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Porsche Panamera Sport Turismo review: Tail happy
Vancouver Island, Canada
THE Porsche Panamera Turbo Sport Turismo may look like the right vehicle for a trip to Ikea, but the real reason folks buy such shooting brakes is for the street cred and sartorial irony - the utility comes as a bonus.
Factor in the explosive performance of the bi-turbo 4.0-litre V8 and the car's cult desirability factor shoots through the roof.
What can we say? Petrolheads have a thing for incongruous performance machines, and it doesn't get more eclectic than fast wagons.
Although the term "shooting brake" has been used interchangeably with wagon/estate, not all wagons are shooting brakes - true shooting brakes are a cross between a coupe and a wagon.
The Panamera features a coupe-style silhouette reminiscent of the iconic 911. And although the five-door Sport Turismo retains the Panamera's front familial styling, everything from the B-pillars onwards has been redesigned and terminates in a gorgeous derrière with beautifully sculpted "hips". I certainly find it hard to tear my eyes away from the Sport Turismo's curvy behind.
The car's perky rump is fleshy in the right spots, and new to the model is an adaptively extendible roof spoiler that can be deployed in three positions - depending on speed, vehicle drive settings and whether the oversized glass-roof is open. It's capable of generating up to 50kg of downforce, pressing on the rear axle for more high-speed stability.
Even within such a small niche, Porsche believes that the Sport Turismo is unique in its market segment. Audi's RS 6 Avant is more of a wagon than a shooting brake, and while the Ferrari GTC4Lusso fits the bill, it is a three-door 2+2 seater that is deep in million-dollar price territory.
Porsche, on the other hand, offers a range of models across a wide price band which includes the basic Sport Turismo 4 (the number signifying that all of the car's wheels are powered by the engine), the 4 e-Hybrid and this Turbo.
Most notably, the Sport Turismo boasts 4+1 seating capacity - versus the Panamera's 2+2 configuration (the Sport Turismo can also be optioned as a 2+2) - making it pretty much the sportiest Porsche that can seat five people.
Standing at 1.65m, I find it a cosy fit in the rear, especially with a full load of three in the back and the centre tunnel encroaching on the middle seat's legroom.
The shape of the roof means it can accommodate taller passengers without their heads brushing against the top, so your only worry would be brushing against your fellow backbenchers.
With the rear seats up, the Sport Turismo's 520-litre luggage compartment is 20 litres larger than that of the Panamera, but this can be expanded - with the seats folded flat - to 1,390 litres, or about 50 litres more. The loading aperture is conveniently wide, so filling up the boot is a breeze.
Mechanically, the Sport Turismo shares the same powertrain as its Panamera brethren, and the Turbo hits just as hard. With Launch Control to help the driver make the perfect getaway, it demolishes the 100km/h dash from standstill in a tarmac-blistering 3.6 seconds.
Rear-axle steering, too, imparts a sense of graceful agility to the car, so it will gamely keep up with other sports cars. More so in inclement weather, where its all-wheel drive system will lend extra potency.
Trendy crossovers may rule the roost these days, but something as classically elegant as the shooting brake shape of the Panamera Sport Turismo is full of niche appeal, and is unlikely to go out of style. I can't think of a better all-rounder in the motoring world. And within Porsche's world, there's nothing that does it all as well as the Sport Turismo.
Porsche Panamera Turbo Sport Turismo
Engine 3,996cc, 32V, V8, bi-turbo
Power 550hp at 5750-6000rpm
Torque 770Nm at 1960-4500rpm
Gearbox 8-speed PDK dual-clutch
Top Speed 304km/h
0-100km/h 3.6 seconds (with Sport Plus)
Fuel efficiency 9.5-9.4L/100km
Price S$728,288 excluding COE
Agent Porsche Centre Singapore