Porsche Panamera Turbo S

What is it?

The fastest Porsche Panamera you can buy. It's based on the standard Panamera Turbo, but a few engine and turbo revisions boost the power by 50- to 550bhp, allowing this 4.8-litre twin-turbocharged four-wheel drive rocket sled to reach 62mph in just 3.8 seconds and cruise at over 190mph all day long. It's not just an autobahn missile either, as a multitude of electronic and mechanical driver systems allow this four-seater to maintain its ludicrous pace almost regardless of the type of road. If you've got £122,623 available and need indecently quick transport for four, look no further.

Is it any good?

That depends on how you measure it. If you want the fastest, most capable four-seat car around then there's little to touch it. If you want a luxurious limousine- like drive then there's better available. Even so it's remarkably adept at both roles. Sure it can tackle a series of bends at mind-boggling speeds and entertain and involve on a mountain pass, but it's remarkably quiet and comfortable if you're just cruising along without an urgent appointment to get to.

Clever suspension helps, the Turbo S's system so bewilderingly complex we'd need a few pages to explain it. Needless to say it's firm and controlled when you want it to be, or supple and cosseting when speed's not your only goal. The engine's power is seemingly never ending in its force too, and the seven-speed transmission shifts almost imperceptibly even when you're in a hurry. Quick as that gearbox is it does have a tendency to hold onto gears when in Drive, even when you do not want all the S's power. Prodding the wheel-mounted button - or even better, pulling the (free) optional paddle-shifter - does sort that out, but it's frustrating.

The steering is decently weighted and precise, the brakes reassuringly strong (on optional PCCB discs anyway) and the refinement very good, too. Rich owners might find the boot space a touch limiting, while you need to pay more for Porsche's PCCB ceramic composite brakes and its high-end audio options. Otherwise it's well specified as standard, and gains some bespoke additions - like a body coloured retractable rear spoiler and some unique interior two-tone leather trim options.

Should I call the bank manager?

You'll not need to if you've the financial clout to buy and run this range-topping rocket-ship. The list price is just over £122,600, but figure on spending at least £10,000 more on options to personalise it. Running it won't be cheap, as even with the same quoted 24.6mpg as its marginally slower Panamera Turbo relative, it'll chew through fuel at an alarming rate - especially if you live near a de-restricted autobahn.

Summary

Shockingly speed and eye-widening competence mean the Panamera Turbo S works well in its native Germany, where enlightened attitudes to motorway speeds mean you can enjoy its prodigious grunt. It'd probably just frustrate in the UK, and although slower, a standard Panamera S would be just as quick and arguably more enjoyable too. Considerably cheaper as well, but if you've got the means it's difficult not to be seduced by the Turbo S's incredible breadth of abilities.

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