If the yin-yang principle were embodied in a car, the Porsche GTS would be it. These sports car models traditionally straddle the fine line between dark and light, Jekyll and Hyde. Be it the 718 or 911, Macan, Cayenne or Panamera, it never takes much to tip it over into either side.
Specced up with all the sporty features and power train upgrades, the GTS is the happy middle ground between the S and Turbo models, offering the committed driving enthusiast visceral thrills that take the edge off the stress of the daily drive. Best of all, the GTS treatment is now applied to two beloved models: the familiar gran turismo Panamera and, for the first time ever, the avant‑garde Panamera Sport Turismo.
The second-generation Panamera is Porsche’s smart, powerfully styled and sporty executive sedan that accommodates 2+2 occupants – although “fastback” is probably a better term to describe its body style, which combines the best of the sports car and luxury limo worlds. While its boldly styled rear aesthetics are evocative of the brand’s iconic 911 sports car, it features the engine in the front, unlike the rear-engine of its illustrious stablemate.
The Sport Turismo, meanwhile, is an estate with a sleek “shooting brake” body – a style inspired by the horse-drawn wagons of the 1890s that were used to transport hunting parties and their gear – and offers 4+1 seating and 520L of load-lugging ability, which expands to 1,390L when the rear seats are folded flat.
The GTS model, offered for both the Panamera and the Panamera Sport Turismo, is distinguished from regular Panamera models by a SportDesign front apron and black spoiler lip, 20-inch Panamera Design black alloy rims and stealthy black exterior trim surround instead of the usual chrome. You’re unlikely to notice the 10mm lower suspension unless it’s parked alongside a base Panamera, but you certainly will notice how eager it feels to carve up corners the first time you let its animalistic side out.
You’ll also enjoy an eyeful of the Porsche Active Aerodynamics (PAA) with adaptive rear spoiler (four-way), a flamboyant, Transformer-like three-piece “switchblade” rear wing previously only available on the top-shelf Turbo and Turbo S E-Hybrid models. However, that visual call to arms is just one of the GTS’s cues when it goes into beast mode; you’ll recognise the other when you hear the V8’s answering snarl.
Alluding to its rowdy side are the highly evocative motorsports-inspired elements in the cabin. There’s generous use of Alcantara (favoured in motorsports because it doesn’t reflect light and hence reduces glare for the drivers) and anodised aluminium, as well as racy contrast stitching, and adaptive sports seats with memory function and 18-way electrical adjustments.
It gets the same all-digital and touch-sensitive Porsche Advanced Cockpit, and the full suite of connectivity and productivity applications as the other Panamera models, transforming your car into a mobile office or entertainment centre. All are accessed via the 12-inch full-HD touchscreen display.
When the going gets fast (and trust us, it will with the GTS), committed drivers know it’s never a good idea to take one’s eyes off the road. The Panamera GTS sees the debut of a new Head-Up Display system that projects relevant driving information, in full colour, directly into the driver’s line of sight. The content is fully customisable, as is the height, brightness and rotation angle of the display.
Other dynamic niceties include the Sport Chrono Package as standard, as well as a sports exhaust system that lets the twin-turbo V8 sing. Yes, Porsche has kept to the V8 configuration of the last-generation Panamera GTS in this latest iteration (just like the Turbo and Turbo S E-Hybrid), which gives it a unique status in the Panamera ranks, not “just another tuned 3.0L V6”.
The GTS’s 4.0L engine is tuned for 460hp and 620Nm, which is good for 0 to 100km/h in 4.1 seconds (with the Sport Chrono Package) and a top speed of 292km/h (the Sport Turismo GTS maxes out at 289km/h) – great numbers to talk about at the country club, but the least of what the Panamera GTS has to offer.
A stiff rival in a drag race, it tackles winding roads and even the racetracks just as well. Extra‑cost options that augment the GTS’s dynamics include the Porsche Ceramic Composite Brake, which bumps diameter and braking prowess to Turbo-model-like levels, as well as rear-axle steering, Porsche’s excellent and natural‑feeling rear-steer system that works to reduce the turning circle at cornering speeds, but enhances stability at high speeds.
With the Panamera GTS, you get the whole package, a great blend of suave and sporty in terms of both looks and drive, which makes it the perfect companion for the busy professional in search of a plush executive sedan with sports-car performance. Prices start at $658,988 (excluding COE, and including VES fee/rebate and GST), with a five-year maintenance and warranty package.
All photos are courtesy of Porsche