Porsche Panamera Turbo Sport Turismo review, the German sport wagon

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Porsche Panamera Turbo Sport Turismo review, the German sport wagon

We all love fast wagons. Their combination of practicality and performance scratches an itch for most of us here at Autoblog. What other vehicle on the market can carry a family of four along with all their luggage and still hit 60 mph in fewer than four seconds and a top speed close to 200 mph? These are supercars wrapped in a family-friendly package.

The 2018 Panamera Turbo Sport Turismo is a particularly bonkers wagon. It’s powered by a twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V8 and sends power to all four wheels through Porsche’s first eight-speed dual-clutch transmission. Standard equipment includes adaptive air suspension, LED lighting, 14-way power adjustable seats, a Bose audio system, a panoramic moonroof and a digital instrument cluster with a center-mounted analog tachometer.

Our test car is loaded up with about $15,000 worth of extra goodies. The car has rear-wheel steering, Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control and the Sport Chrono package. For comfort and convenience, this Panamera is equipped with ventilated seats, rear-seat window blinds, soft-close doors and a heated steering wheel. It’s not cheap by any stretch, but a non-turbo Sport Turismo can be had for $50,000 less.

Senior Editor, Green John Beltz Snyder: It’s a wagon, but it is undeniably a Porsche. Sure, it’s not as engaging as a 911, but it has the look, feel and sound of German performance as it goes down the road. You put your foot to the floor, and this thing roars to life. Shifts come quickly, whether the car is left to its own devices or if you take matters into your own hands with the solid-feeling paddle shifters on the back of the wheel. One cool feature is the little button in the center of the drive mode dial. Press it, and you’ve got 20 seconds of “Sport Response” where the car holds higher revs and is ready to speed past slowpokes on the highway before automatically reverting back to a more relaxed driving style.

The interior is a little more refined than that of the past few Porsches I’ve driven. Controls are a lot more digitized, and there aren’t loads of dead buttons all over the center console to drive me insane. While you still get a bit of that great exhaust sound, it’s a lot quieter; you might not hear it over your podcast. The ride is smooth, too. Even with the suspension in Sport+ mode, it’s still a cozy, refined experience inside the car.

Associate Editor Reese Counts: This is a big car. Really big. Porsche has done a wonderful job of making it shrink around you in the same way Mercedes-Benz does with the S-Class or the BMW with the 7 Series, but it’s still an imposing machine. That said, I don’t mind the size. There’s something about a big, comfortable car with the heart of a lion that appeals to some basic instinct within me. All I want to do is mash the right pedal and make vroom-vroom noises with the big V8.

The Panamera Turbo Sport Turismo is wonderful from behind the wheel. The steering is sharp and precise, the ride is firm but compliant, and the engine and transmission work with perfect accuracy. Like John said, left to its own devices the eight-speed PDK seems to know what gear you want or need to be in before you do. It’s damn quick, too. There’s little drama when you mash the gas. It just goes and goes and goes. Once it’s done, it demands that you dip into the throttle again.

The biggest bummer for me with the car is the exterior design. I quite enjoy the interior — it’s clean and uses a lot of nice materials — but the exterior doesn’t quite do it for me. It’s like Porsche took the 911 and tried to stretch and bend it into the shape of a wagon. It’ doesn’t quite work. I wish Porsche would stop making everything look like a 911. Look at classic models like the 928, 944 or 914. Bring in some variety. That said, I still love it.

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