All naturally-aspirated goodness with the 4.8L V8-powered 2013 Porsche Panamera GTS

Porsche AG is revered for its corporate quest to produce some of the most exciting performance automobiles the world has ever known, and with its latest Panamera, the GTS, enthusiast drivers will be more willing take a hard look at the company’s innovative sedan.

Also see: Our Panamera Reviews

Under the Hood

The Panamera GTS features a potent 4.8-litre V-8 under its long hood. This marvel of engineering puts out a healthy 430-horsepower and 384 lb.-ft. of torque – enough power to haul the red rocket from 0-100 km/h in a mere 4.5 seconds! The GTS comes fitted with Porsche’s phenomenal seven-speed PDK transmission and the engine is more than comfortable to let you explore its wide power band (its redline is way up the dial at 7,100 rpm) as you shift through the gears.

Performance and Handling

Placing a heavy foot on the gas pedal will produce a very linear throttle response, and gravitational forces will push you back in your seat as you flick through the gears using the column mounted paddles. The exhaust note is both arousing and addictive, so you might find yourself blowing off work duties, meetings, and other responsibilities in an effort to spend more time behind the wheel of this firecracker.

The same all-wheel-drive system that is found in its 4S and Turbo sisters is on board to bless the GTS with optimal levels of traction whatever the road surface or weather conditions. This proven platform features a clever torque vectoring system (designed to direct power to the wheel appropriate for trajectory and traction) and an electronically locking rear differential.

The GTS has been tweaked to deliver the enthusiast buyer a driving experience akin to that offered by the benchmark 911, and I must admit that this recipe feels on par with the much smaller sports machine in many departments. The car relishes the curves, tracks straight and true, and body roll is minimal. Much of this road-holding magic can be attributed to Porsche’s Active Suspension Management (PASM) system, but buyer’s can also opt for the optional Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control (PDCC) which allows the driver to finely tune the suspension and sway bars to best suit the driving conditions and mischievous intentions of car and driver alike. When operating the car in Sport (or Sport Plus) mode the engine mapping and gearbox become optimized for high-performance rather than fuel efficiency.

…the GTS possesses a lot of curb appeal with its sumptuous bright red paint and slightly lower stance.

Prodigious torque seems to be on tap at all times so acceleration is near instantaneous. This inspires confidence in the driver as he or she know that power will be delivered in the blink of an eye should they need to execute a passing manoeuvre or put the power down to get out of trouble.

The same big, beefy brakes that rein in the  Panamera Turbo are fitted to the GTS, and they react with a level of precision that will taint your view of other systems for years to come.

As a daily driver the Panamera GTS is comfortable and easy to live with. When left to operate on its own accord the PDK transmission works effectively to make gear selections that will optimize fuel efficiency which will save you some money at the pump. In a further bid to improve fuel efficiency and reduce unwanted emissions Porsche engineers have fitted the Panamera GTS with an auto start/stop function as standard equipment. The system will automatically switch the engine off when you pull to a stop, but will restart the engine as soon as you release the brakes.

Exterior Styling

The Panamera’s exterior styling is controversial due to its very unique hatchback design, but the GTS possesses a lot of curb appeal with its sumptuous bright red paint and slightly lower stance. The car sits atop huge alloy wheels that are cloaked in a glossy black finish which adds a sporty flare and a hint of aggression to the mix. Black highlights are also used for various external trim pieces, vents, grilles, headlight surrounds, tailpipes, and the rear spoiler.

Interior Impressions

The Panamera provides very luxurious seating for four adults, and all seating positions have been  designed for spirited driving as well as comfort. The two rear seats mimic the fronts, which gives the passenger cabin an even more exclusive look. The unique GTS leather treatment features grippy Alcantara surfaces throughout as well as embroidered “GTS” logos in the headrests and high-contrast red stitching. Carbon fibre and bright alloy trim pieces accentuate the sport theme carried throughout the car, as do the bold red seatbelts.

The arrival of the Panamera brought Porsche a thoroughly modern interior design layout that has now trickled throughout the company’s fleet of models. The wide center console is home to a seemingly endless array of controls and buttons, but you will be amazed at how quickly their placement and various functions become intuitive to use. The car’s shifter features a comfy grip, and manual shifting can be executed via the side shift gate or by using the paddle controls.

The unique GTS leather treatment features grippy Alcantara surfaces throughout…

A Bose engineered premium audio system was on board to tickle the ears, and the company’s latest navigation system worked very well. The center armrest features a 12-volt power port as well as an auxiliary input as well as a USB port for connecting portable electronic devices.

All the gauges and the majority of the controls are within easy reach of both hand and eye from the driver’s position. The GTS comes standard with the Sport Chrono Package which places a stylish lap timer in a perforated recess at the center of the dash.

Porsche’s three-mode, adaptive air suspension is on board as standard equipment which gives users the ability to raise the car at the touch of a button if you find the need to clear snow or shallow road debris, or conversely, to lower the car to allow for more efficient ingress or egress.

There is plenty of cargo room in a Porsche Panamera as the rear seatbacks fold forward to extend the size of the cargo area to a very respectable 1,263 litres. You should have little problem squeezing four sets of golf clubs into the hold with the seats in place, as long as you remove the cargo screen. I must admit however, that I was surprised that there is only a single glove box, but there are various bins and cubbies spread throughout the cabin.

Takeaway

The Panamera GTS has been designed with a focus on performance, but without the complication and extra expense associated with its turbo-charged big sisters, the Panamera Turbo and Turbo S. The resulting package is nimble, stylish, and blisteringly quick. If anything, the Panamera GTS may just be the model that helps the Panamera line finally earn the respect it deserves.

Learn more – Porsche Panamera GTS

CONS:

  • Hatchback design still considered ugly by some
  • Flashy red paint attracts the eye of radar-gun wielding police officers
  • This car will make you late for work, guaranteed

Technical Specifications: 2013Porsche Panamera GTS

Base Price (MSRP): $126,700 CAD

Type: 5-door, 4-passenger luxury sedan.

Layout: Front-engine, all-wheel-drive

Engine: 4.8-litre V-8

Horsepower: 430 @ 6,700 rpm

Torque (lb-ft): 384 @ 3,500 rpm

Transmission: 7-Speed PDK automatic

Brakes: Disc/disc

Top speed: 288 km/h

Acceleration (0-100 km/h): 4.5 s

Fuel economy [L/100 km]: City 13.3 L (21.2 mpg); Hwy  8.5 L (33.2 mpg)

2013 Porsche Panamera GTS Gallery:

Russell Purcell is an award-winning automotive journalist and photographer based in Vancouver, B.C. His passion for automobiles was sparked at the tender age of six, when a family friend gave the wide-eyed first grader a ride to school in a track prepared Porsche 911 RSR. He continues to fan the flames by building an impressive library of automotive related books as well as a vast collection of interesting automobilia and motoring artefacts. Russell is a member of the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada, and is active on Twitter as RoadTestRuss.