A short jaunt from Porsche Canada HQ to Prince Edward Country turns out to be enough to make you want a Porsche Panamera GTS
Words by: Adam Allen
It’s a cold spring day- the kind that makes you wonder when winter will finally just leave us alone- when the phone rings. It’s Porsche Canada on the other end. After exchanging pleasantries, they exclaim “ROAD TRIP!” When Porsche calls for one of those, you do not demur. Helping to chase our midweek, non-springtime blues would be our mood enhancer du jour in Porsche’s new Panamera GTS sedan and Sport Turismo variants.
Let’s get one thing out of the way: the 1st generation Porsche Panamera was uh, not attractive. As we pull into the parking lot of Porsche Canada HQ we’re greeted by a row of gleaming new 2019 Panamera GTS models that are quite attractive. While you can plainly see the resemblance to its predecessors despite the current 2nd generation examples soundly distancing themselves from their ungainly ancestors with a massive styling improvement- you can feel the automotive aesthetic judgment centre of your brain breathe a little sigh of relief as your eyes traverse the taught surfaces and swollen fenders. The Panamera will wear any of Porsche’s endless palette of colours well, but we found ourselves gravitating to the you-gotta-see-it-in-person Mamba Green Metallic, especially so in Sport Turismo form.
After a quick product briefing, it’s reaffirmed what we already know about GTS models- that they represent something of a bargain, the sweet spot of the lineup. Were you to option a Panamera 4S with the same kit as a GTS model, you should expect to spend an extra $8,000. If you’re not quite ready for a bonkers Turbo model in your life and feel overwhelmed by the dizzying array of options on offer from the Porsche Online Configurator, this is the one you want.
So what do you get when you decide on a GTS model? First, we’d strongly encourage you to step up to the Sport Turismo- it’s a remarkably good-looking car. With that done, you’ll note the GTS models are lower and longer than their Turbo stablemate but only slightly. The brakes have been enlarged in accordance with the minute dimensional increases, but as everyone knows, Porsche brake hardware is pretty robust even on the base models so the increase is welcome but not necessary. For the trim, they’ve used black to exude a sinister, sporty vibe and it’s used to good effect on the tail lamps, badges and 20 or 21” wheels whom are painted as such. Other standard must haves include the sports exhaust, Sport Chrono package as well as launch control. Alcantara trim is tastefully sprinkled throughout the interior and 18-way power seats ensure an intimate relationship with the controls. And, although not earth-shattering increases over a 4S model, 453 horsepower and 479 pounds feet of torque are nothing to sniff at and allow the GTS to attain effortless speed in a very short period of time. Did we mention that Porsche turfs the turbo V6 for a V8, basically a few lines of software code away from the same engine found in the Turbo? The V6 was a great engine, but the V8 is better, because obviously.
We drove a Panamera e-Hybrid that is part of the same 2nd generation late last year and came away impressed with the experience. As good as the hybrid tech is, we prefer our drivetrains as simple as possible and found the lessened complexity of the GTS refreshing (and yet we still managed a sparkling 10.7L/100km for the entire trip). We also liked what happened when we selected Sport Plus and punched the sports exhaust button, letting a pleasing amount of V8 racket into the cabin while the big Panamera made short work of the curvy rural roads in and around Prince Edward County. Our only complaint? Make it louder.
Our drive route took us through many picturesque villages and hamlets of Eastern Ontario, with enough elevation changes and the odd chicane here and there to keep things interesting. After spending time exploring the local squiggly bits of tarmac we pulled up to the Drake Devonshire Inn for a delicious lunch and talked about the morning’s events, where it became apparent the consensus of our group was that the Panamera GTS is quite good.
While our drive was fleeting, it was enough for us to concur. The cars we flogged were amongst the first of their kind to arrive on Canadian soil, likely beginning to arrive in earnest to dealerships as you read this. As soon as one is available for a comprehensive Road Test, we hope to bring you a more detailed account with what life with a Panamera GTS is all about…stay tuned.