We drove a $175,000 Panamera Turbo to see if it's really a Porsche sports car for the whole family — here's the verdict

Hollis Johnson/Business InsiderOur 2018 Porsche Panamera Turbo Sport Turismo test car.
  • The Porsche Panamera Sport Turismo is new for 2018. It’s Porsche’s first production wagon.
  • The Panamera Turbo Sport Turismo is powered by a 550-horsepower, 4.0-litre, twin-turbocharged V8 engine.
  • According to Porsche, the Turbo Sport Turismo can hit 60 mph in just 3.6 seconds and reach a top speed of 188 mph.
  • We love the Sport Turismo’s power, poise, luxury, tech, and versatility. However, it’s very pricey.
  • The Porsche Panamera Sport Turismo starts at $US96,200, but our option-laden Turbo test car carried an as-tested price of $US174,730.

The new Porsche Panamera is one of our favourites here at Business Insider.

In fact, the Panamera is so good that it bagged Business Insider’s 2017 Car of the Year Award. The Porsche sedan beat out contenders like the Chevrolet Bolt, the McLaren 720S, and the BMW 5-Series to nab the honour.

We praised the Panamera sedan for its impeccable combination of power, poise, luxury, tech, and style. In short, it’s quite possibly the finest sports sedan in the world.

For 2018, the Panamera is back with a new twist: a wagon.Unveiled ahead of the 2017 Geneva Motor Show, the Panamera Sport Turismo is the first production wagon in Porsche’s illustrious history.

Over the past 30 years, the wagon has fallen out of favour with American consumers. Its place as the family transport of choice was taken by the minivan and then the crossover SUV.

However, a recent infusion of hot new wagons into the market from the likes of Audi, Jaguar, Mercedes-Benz, and Volvo signals a comeback of sorts may be underway.

As for the Panamera Sport Turismo, we decided it was just too intriguing for us to stay away. We had to check it out.

This spring, we had the chance to spend a week behind the wheel of a burgundy red 2018 Porsche Panamera Turbo Sport Turismo. The base 2018 Porsche Panamera starts at $US85,000 while the most affordable Sport Turismo wagon starts at $US96,200. Our 2018 Porsche Panamera Turbo Sport Turismo starts at $US154,000. With the more than $US20,000 in options and fees, our test car came to a grand total of $US174,730.

Here’s a closer look at the hot new Porsche Panamera Turbo Sport Turismo:

The Porsche Panamera Sport Turismo is all-new for 2018.

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It’s based on Porsche’s award-winning, second-generation Panamera sedan that debuted a year earlier.

Hollis Johnson

Oddly enough, this isn’t Porsche’s first wagon. The company built this one-off 928 wagon prototype in 1986. Sadly, it didn’t make it into production.


Aesthetically, the front end of our Panamera Turbo Sport Turismo is virtually identical to the sedan on which it is based.

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But one look at the side profile and you’ll see a fastback roofline that’s considerably less raked than the sedan.

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And the rear end is undeniably a wagon and yet 100% Porsche.

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The 20-inch Panamera Design wheels look pretty spiffy.

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Inside, our Turbo test car was decked out in soft Luxor Beige and black leather with wood and metallic accents. The heated, vented, and massaging front seats were comfortable and well-bolstered.

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Interior material quality and details were truly impressive. Observe the machined climate control toggles.

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Instead of buttons, the most of the Panamera’s features can be controlled using a center console-mounted touch panel. It’s one of the few times where a touch panel has been successfully executed in a production car. Well done, Porsche.

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The front end of the Sport Turismo’s cabin carries over from the sedan.

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As in all Porsches, a large analogue tachometer sits front and center in front of the driver. It’s flanked by a pair of seven-inch configurable TFT displays that can be styled to mimic analogue gauges.

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There’s also a bevy of electronic goodies here to assist the driver including Porsche InnoDrive with adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist, lane change assist. The Panamera is also equipped with Park Assist which features a pair front and rear-facing cameras with proximity warning.

The center stack is dominated by a massive 12-inch touchscreen infotainment display.

