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buying Tested: 2021 Porsche Panamera GTS Clings to Relevance

08:55  04 june  2021
08:55  04 june  2021 Source:   caranddriver.com

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Porsche is trying to keep the Panamera in the conversation by updating it for the 2021 model year with a few new configurations and minor styling tweaks. Among those changes, the GTS model tested here now develops 473 horsepower from its twin-turbo 4.0-liter V-8, a gain of 20 ponies over last year. Within the Panamera lineup, which ranges from the 325-hp base V-6 model all the way up to the 690-hp Turbo S E-Hybrid, the GTS remains the cheapest way to get a V-8 in a Panamera , and its finely honed chassis setup lends it the sharpest responses of the bunch. As before, the GTS features all-wheel

Porsche has given the Panamera a light styling refresh for 2021 , incorporating the previously optional SportDesign front fascia as standard across the lineup. The rear end gains an LED strip that runs the entire width of the car, and a new diffuser between the car's dual exhaust outlets provides a sportier appearance. Inside, all Panameras receive an updated steering wheel design with integrated shift paddles. Porsche says it tweaked the chassis slightly to improve ride quality and sharpen handling. New wheel designs and colors—Cherry Red Metallic and Truffle Brown Metallic—are also now offered.

Just as we've become comfortable with there being Porsche luxury sedans and SUVs, the company has started to throw more curveballs at us. While the 911 and the 718 sports cars still tug at our heartstrings, they've now been joined by an electric Porsche in the form of the Taycan sedan, multiple Cross and Sport Turismo station wagons, and whatever the Cayenne coupe is trying to be. Against this backdrop, the four-door Panamera, even in its most driver-focused GTS configuration, is starting to seem positively conventional—possibly even a bit irrelevant.

a car driving on a city street: Minor updates to the V-8-powered GTS model struggle to brighten the slow-selling Panamera's luster. © Michael Simari - Car and Driver Minor updates to the V-8-powered GTS model struggle to brighten the slow-selling Panamera's luster.

Porsche is trying to keep the Panamera in the conversation by updating it for the 2021 model year with a few new configurations and minor styling tweaks. Among those changes, the GTS model tested here now develops 473 horsepower from its twin-turbo 4.0-liter V-8, a gain of 20 ponies over last year. Within the Panamera lineup, which ranges from the 325-hp base V-6 model all the way up to the 690-hp Turbo S E-Hybrid, the GTS remains the cheapest way to get a V-8 in a Panamera, and its finely honed chassis setup lends it the sharpest responses of the bunch. As before, the GTS features all-wheel drive and an eight-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. Also unchanged for 2021 is the exhaust note of the GTS's mellifluous V-8, which continues to emit a powerboat-like burble at idle that builds to a soulful bellow as the engine spins to its 6800-rpm redline.

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Blending impressive performance with superior comfort, the Porsche Panamera is significantly enhanced and redesigned for the 2021 model year. Further improving performance was a key priority, and several new powertrains reflect that. Featuring changes to the crankshaft, connecting The twin-turbo V8 in the sporty Panamera GTS (473 hp and 457 lb.-ft.) benefits from a 20 hp increase compared to the previous model, and its throttle calibration is tuned to resemble the responsiveness and finesse of a naturally aspirated engine even more closely. At the same time, Porsche is expanding its hybrid

a car driving on a city street: 2021 Porsche Panamera GTS © Michael Simari - Car and Driver 2021 Porsche Panamera GTS

Unfortunately, we didn't see the results of the latest power bump at the test track. Compared with the 2019 Panamera GTS we last tested, the 2021 iteration's launch-control-enabled 3.2-second zero-to-60-mph run was a tenth of a second slower, a difference it maintained over its 11.7-second, 116-mph quarter-mile pass. That's hardly to say the latest GTS feels slow—even without launch control the GTS does the 5-to-60-mph sprint in 4.2 seconds—but we would've expected at least a slight improvement in acceleration considering that the newer, 4714-pound car weighed a scant 35 pounds more than before.

Conversely, the 2021 GTS did beat out its predecessor on the skidpad and under braking. Riding on 20-inch Michelin Pilot Sport 4S summer tires, it outgripped the 2019 model by 0.01 g (1.02 g) and stopped from 70 mph in nine fewer feet (145 feet). Those are sports-car-worthy figures, and they combine with the gutsy V-8, the clairvoyant dual-clutch gearbox, and the GTS's fluid steering action to produce a stirring driving experience on pretty much any road.

