by Gerhard Horn
The Porsche Panamera Sport Turismo has the best chance of rekindling America's love affair with the wagon, at least for buyers with the means to afford this high-performance vehicle. It's essentially a Panamera with an extended roof. A wagon, if you will, but don't call it that. Labeling a car the W-word is akin to handing down a death sentence in an era when crossovers are the in thing. Three non-Turbo-badged versions of the Sport Turismo are available, powered by twin-turbocharged V6 and V8 engines with power outputs ranging from 325 horsepower in the base 4 to 473 hp in the GTS. An eight-speed PDK transmission ensures that performance is lightning fast by enabling one of the most repeatable launch control sequences on the market. This car has to be good, as it's not just competing against the Audi RS6 Avant and Mercedes-AMG E63 Wagon, but also an entire segment of performance SUVs. If anyone can change the USA's perception of the wagon, it's Porsche.
After a substantial midlife refresh that arrived midway through the 2021 model year and included both visual and mechanical updates, Porsche has brought the Panamera Sport Turismo into 2022 without any important alterations.
See trim levels and configurations:
Porsche made some minor tweaks to the steering and adaptive suspension for the 2021 refresh, with these updates continuing on into 2022. The steering on the previous model felt a little numb, but Porsche has perfected electric steering over the years. These lessons learned from cars like the GT3 have eventually been implemented in cars like this, and the Panamera Sport Turismo is better off for it.
Don't get us wrong - the Panamera is no GT3 or even a standard 911 for that matter, but it's darn good for what it is. Body roll is minimal, and the standard AWD gives you the confidence to push it hard. Still, there's no getting away from the fact that it weighs more than 4,000 lbs. The best way to explain the handling is to say that it won't annoy you if you're used to a 911. If you have a 911 you use over the weekends, the Panamera Sport Turismo is a perfectly acceptable weekday tool.
The ride quality depends on which setting you choose. The sportier settings give you a stiffer ride, while the comfort mode is actually comfortable enough to use on a daily basis. The Sport Turismo soaks up all but the worst undulations and hovers around majestically considering it's a heavyweight high-performance wagon.
NHTSA safety ratings are not available at this time.
The new Panamera Sport Turismo is a bit like Peter Quill and the Guardians of the Galaxy. They do a little bit of good, a little bit of bad, and a bit of both. They are lovable rogues, and the same is true of the Panamera Sport Turismo. On the good side, you have the engines and the handling. While it may not be a 911, you can certainly feel that Porsche DNA coursing through its veins. It's the seating position, the feel of the steering wheel, and the tachometer placed center stage on the instrument cluster. Like every other Porsche, the 2022 Porsche Panamera Sport Turismo feels substantial. And we can't deny the allure of the badge. You get to say you have a Porsche in the driveway.
But in many ways, the Porsche is disappointing. The pricing starts at $100,000, and at that price, you could buy several sedans, wagons, and SUVs that are better. If luxury is your thing, get an S-Class. Both the Audi RS6 and Mercedes-AMG E63 are better wagons with way more cargo space. The Alfa Romeo Stelvio Q also has an alluring, exciting badge, and it's just as fast and more practical.
Our biggest gripe is the lack of standard convenience and safety features. We find it absurd that you have to pay extra for full leather seats, adaptive cruise control, ambient lighting, ventilated seats, and a Bose surround sound system. Surely these things should be standard on a $100,000 car? Is the badge strong enough to make you look the other way while handing over another $20,000+ for a reasonably specced Panamera?
The Audi RS6 Avant is just short of $10,000 more expensive than the base Sport Turismo, but if you had to add everything you get as standard in the Audi to the Porsche, the latter would be way more expensive. We know design is subjective, but we dare anyone to call the RS6 ugly. It's so sinister yet extremely handsome. If one of James Bond's adversaries was a family man, this is what he'd drive. When it comes to performance, the Audi walks all over the standard Porsche Panamera Sport Turismo range. It uses the same V8 as the Panamera GTS but is tuned to deliver 591 hp and 590 lb-ft of torque. As if that's not enough, it also has a 48-volt mild-hybrid system to fill in the power gaps. The RS6 is on a whole other level of fast compared to the base Porsche and more comparable to the Panamera Turbo. The base Panamera ST gets to 60 mph in five seconds, while the Audi takes just 3.5 seconds for the same money. The Audi handles beautifully when you push it hard, but it can be sedate and comfortable when you have the family on board. The interior is nicer, there's more room for rear-seat passengers, and it has a much larger 30 cube trunk.
The Audi isn't just better than the Porsche. It's one of the best cars on sale in the US right now.
These two cars are mechanically identical, offering the same pace and driving experience. The base Sport Turismo is over $6,000 more expensive than the regular, equivalent Panamera, which is a lot of money to pay for a larger trunk. The Sport Turismo has 18.3 cubes, while the standard Panamera has 17.6. This isn't a vast difference, so we can't even base the decision on practicality.
From a value perspective, the Panamera's pricing starts at $88,400 in RWD guise, which is a lot more palatable than the near $100,000 base Sport Turismo. You can also order it in Executive long-wheelbase guise, adding more space and luxury for rear-seat passengers. It essentially boils down to the body style you prefer. Some of us prefer the standard Panamera, while others don't like that bulbous rear end. Style is subjective, so the best thing to do is head down to the nearest Porsche dealer to see both cars in the flesh before you decide.