efficient, returning estimates of 18/24/20 mpg while the twin-turbo V8 in the GTS is the least impressive of the lot, returning 15/22/18 mpg on the same cycles. Each model is fitted with a 23.7-gallon gas tank, with the base variant offering the highest estimated range under mixed driving conditions - 521 miles.
While we won't name model names, some Porsche products claim to have a 2+2 seating configuration yet the rear is all but useless. The Sport Turismo is a little more honest, with what Porsche calls a 4+1 seating configuration. The outer rear seats are livable for taller adults in terms of headroom but legroom is a bit tight. The middle seat should only be used by a small child on rare occasions. Each is comfortable and supportive, and available features like rear-seat power adjustment and even ventilation and massaging for both rows heighten luxury. In the main thrones, occupants each get eight-way power adjustment as standard (14-way seats with adaptive bolsters are available) including heating, and the driving position is good with plenty of visibility, although the view out the back can be obscured by the large C-pillars.
The space behind the rear seats is not far off what you get in a Cayenne Coupe SUV. The Sport Turismo boasts 18.3 cubic feet of volume, enough space for a weekend away with none of the passengers being deprived of luggage. A center pass-through can also accommodate skis for your time in Aspen. By comparison, the Cayenne Coupe offers 22 cubic feet. Drop the 40/20/40 rear seats in the Sport Turismo and maximum space expands to an impressive 49 cubic feet. A standard power tailgate makes loading more convenient.
In the cabin, you get rather less usable space. The door pockets are tiny and the center console doesn't have a dedicated spot for your phone. Storage beneath the center armrest and in the glovebox also won't win any awards, but at least four cupholders are provided. Unfortunately, the front cupholders are different sizes, a headache when both you and your companion want a grande Arabica cold brew from the local Starbucks.
As standard, the Panamera features LED headlights, rain-sensing wipers, eight-way heated front seats with power adjustability, power-folding heated mirrors, a power hatch, an adaptive rear spoiler, dual-zone climate control, a rearview camera, front and rear parking sensors, cruise control, and keyless entry. Optionally available are features like launch-control, a dashtop chronograph with a stopwatch (both standard on the GTS), lane-change assist, lane-keep assist, a night vision camera, a surround-view camera, soft-close doors, rear-axle steering, adaptive LED Matrix headlights, adaptive cruise control, a head-up display, and power rear sunshades. You can also get a heated steering wheel, four-zone climate control, and ventilation, heating, massaging, and power-adjustability for front and rear seats.
The Panamera Sport Turismo features an expansive and attractive 12.3-inch touchscreen infotainment display with Apple CarPlay, navigation, and a Wi-Fi hotspot. You also get Bluetooth, USB ports, SiriusXM satellite radio, HD Radio, and voice control along with a 10-speaker sound system, but Android Auto is not available and the system can be unintuitive at times despite its smartphone-based controls. Optionally available is a Bose 14-speaker sound system or a Burmester 3D surround sound upgrade. Also available is a rear-seat entertainment system with a pair of 10-inch touchscreen displays.
Thus far, the entire Porsche Panamera range of models has been completely free of recalls. Should anything go awry, Porsche offers a limited and powertrain warranty that includes 24-hour roadside assistance for the first four years or 50,000 miles of ownership, whichever comes first. The paint is covered for the same period while a 12-year/unlimited mileage corrosion warranty is included along with a one-year/10,000-mile complimentary scheduled maintenance plan.
The Porsche Panamera Sport Turismo is one of those cars that is unlikely to ever be submitted for crash testing, something uncommon at this level of price. Nevertheless, the available safety features would likely contribute to a good score if the NHTSA or the IIHS ever get the opportunity to get their hands on it.
As standard, you get a rearview camera, front and rear parking sensors, rain-sensing wipers, and frontal, side-impact (front and rear), and side curtain airbags. Both front occupants also get knee airbags. However, further safety features are optional. These include adaptive LED Matrix headlights, lane-change assist, lane-keep assist, a night vision camera, adaptive cruise control with traffic jam assist, a 360-degree camera, and a head-up display.
The Porsche is typically expensive and low on standard features, and it's disappointing to see such a shortage of standard safety equipment. The cheapest model is also just under $100,000 - a hefty price to start at when there are rivals that offer a lot more standard equipment, more power, and more space. The Panamera, and the Sport Turismo variant we review here, are devoid of the magical steering feel that is one of the core reasons that we generally prefer almost any Porsche to its competitors. It's also heavy and not especially fast in base form. Yet, despite its failings, the Porsche Panamera Sport Turismo is a great standalone vehicle with plenty of space, impressive available performance abilities, and an incomparable level of ride quality. Its interior is also beautifully designed and finished, and some of the available features, like massaging heated and ventilated rear seats, are truly impressive. Yes, it's not the best luxury wagon you can buy, but it's certainly worth considering.
The base Panamera 4 Sport Turismo starts at a base price of $98,000 before a $1,350 destination charge. The 4S Sport Turismo starts at $111,200, while the top GTS trim starts at $135,500. Fully loaded, this model's price rises steeply and will cost in excess of $215,000.
We'd opt for the top GTS trim in this instance, with its 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 that produces 453 hp. In addition, you get a beautiful interior finished in leather with Alcantara accents, 20-inch wheels, and the Sport Chrono package with its launch control function at no additional charge. You also get 18-way adaptive sport seats and an adaptive LED lighting system. We would add the Premium Package Plus with its lane-change assist system, as well as soft-close doors and heated rear seats. You also get the 14-speaker Bose sound system upgrade, and PDLS+, a better version of the adaptive LED lighting system. If it were up to us, we'd tick the box for the Assistance package, gifting you adaptive cruise control with traffic jam assist, lane-keep assist, and a night vision camera. All in, you'd be spending around $147,000.
The Audi RS6 is very similar under its skin to the Panamera Sport Turismo with which it shares its MQB Evo underpinnings. Both use the same 4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V8 when you compare the Audi to the GTS variant, but in the RS6's case, the power plant develops a whopping 592 hp and 590 lb-ft of torque, allowing it to accelerate from 0-60 three tenths quicker. With 20 cubic feet of cargo space in the back and a maximum of 59.3 cubes with the seats folded, the RS6 is also a lot more practical. It may not ride as well as the Porsche, but you still get a stunning leather interior, more standard equipment, and an infotainment system that is as easy to understand as it is beautiful. For us, the RS6 is one of the best vehicles ever to grace our shores (when it lands shortly), not to mention the best sports wagon available. In this case, compromise is easier than ever to justify.
The Sport Turismo is over $7,000 pricier than the regular Panamera with which it shares engine options and offers ultimately the same sort of comfortable and composed ride. Aesthetically, it's difficult if not impossible to make a case for the regular Panamera as the prettier of the two. In the Sport Turismo, you also get a larger cargo area measuring 18.3 cubes versus the regular Panamera's 17.6. That, however, is not enough of a difference to justify the purchase of the ST on paper, and since the regular Panamera has access to the same features and options, your wallet will prefer to retain some heft. Nevertheless, at this level, decisions are rarely made based on the premise of price, and if you prefer the looks and slightly increased practicality of the ST, we wouldn't hold it against you.
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