Porsche has tamed the turbo’s bad manners, but not its monumental speed
Turbo Porsches used to be ferocious things with fearsome reputations. That was then. Now, the latest car to wear the famous badge is the Panamera Turbo, and it’s a peach. Embracing its newfound role as a genuine luxury four-seater, this is the most luscious Porsches to ride in yet.
We drove it in Scotland, across ugly-looking road surfaces, and all the time it remained controlled, comfortable and supple. Even when conditions get challenging and you engage Sport Plus on the suspension settings control, the ride doesn’t challenge. It’s remarkable.
Porsche Panamera Turbo
Engine: 4.0-litre, V8, turbocharged, petrol
Gearbox: Eight-speed dual-clutch automatic
0-62mph: 3.8sec (3.6 sec with Sports Chrono Package)
Top speed: 190mph
Economy: 30.1mpg (combined)
Particularly as it also handles. Sensibly, Porsche fits four-wheel drive as standard, and four-wheel steering is optional. Cleverly, the rear wheels turn in the same direction as the front wheels above 31mph, which hastens direction changes but also stabilises the rear end. For a two-tonne car, it’s ridiculously agile.
So much so, confidence will edge up and you may choose to turn off the traction control. Porsche has this in hand too. A system called Porsche 4D Chassis Control will give you a fun bit of rear-end slip, before sending more drive to the front and settling things again. Perhaps it’s a bit conservative, but even a bit of tail-out fun is better than none at all, right?
If we were being picky, we’d also say the self-centering in the steering is a bit strong just off-centre. And there’s a patch of dead travel in the brakes before they start working. But get past these and you’ll discover plentiful sensations in both controls. Brakes are particularly strong and confidence-inspiring.
Which is good, considering the amount of performance on offer. This is a 542bhp V8 twin-turbo machine that, if you option up the Sport Chrono Package, will do 0-62mph in 3.6 seconds. Needless to say, it’s staggeringly fast.
After the shortest of delays, the turbos will pin you back against the sports seats and thunderous surge will shorten long roads into short straights. You’ll probably not notice the automatic PDK dual-clutch gear changes, so quick and seamless are they, which is why you’ll be glad the brakes are so good. Very high speeds can be reached very quickly without you noticing…
Indeed, you’ll have to purposefully restrain yourself in order to give yourself enough time to work out the infotainment system. It’s over-complicated and not the work of a moment: it’s not something to be figured out as you hurtle towards the horizon.
Concentrate instead on the sheer depths of acceleration this turbo Porsche possesses. In this way, it’s totally authentic and, yes, ferocious. It’s just that decades of breeding also mean it’s not intimidating. The turbo badge is still something to be envied, but now not feared.