TL;DR The German car brand’s first-ever station wagon checks all our boxes and drives like a true winner
The Porsche Panamera Sport Turismo is a station wagon. Just let that sink in for a moment. Three decades ago, even thinking about Zuffenhausen making an estate would be grounds for the Porsche Inquisition to come drag you away to be burned at the stake.
But we now live in a world where the Cayenne SUV is now in its third generation, and it even spawned a Cayenne Junior (namely, the Macan). So, objections weren’t too violent when the Sport Turismo concept car was unveiled at the 2012 Paris Motor Show.
Mainly because of the aforementioned reason, but mostly because it looked amazing. None of the awkward bulbousness that plagued the Panamera of the day, but still unmistakably a Porsche. And a practical Porsche at that.
The production version that’s just landed on Singapore shores some six years after the concept car made it debut retains much of the same elegance. In fact, it’s virtually indistinguishable from the concept. Not a bad thing, since I’m a big fan of the concept car.
So much so that I think the Porsche Panamera Sport Turismo looks even better than the regular Panamera. The Porsche Panamera Sport Turismo’s slightly longer, less rakish roofline, more upright D-pillars and blockier rump gives it a design coherence that proves that Porsche can make a good-looking ‘four-door 911’.
Interestingly enough, both Panamera bodystyles share identical wheelbase and rear overhang measurements. It’s amazing to think how much a 5mm overall height difference, marginally larger rear doors and a new tailgate can grant so much distinctiveness to the Porsche Panamera Sport Turismo’s visual personality.
What hasn’t changed over the Panamera is the way the Porsche Panamera Sport Turismo drives. That is to say, with deceptive agility in spite of its size. This is a car that’s over 5m long, nearly 2m wide and weighs close to 1.9 tonnes.
These aren’t dimensions that you ever really notice in the Porsche Panamera Sport Turismo, except perhaps when parking it, or negotiating narrow multi-storey carparks. Then you will know true terror as you realise how close those 20-inch two-tone wheels (optional of course, as is the Porsche way unless you get the range-topping Turbo where 19-inch wheels are standard) are to being irreparably scuffed on a high kerb.
The Porsche Panamera Sport Turismo, like the Panamera, handles less like a wagon and more like a GT. Like the best cars of its ilk, the Porsche Panamera Sport Turismo’s suspension has the uncanny ability to filter out road patter, yet it handles corners like a champ.
Unlike a GT, however, the Porsche Panamera Sport Turismo can cart around cargo. Boot space is 520 litres, 25 litres more than the Panamera. Unlike the non-wagon version, the Porsche Panamera Sport Turismo features a central seat in the rear bench.
That said, calling the above a full fledged seat would be charitable, as the occupant is effectively straddling the centre tunnel. Space in the other two seats, however, is more than adequate, with great legroom.
Just to give you an idea of how broad the Porsche Panamera Sport Turismo’s remit is, one served as a pace car during a recent trip to Sepang to drive the new, third-generation Cayenne SUV . Granted, that was the fire-breathing, top-of-the-line 500+bhp Turbo model.
What I drove was the considerably less grunty entry-level Sport Turismo 4 (only all-wheel-drive variants are available), with 330bhp/450Nm from its 3-litre V6. Now, on paper, this sounds positively anaemic, because in addition to living in an era where Porsche maintains a pair of SUVs in its lineup, even hot hatchbacks have outputs knocking on 400bhp’s door.
But Porsche Panamera Sport Turismo’s 5.3 seconds century sprint time feels far quicker than that, a factor of its meaty, low-end torque and absolutely brilliant 8-speed dual-clutch gearbox.
And it speaks volumes about the Porsche Panamera Sport Turismo’s that I’m struggling to find something negative to say about it. It checks every box that you’d care to name, and not only does it perform adequately, it excels in every category.