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2021 Porsche Panamera GTS Front View 3/4. Underscoring their impressive performance figures, the new Panamera Turbo S variants are fitted with a model-specific front fascia that features larger air intakes and new Turbo S-specific front light signature. As before, most powertrains are offered in the sedan, Sport Turismo, and Executive body styles, the latter providing a particularly extensive amount of rear seat room due to its 5.9 inch longer wheelbase.

The 2021 Porsche Panamera comes in three body styles: the regular Panamera sedan, which actually has a hatchback-style trunk; a longer-wheelbase Executive model with additional rear seat legroom; and the Sport Turismo, which has a wagon-like profile and additional cargo space. There are also many trim levels available that are distinguished by different drivetrains and features, but not in every body style. These include the base Panamera , Panamera 4, Panamera 4S, Panamera 4 E-Hybrid, Panamera 4S E-Hybrid, Panamera GTS , Panamera Turbo S and Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid.

a car parked on the side of a road: 2021 Porsche Panamera GTS © Michael Simari - Car and Driver 2021 Porsche Panamera GTS

Putting our test car's performance numbers into context is complicated by the strength of its competition, though. For example, the electric Taycan 4S, which starts at $105,150 to the Panamera GTS's $130,650, is only 0.2 second slower to 60 mph, and it pulled 1.03 g on the skidpad. What's more, the Taycan packs a greater visual punch for most onlookers. While the second-generation Panamera's proportions are undoubtedly more attractive than the original's hunchback design, we think that the Taycan is a far better-looking interpretation of a four-door Porsche, even if it is considerably smaller inside. But if highway range is what you're after, the Panamera GTS dominates the Taycan 4S's 220 miles between charges. We averaged 30 mpg at 75 mph, which translates to bladder-busting 710 miles between fueling.

It's also worth noting that the winner of our most recent high-performance-luxury-four-door comparison test, the Audi RS7, will only set you back $115,045 to start. That 591-hp Audi also beats the Panamera GTS in our acceleration tests, as it should, yet maintains an impressive degree of luxury-car comfort.

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The special dynamic of the new Panamera GTS models is clear from the first glance – in particular thanks to playing with the black contrasting colour. Elements, such as the side window trims, the side air outlets, the logos on the rear end and the tailpipes of the sports exhaust system, are finished in black The coordination of the 8-speed Porsche Doppelkupplung (PDK) has been designed to be even more clearly sporty in the GTS models. The SPORT PLUS programme of the standard Sport Chrono Package ensures, for example, even faster shift times. The transmission of torque on the road is achieved

For the Panamera GTS models you also have the option of all assistance systems, such as Porsche InnoDrive including adaptive cruise control, Lane Change Assist, Lane Keeping Assist or ParkAssist including Surround View. Currently, we are still obliged to provide the NEDC values, irrespective of the testing method used. The additional reporting of the WLTP values is voluntary until their obligatory use. As far as new cars, which are type approved in accordance with the WLTP, are concerned, the NEDC values will therefore be derived from the WLTP values during the transition period.

a person driving a car: 2021 Porsche Panamera GTS © Michael Simari - Car and Driver 2021 Porsche Panamera GTS

Porsche's formula for its GTS models generally includes some value packaging compared to similarly equipped lesser versions. That positioning does apply to the Panamera, but it's tough to call the GTS variant a smart buy unless it's in the company of the 620-hp Turbo S model (base price, $179,050) or the 689-hp Turbo S E-Hybrid ($189,050). Even with a relatively light load of options for a Porsche, our test car stickered at $148,800 yet lacked extras such as adaptive cruise control and ventilated seats.

It wasn't long ago that the Panamera was abuzz with attention, both positive and negative, as it brought Porsche into a new, profitable market segment. But as the brand enters a new era, the luster of its once controversial four-door hatchback is beginning to fade as more enticing alternatives crop up both within the Porsche lineup and elsewhere in the high-performance luxury space. Along with the Taycan, we imagine the strength of the Cayenne lineup, including the new-for-2021 GTS model, will continue to hamper Panamera sales, which amounted to a paltry 3870 units last year—less than every other Porsche model except for the 718 sports cars. As engaging as the GTS is to drive for a sports sedan, we won't be shocked if the Panamera doesn't return for a third generation.


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