By Nick Jones
The Porsche brand is synonymous with fast and furious, two seats and lots of noise and action.
Despite launching into the 4x4 market some year’s ago with the brilliant Cayenne, the marque never seriously competed in the full-sized saloon market.
They dipped their toes in the water a couple of times with 2+2 variants but until the arrival of the Panamera Porsche never offered a luxury sports car with four adult seats.
My first experience of the Panamera was in the ‘S’ version and I was taken aback by its whole-hearted approach to how a car of this nature could behave and yet have the style and presence to be a growling monster.
I was smiling wryly when a Turbo version came out with 500bhp and high top speed, but imagine my surprise when some bloke at Porsche thought that wasn’t enough and produced a Turbo S? - with another 50 horses and improved torque of a mind-numbing 757Nm, which is enough to pull the whole kitchen while trying to whip the skin off a rice pudding.
With the Turbo S, you get a lower, more polished looker than before.
It has four-wheel-drive for a start and massive 20in alloy wheels.
Bits from the Porsche Exclusive range are evident like the side skirts for instance. The press car also has carbon ceramic brakes which are a £5,924 option.
It’s a long car (best check the garage dimensions before you buy one) with a wide track and a surprisingly low roof line.
The great thing is though, while retaining the traditional Porsche look the Panamera is a four door car with, as said, four adult seats.
Drop inside and you’ll find standard two-colour leather trim, but with the ‘S’ you have two new options of black/cream or agate grey/cream to be that little bit more exclusive.
From the driving seat, the interior is just a sumptuous array of switchgear and that great low-slung driving position.
The centre console extends from the dash right through to the rear seats, dividing the cockpit into a true four-seater express,
The boot holds 430-litres of luggage, and with the rear seats folded down extends to over 1,200-litres.
On the road, the Panamera S smashes its way past 60mph in an incredible 3.8 seconds - not bad for a proper family car - on its way to a top speed of 190mph which almost quick enough to be able to say “yes” the first time the children ask “are we there yet?”.
You’re hardly going to be doing those numbers everyday, but at the other end of the scale, it can be driven at 40mph and it’s as civilised as it is comfortable and relaxing.
It has launch control if you want to have some fun at the traffic lights.
The standard transmission is a seven-speed automatic PDK gearbox that shifts quickly when called upon to do so.
The price for this car without any extras is £122,603 but the test car had the said brakes, privacy glass (£320), adaptive sports seats (£923) plus a few cosmetic tweaks bringing the cost of this rocket ship up to £132,818.
If you’re interested in this car then I’m sure you won’t really be interested in mundane details such as the cost of running a twin turbo 4.8-litre four-wheel-drive petrol-engined car weighing in at two tonnes.
But the figures are... 24mpg on the combined cycle, dropping to probably 16mpg on average over the week if you’re commuting and plummeting still further if you are tempted to put your foot down - and who wouldn’t be?
The styling hasn’t found universal approval yet, but one thing is for sure, it does exactly what it was designed to do – get four adults comfortably and quickly from A to B.
Bring on the diesel version.