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The Panamera is equipped with the most advanced version of the company’s Porsche Communication Management infotainment system to date. PCM is packed with features including everything from navigation to electronic air vent controls. It can also offer up weather reports, local news, available parking, and airport flight delays. PCM is also Apple CarPlay compatible.

Overall, we were impressed by PCM. It’s well organised, quick to respond, and is packed with features. However, our only complaint with PCM, and one of our few complaints with the entire car, is that the infotainment system is trying to do too much.

It’s trying to deliver a whole lot of content in a relatively small amount of real estate. And no matter how well organised the menu may be, there’s way too much going on. For instance, as cool as the electronic vent controls may be, what’s wrong with just having the manual ones that don’t require the driver to access a sub-menu in the infotainment system? Nothing.

For the first time, Panamera has room for five. However, it’s more like four adults and one child. The middle seat in the back looks like a tight fit.

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Open up the electrically operated rear hatch and …

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… you’ll find 18.3 cubic feet of cargo space behind the second row of seats. Fold down the second row, and the cargo room expands to 49 cubic feet. It isn’t exactly going to challenge big SUVs for cargo-hauling capacity, but it’s pretty darn impressive for a twin-turbocharged Porsche.

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Speaking of performance, our Turbo test car is powered by a 550 horsepower, 4.0 litre, twin-turbocharged V8 driving all four wheels through a lightning-fast eight-speed PDK twin-clutch transmission. The engine is shared with the Panamera Turbo sedan.

Hollis Johnson

The Panamera Sport Turismo can also be had with a 330-horsepower, 3.0-litre, turbocharged V6 and a 440-horsepower, twin-turbocharged, 2.9-litre V6. There’s also a pair of hybrid drivetrains, one with 462 horsepower and the other with a whopping 680 ponies.

According to Porsche, our Panamera Turbo Sport Turismo can do 60 mph in just 3.6 seconds and reach a top speed of 188 mph. That’s down from the 190 mph top speed of the Panamera Turbo sedan.

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So, what’s it like to drive?

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The Panamera Turbo Sport Turismo delivered a driving experience virtually identical to its sedan sibling. And that’s a good thing because the Panamera Turbo sedans we’ve driven have been nothing short of stellar.

First, the twin-turbo V8 is an absolute beast. The engine, transmission, and all-wheel-drive system team up to deliver effortless power all day every day. And there’s no turbo lag to speak of which means power delivery is immediate. Even though it’s all-wheel-drive, you can feel the rear-biased system hunting for traction under hard acceleration. It’s a car itching to go fast. And whether you like it or not, you’ll be hard pressed to keep it under the speed limit. You’ll be shocked how fast 60 mph comes and goes. Porsche say it happens in 3.6 seconds. It feels quicker.

In the twisty bits, the Panamera’s wonderfully balanced chassis, adaptive air suspension, and active aero help give the 4,486-pound wagon a wonderfully docile demeanour. There’s a ridiculous amount of grip that allows you dive into corners with confidence.

It should be noted that my colleague Matt DeBord once again felt underwhelmed by the Panamera Turbo. Unfortunately, it didn’t quite deliver the four-door Porsche 911 driving experience for which he was hoping.

The verdict.

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The Porsche Panamera Turbo Sport Turismo is one hot wagon. It’s the closest thing to a purebred, twin-turbocharged Porsche sports car with room for the whole family and their stuff.

But, it’s also incredibly expensive. There are versions of the Panamera Sport Turismo that is coming perilously close to Aston Martin, Bentley, and Ferrari territory. And the $US70,000 Jaguar XF Sportbrake we recently tested is a whole Porsche 911 cheaper than our Sport Turismo test car.

However, I’m being nitpicky here. The fact is that the Porsche Panamera Sport Turismo is an engineering wonder. It’s the same highly refined, high tech Panamera we fell in love with last year. Now, it will carry more stuff.

In my review of the Porsche Panamera Turbo sedan, I wrote:

“Porsche has created the finest sports sedan in the world. It’s certainly not cheap, but boy is it good. If you are one of the blessed few who can afford a new Porsche Panamera, don’t think, just do it. Your life will be better for it.”

Ditto for the wagon.

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