by | May 2, 2021 | Motor, Cars

The summer of 2021 could be referred to as “The Summer of Boredom.” Amidst rising restrictions and declining entertainment options, the thrill of open roads continues to beckon people. Enter the new Porsche Panamera GTS luxury car.

Related: Coming soon: The 2022 Porsche 911 GT3, an electrifying, non-electric luxury sports cars driving experience

According to Marc Ouayoun, President & CEO of Porsche Canada, Porsche has seen record first quarter sales increases – up over 84 percent compared to last year. So when Porsche offered me a chance to test out the Panamera GTS, I jumped with both feet.

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The vehicle can best be described by co-opting the Nissan Maxima’s slogan as “The Four Door Sports Car.” There is a question mark hovering over just how sporty the Maxima is, but the Panamera leaves no doubt. The 473 horses from a twin-turbo V8 under the hood allow for deft transport around town; rapid acceleration from 0-60 in 3.9 seconds will also bring a smile to your face.

With a top speed of 300 km/h, one needs to track the Panamera GTS to fully appreciate the vehicle.

Canada’s best luxury website: Face-lift for Porsche Panamera

“The GTS model has historically been one of the most popular in our individual lineups, including for Panamera,” says Ouayoun.

Although face lifted for 2021, the overall shape of the vehicle has not changed dramatically since its introduction in 2009. According to Ouayoun, the goal was to offer more power, connectivity, and a sharper visual presence. My car did look stunning, as it came in Carmine Red, a $3730 option.

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Some say beauty is internal; in this case, the interior was immaculate. An 18-way adaptive sports seat perfectly positions you upon Alcantara leather with fine stitching and the luxury feel associated with Porsche.

Interior oasis

As I sorted my way through the stop-and-go gridlock of the GTA, it was a good time to make use of the Panamera’s BOSE surround sound system to blast my favorite hits from the 80s and 90s. The 4-Zone climate control means that passengers can each select their own temperature – so if your partner never has to be too hot while you’re too cold.

All of this looks good on paper, but of course, the true measure of the badge is the number of heads you can turn when you’re out on the street.

Click on image to enlarge and view gallery

The Panamera GTS succeeds in catching interest wherever it goes: from young people hooning their WRX and Mustangs on the street to suburban neighbors on their patios. People will literally come out of their houses just to admire this car. Chalk this up to Porsche’s high-echelon brand dominance and sheer pandemic curiosity.

It builds a unique sense of both competition and community with people simply by existing.

Plenty of storage space

The Panamera GTS is not a 911 by design. It has much more utility and versatility as a fast luxury sedan in the same segment as a Mercedes Benz S-Class. The vehicle boasts 18 cubic feet of storage – 50 with the rear seats folded down. That means you can daily the Panamera on ski trips, to the cottage and your daughter’s cello recitals. The various cameras and sensors assist with parking the vehicle. While you can feel the roughly 2000 kilo curb weight of the car in corners, it’s a blast coming off the line.

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There are several driving modes, including Normal, Sport, Sport+ and custom settings. The sportier you go, the suspension, engine mounts and exhaust valves adjust to increase performance. The 8-speed Porsche Doppelkupplung (PDK) transmission shifts seamlessly and always has the vehicle in the right gear. There are paddle shifters on the steering wheel, but the automatic transmission is faster and more pragmatic for the city.

Charisma factor

When it comes to the total impression of the car, I would break it down to performance, reliability and impact. All of the Panamera GTS’s features and specs check the performance box. Reliability here is backed by both a four-year/80,000 km warranty – and positive experiences by previous Panamera owners. That final intangible is the effect a vehicle makes when you drive it around.

This is the Panamera’s biggest strength: People stop and take notice of it. Even someone who doesn’t know very much about cars is going to have a very favorable impression of the Porsche Panamera GTS. That’s why Porsche put so much effort into the small details.

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Going forward, Porsche has made a strong commitment to embracing the electric future by planning to offer electrification on half of its vehicle lineup by 2025 and 80 percent by 2030. The Panamera has come in hybrid version for about ten years; the Taycan is making a splash, with the Taycan Cross Turismo arriving in the fall; there are also plans to introduce a fully-electric version of the Macan.

As for the Porsche Panamera, it is a car that will match favorably with drivers. It needs to be experienced to be understood. However, it can be appreciated by all.

MSRP of car tested: $177,050
Starting at $99,300

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