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Porsche Panamera Sport Turismo review: Wagon your tail
YOUR luxury car has four doors? Well, mine has five.
That's what owners of the Porsche Panamera Sport Turismo get to say. And whatever you think of its shape, it's more of a chic Shooting Brake than outright station-wagon.
Wagons are utilitarian, but Shooting Brakes cut a sleek, sporty silhouette and enjoy a niche, almost sartorial appeal, particularly in Asia (compared to Europe, for instance, where hatchbacks are everywhere), where image is everything and the tried-and-tested face of success often wears a three-box shape and three-pointed star.
But what could be more anti-establishment and contrarian than plonking down more money than it costs to buy a normal Panamera on this, its sexier sibling?
You'll end up with more car for your money - the Sport Turismo's selling points are its 4+1 seating (a regular Panamera is a four-seater) and a smidgen more boot-space before folding the rear seats (520 litres against the Panamera's 495 litres).
But it's the seats that are the car's real trump card. The 4+1 configuration finally removes an obstacle that could have prevented practical folk from considering a Panamera for family car duties, or as an alternative to a Mercedes S-Class.
Yet, why 4+1 and not 5? You'll understand once you're ensconced in the middle seat and straddling the transmission tunnel with your legs parted awkwardly wide.
But don't dismiss it too quickly because it'll fit 1.75m-tall adults easily, and if you've a happy family, they won't be overly perturbed by the cosy nature of the accommodation anyway.
Compared to the languid plushness found in its contemporaries, there's a sense of taut precision about the Sport Turismo's cabin, and this quality is mirrored by its crisp driving dynamics, even on the base Panamera 4 version.
The petrolheads in us would have preferred a little more power, but the 330hp/450Nm plays ball enough to conquer Singapore's concrete jungle with sufficient verve to keep us happy. It may be an alternative to a limo, but the Sport Turismo is still a Porsche.
PORSCHE PANAMERA 4 SPORT TURISMO
Engine 2,995cc, 24V, V6, turbo
Power 330hp at 5400-6400rpm
Torque 450Nm at 1340-4900rpm
Gearbox 8-speed PDK dual-clutch
Top Speed 259km/h
0-100km/h 5.3 seconds (with Sport Plus)
Fuel efficiency 7.9L/100km
Price S$398,388 without COE
Agent Porsche Centre Singapore