2021 Porsche Panamera Turbo S First Test Review: Hide Your Corvette

porsche panamera Full Overview


  • Very fast
  • Fantastic handling
  • Quite comfortable

There are times when a buyer looking for a fast, roomy, and luxurious car needs three separate vehicles: a fast one, a luxury one, and a roomy one. Like, say, the Porsche 911, Mercedes-Benz S-Class, and Subaru Outback. Somewhere along the way, automakers found a way to combine all of the above in one mind-controlling package, and the new Porsche Panamera Turbo S is one of the best vehicles ever.

Meet the New Panamera Turbo S

Our Porsche Panamera Turbo S test car sports a familiar face but is part of the updated Panamera lineup for 2021 (and worth mentioning, is functionally identical to the 2022 Panamera Turbo S). You can get a full rundown of the changes Porsche is making to the 2021 Panamera in our First Drive, but here’s the CliffsNotes version: Panamera customers want a car that sits between the 550-hp Panamera Turbo and the (now) 690-hp Panamera Turbo S Plug-in. -Hybrids. So Porsche dropped the Panamera Turbo and brought back the Panamera Turbo S. It uses a 4.0-liter twin-turbo V-8 engine that produces 620 hp and 604 lb-ft of torque. All that power is channeled through a Porsche eight-speed dual-clutch PDK automatic transmission and to a torque-vector all-wheel drive system. Other standard features include slightly revised styling, four-wheel steering, electronic adaptive air suspension, 48-volt active anti-roll bar, and large carbon-ceramic brakes.

How Fast Is That?

The end result is that the Porsche Panamera Turbo S is one of the fastest four-door cars we’ve tested, and among the newer petrol-powered vehicles that are faster on the road. Aided by launch control, it sprints from 0-60 mph in just 2.6 seconds and cruises through the quarter mile in 10.9 seconds at 126.0 mph. It is much faster than its direct gas-powered competitor; The Mercedes-AMG GT63 4-Door, for example, hits 60 mph in 3.2 seconds and sprints through the quarter in 11.6 seconds at 118.3 mph. We haven’t tested the four-door BMW M8 Competition Gran Coupe, but we have tested the lighter and slimmer two-door coupe. It’s still slower than the Porsche, taking 3.3 seconds to hit 60 mph and 11.4 seconds to cross the quarter mile at 124.6 mph.

The 2021 Porsche Panamera Turbo S can dance too. It slid around our figure eight in just 22.9 seconds on a 0.90-g average, and stopped from 60 mph in just 100 feet. It’s not only better than its rivals AMG or BMW, but as a point of comparison, it best matches or even matches the performance-specific two-doors like the Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 (24.1 seconds at 0.85 g around the figure eight, and 60- 0 mph in 100 feet) or our long-range Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Z51 (23.4 seconds at 0.86 g in the figure eight, and a 99-foot 60-0 mph stop).

Real World, Real Road

The 2021 Porsche Panamera Turbo S is just as good in the real world as it is on the test track. Big executive sedans aren’t the first thing that comes to mind when we think “driver’s car,” but there’s something special about this Panamera Turbo S. Sure, it looks big and majestic by the roadside—like a four-door 911—but once you step into its spacious, well-appointed cabin and start driving, it shrinks around you. Driving is minuscule, spinning right around your hips like a good sports car, the four-wheel steering system and torque vectoring work hand in hand to make the massive 4,694 pound car turn and around the corner. While the Panamera can feel a bit wide on narrow roads which is better utilized by smaller sports cars, it still feels light, direct, and quick to change direction. The Panamera’s steering likely has something to do with this, as the feel and feedback of the 7/8 helmet is light, linear and perfectly weighted.

The Porsche powertrain is also great. While it may not be quite as characterful as the Hellcat or Voodoo V-8 (or even the naturally-aspirated Porsche GT-spec flat-six), it’s a great high-performance engine. Its wide torque curve is impressive; it makes a lot of linear low-end grunt, and you’re rewarded for staying on throttle with warp-like spikes in speed after the twin turbos spin north of 1,500 rpm. At this point we’re tired of looking for new ways to say good things about Porsche’s PDK transmission, but credit where credit is due for continuing to be the best (if not the best). that best) dual-clutch transmission in the biz. Shifts are blazing fast, always in the right gear before you feel you need it, and it doesn’t stutter at low speeds in town like the lesser system.

I’m sold. How much does it cost?

Even going to charity and assuming the 2021 Porsche Panamera Turbo S will replace the three cars, it’s undeniably an expensive proposition. Our test car starts at $179,050, and goes on to come well-equipped, decal for $201,200. Prices are slightly increased for the 2022 Panamera Turbo S; the base price is now $181,150, and a car equipped with equivalent equipment will cost $201,200.

It’s expensive stuff, but the new Porsche Panamera Turbo S is a unique experience among big four-door luxury cars—and even among smaller ones. Simply put, only the latest and greatest super sports cars have any hope of beating this big, comfortable and luxurious four-door on the track or on the good back roads. If you look at it in that context, you might even call it a bargain.

Looks good! More information?

Specifications of Porsche Panamera Turbo S 2021
BASIC PRICE $179,050
VEHICLE Layout Front engine, AWD, 4-pass, 4-door hatchback
MACHINE 4.0L Twin-turbo direct injection DOHC 32-valve 90 degree V-8
STRENGTH (SAE NET) 620 hp @ 6,000 rpm
TORQUE (SAE NET) 604 lb-ft @ 2,300 rpm
TRANSMISSION 8-speed dual-clutch automatic
ROAD WEIGHT (F/R REACH) 4,694 pounds (53/47%)
WHEELBASE 116.1 inches
Length x width x height 198.8 x 78.2 x 56.2 inches
0-60 MPH 2.6 seconds
QUARTER MILE 10.9 seconds @ 126.0 mph
REM, 60-0 MPH 100 feet
MT PICTURE EIGHT 22.9 sec @ 0.90 g (average)
EPA RANGE, COMB 403 miles

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