German automakers are masters of spinning a single nameplate into an extensive spread of variants, with none better at doing so than Porsche. The Stuttgart-based brand slices its hallmark 911 into 22 slivers of body, powertrain, and drivetrain combinations. Now Porsche’s four-door car is getting in on that action with a subtle stretch of the roofline that spawns a second body style called the Panamera Sport Turismo.
We’d call the Sport Turismo the hatchback version, except that wouldn’t differentiate it from the original Panamera body style. And Porsche might call it a wagon, but there’s no stodgier word in all of automotivedom. So Sport Turismo it is, an ambiguous yet suitably racy term for such a sexy shape. A near clone of a 2012 Paris auto-show concept car, the Sport Turismo is low, sleek, and powerful, with thicker C-pillars and more upright rear glass suggesting greater practicality. All of the sheetmetal aft of the B-pillars is new, along with the roof, while an active rear spoiler can move among three positions, the highest of which is used to reduce noise when the optional panoramic glass sunroof is open.
With no change in overall length, though, the Sport Turismo is only marginally more practical than the regular Panamera. At 49 cubic feet with the rear seats folded, the Turbo Sport Turismo’s cargo hold is just 4 percent larger than a standard Panamera’s. And it’s 15 cubes smaller than the Mercedes-Benz E-class wagon’s. A larger hatch makes the space easier to load thanks to a liftover height that is 5.6 inches lower than in the conventional Panamera.
The greater advantage of choosing the Sport Turismo is improved rear-seat comfort. In the standard hatchback, six-footers brush their coifs where the headliner descends to transition into the hatch. The Sport Turismo’s longer roof pushes that transition back far enough to eliminate any interference. Rear legroom remains a bit tight, especially when compared against a BMW 7-series or a Mercedes-Benz S-class, as the Sport Turismo is not offered in the long-wheelbase Executive variant that adds 5.9 inches of length. The longroof Panamera does introduce a five-seat configuration as standard, while the four-seat setup (the only arrangement offered in the regular Panamera) is optional.
Business in the Back, Party in the Front
When U.S. deliveries begin in November 2017, the Sport Turismo line will bypass the entry-level rear-wheel-drive version offered on the standard Panamera for a lineup that exclusively routes torque to all four wheels. The range starts with the $97,250 Panamera 4, which delivers 330 horsepower from a single-turbo 3.0-liter V-6. Another $13,000 buys the 440-hp twin-turbo 2.9-liter V-6 of the 4S Sport Turismo. Our drive gave us seat time in the Panamera 4 E-Hybrid (a plug-in vehicle with a 14.0-kWh lithium-ion battery) and the $155,050 Turbo with its twin-turbo 4.0-liter V-8 making 550 horsepower.
The Panamera’s chassis dynamics are indifferent to the powertrain that is installed, however. Both versions we drove (along with non–Sport Turismo variants we’ve previously driven) delivered perfectly weighted steering, nicely controlled body roll, and a firm ride that is never flinty, choppy, or abrupt. Our sole complaint concerns the $105,050 E-Hybrid, where it is a challenge to modulate the braking force, with a vague transition between regenerative braking and the conventional friction pads.
The E-Hybrid accelerates more fluidly than it stops, with the 136-hp motor and the twin-turbo 2.9-liter V-6 seamlessly stirring together a combined output of 462 horsepower. While the E-Hybrid doesn’t have an official EPA rating yet, we expect each battery charge to be good for about 20 miles of electric range. In both E-Hybrid and Turbo form, a Porsche-exclusive eight-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission grabs gears assertively and engages smoothly from a stop.
It’s the nutty Turbo model that we’d buy, though. It creates instant-on thrust with relentless top-end pull, and that’s before you engage the ruthless launch control. We expect the Turbo Sport Turismo to match the 3.0-second zero-to-60-mph blitz we recently measured on a standard-body Panamera Turbo. Those who demand more will need to wait for the impossibly named Porsche Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid Sport Turismo. While Porsche hasn’t officially confirmed this powertrain in the Sport Turismo body style, the brand isn’t likely to resist yet another combination. When it does arrive, the Turbo S E-Hybrid will blend the 4 E-Hybrid’s electrified bits with the Turbo’s heady V-8 for a combined output of 680 horses.
A sporty $100,000 wagon exists within a niche of a niche of a niche. And the niche that the Sport Turismo resides in is remarkably similar to the space carved out by the standard Panamera. That doesn’t appear to be much of a concern within Porsche, however. This brand loves to dream up every conceivable variation and leave the hard decisions to the buyers.
Article Source: this factual content has not been modified from the source. This content is syndicated news that can be used for your research, and we hope that it can help your productivity. This content is strictly for educational purposes and is not made for any kind of commercial purposes of this blog.