First drive: Porsche Panamera GTS
What is it?
It's Porsche's executive-transporting-super-giant machine with added fizz-bang-wallop. The GTS sits below the Turbo, but is still ludicrously swift for a car as long as your average P&O ferry. Slightly harder, sportier and more involving, the GTS is for punting pen-pushers to the office with a bit more vigour and involvement.
> What's under the bonnet?
Under its Bergerac-esque conk is an utterly brilliant 4.8-litre lump lifted from the Panamera S. In GTS guise, it gets a bit more stomp – up 30bhp to 424bhp with torque at 520Nm. This is mated to a brilliant, self-shifting seven-speed 'box which makes for rapid getaways. Despite its bulk, it'll rival a BMW M5 in the 0-60mph sprint, covering it in 4.5s while going on to hit 174mph top whack.
What's the kit like?
Suitably impressive, but like all Porsches you'll pay through the nose for it. This test model had a whopping £15,159 worth of options on it. The red paint cost £2,517 alone, then there's £3,197 for the dynamic chassis control and torque vectoring plus, ceramic brakes cost a scary £5,924 and you even pay for the heated seats - £295.
Oh, you betcha. All premium manufacturers have a rival or two. BMW could flog you an M5 or a 7 Series, Audi an S8 (which is awesome), Jaguar an XJ probably in R trim. And Mercedes would probably sell you something slightly duller like an S Class. But what you really want from them is something with an AMG badge. Anyway, you get our point – there's lots of choice.
Is it any good?
In a word, yes. I was thinking of ending things there, but wouldn't have been much of a review. The GTS is quite possibly the best Panamera available. It's rapid, incredibly entertaining and engaging to drive and sounds fiery. There are three driving modes, but I can't remember them all as the only one you really want is Sport Plus. It sounds better, it goes quicker and the steering feels crisp. On the road, the four wheel drive makes it feel planted and it's one of the comfiest cars over distance I've tried for a long time.
The AOL Cars verdict
I want one... and I couldn't have said that about a Panamera before I drove the GTS version. For someone who likes involvement in their daily drive, but comfort to boot, the GTS ticks a lot of boxes. The looks won't float everyone's boat, but they certainly grew on me over my week with the barge. However, you're going to need pretty deep pockets to enjoy this Porsche The options alone cost more than three Dacia Sanderos! But I know which I'd rather have on the driveway.
Model: Porsche Panamera GTS
Engine: 4.8-litre, V8
Power: 430bhp, 520Nm
Max speed: 179mph
MPG (comb'd): 25.9