Text: David Khoo
Photos: Derryn Wong
Isn’t the Panamera a weird sedan-thingy?
Not anymore.The second-generation Porsche Panamera looks great, and removes the polarising effect the first one had.
Oh wait this one has a different butt!
Yep. This is Porsche’s first shooting brake, the Panamera Sport Turismo, which is completely different from the fastback ‘sedan’ from the B-pillar backwards.
What’s a shooting brake and what’s the big deal?
Traditionally, a shooting brake is a three-door wagon, and the name came from associations with hunting done by the landed gentry, but they have since attained a sartorial status.
For petrolheads (and Europeans) wagons are cool.
The super-stealthy super-quick wagons like the Mercedes-AMG E 63 S and Audi RS 6 Avant, as well as Shooting Brakes like the Ferrari GTC4Lusso in the super-sports segment, have captured the hearts of passionate petrolheads the world over,
But it’s arguably just as much a case of style as it is of function. Besides, it’s certainly a refreshing change from the ubiquitous crossover.
I can see five-doors, is it really a shooting brake?
Well the rules aren’t really hard and fast – like nowhere does it say that a coupe has to have two-doors, even if that’s the accepted term.
In any case, the Sport Turismo is no mere load-lugging beast-of-burden and its sharp silhouette, full-bodied proportions and curvaceous rump-end treatment have all the hallmarks of a Shooting Brake.
Can you carry more stuff?
Compared to the Panamera, the Sport Turismo frees up just 20-litres more under the rear hatch in five-up configuration, for 520-litres, expandable to 1,390-litres.
But it boasts a wide 92cm aperture and low 63cm rear sill edge for easier loading ability (the Panamera sedan’s loading edge is 77cm from the ground). If you’ve ever tried to fit a bicycle into a sedan boot, you’ll know that’s just as important as overall volume.
Inside, the Sport Turismo features the same chic Porsche Advanced Cockpit as the Panamera, which exudes a minimalist ambience and ‘touch’ everything, including the air-vent control.
There’s such a thing as too much tech and having physical controls for something you’re likely to constantly using like the air-con would prove less distracting to operate on the move – for what it’s worth, the new Cayenne doesn’t adopt this same system of function.
How about space in the rear?
A huge difference to the regular Panamera is the Sport Turismo’s 4+1 seating configuration. Although we’re told it’s not technically impossible to adapt this to the regular model, the Sport Turismo is the only one in the line-up to offer this… for now, we’re thinking.
The middle seat in the rear will accommodate in a pinch a passenger of up around 1.75-metres with ease; however, the long-limbed will have to cosy up to the occupants on either side.
What’s the drive like?
Although the regular Panamera features a ‘basic’ rear-drive version, the Sport Turismo is available in all-wheel-drive variants only, so this ‘4’ is the jumping-on point for the model.
The 340hp V6 delivers good punch and always musters adequate verve to tackle our concrete jungle, with the eight-speed dual-clutch gearbox serving up faultless performance.
Drive customisation comes in the form of Sport mode, as well as two setting for the adaptive dampers (Porsche Active Suspension Management).
The ST 4 is a thoroughly fun car to drive quickly, although to our mind the 440hp ‘S’ ($558,188 without COE) model is a more golden choice.
Assuming you aren’t willing to splash for the loco 550hp Turbo we found the 4S to be a wonderfully balanced performer that ably straddles the performance line so you never feel wanting for that little bit more punch, yet it isn’t too overwhelming as to make you fear for the sanctity of your license whenever you take the car out.
Besides, we think that the rear-axle steer system is a must-have for larger models like the Panamera (it isn’t standard on our test-car), and now the Cayenne.
Porsche’s excellent rear-axle steer doesn’t just improve the car’s manoeuvrability in tight confines, it also endows the cars with light-on-feet reflexes that enable it to handle like a smaller car.
However, as we’d already mentioned earlier, one doesn’t simply buy a car like the Sport Turismo to be ‘practical’, but it’s a delightful anti-establishment alternative to the usual ‘three-box’ limos that are a somewhat cliched status symbol to show you’ve arrived.
Porsche Panamera 4 Sport Turismo
|Engine||2,995cc, V6, turbocharged|
|Power||330hp at 5400-6400rpm|
|Torque||450Nm at 1340-4900rpm|
|Price||$398,333 without COE|