Inside the latest Panamera Turbo S’ cabin, one can’t help but feel at ease. Rich chocolate leather abounds, there are more screens than a Pimp My Ride creation, the carpet is perfectly thick, and the cockpit has just the right amount of buttons and knobs to look detailed without looking fighter-planeish. Honestly, it looks like the most comfortable cross-country cruiser you could imagine with such a low ride height, and to improve matters, the gleaming intercoolers behind the edges of its gaping maw hint at a truly savage level of performance from this rolling masterpiece of opulence.
The charged air needs plenty of cooling as the engine produces 630 horsepower and 600 lb-ft of torque. That is turned into efficient propulsion courtesy of Porsche’s magicians—and that means the two-ton cruiser can sprint to sixty in three seconds dead. I might be old-fashioned, but that still sounds mightily fast and powerful to me. How often do you get machines of this girth reaching felony-level speeds that quickly?
It’s not only a dragster in distinguished dress. The Panamera Turbo S just lapped the Nurburging in 7:21—faster than an Audi R8 V10 Plus. How can something so heavy be that sportif?
To belie its weight, there is the rear wheel-steering and the 48-volt anti-roll system, better known as Porsche’s Active Balance system. To keep the platform level most of the time, this system produces more torque than the motor to twist the rollbars depending on the amount of lateral support needed. There’s still a little bit of roll while pushing the car—something nice to get a feel for the loading and breakaway characteristics—but it supports its weight brilliantly and ride quality doesn’t suffer over uneven pavement.
Nicely weighted steering and Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tires also play a huge role in keeping this heavyweight crisp and engaging. Though it might look like a plush countryside tourer, and it is, it still retains a level of athleticism something this big shouldn’t possess. Its combination of comfort, traction, relentless acceleration, and startling level of lateral support make this bodacious beauty one of the best backroad blitzers to buy these days.
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