Rss Feed
Tweeter button
Facebook button

First Drive: 2018 Porsche Panamera Turbo Sport Turismo

COWICHAN, British Columbia – Aside from the occasional cringe-worthy swath of denuded forest, the interior of Vancouver Island is a scantily populated oasis of towering pine, rugged stone, and narrow meandering roads perfect for a leisurely Sunday drive. They’re less than ideal, however, for rather large German luxury cars.  The patchwork surface is cracked and pockmarked and the occasional wince-inducing thump was inevitable when 21-inch low-profile sport Michelin meets the bottom of a pothole.  To its credit, the active air suspension system on the Porsche we’re driving does an admirable job of absorbing a surface better suited to the camper vans and 4x4s we pass along the route.

Cruising through the small towns, we receive several thumbs up from the locals  – but surprisingly, didn’t rate so much as a second glance from the other Porsche drivers we encountered. Curious, because this car, the new Panamera Sport Turismo, was a sensation at its Paris Motor Show debut as a concept five years ago. 

The Panamera certainly has its detractors – and the criticism isn’t entirely unfounded. While most of it came from hard-core sports car enthusiasts appalled at the soiling of their beloved brand by a heavy four-door with a wrongly situated power plant, the original car’s rather ungainly design earned its fair share of barbs from public and motoring press alike.

The Sport Turismo’s estate wagon configuration completely alleviates the sedan’s biggest flaw – the awkward roofline.  The most elegant of the Panamera lineup, the Sport Turismo is identical to the sedan from the B-pillar forward. But instead of ending in a curvaceous bulge, the roofline continues to a  tidy squared-off tailgate with a jaunty three-position spoiler, which automatically adjusts depending on downforce requirements.

From the driver’s seat, the cabin is indistinguishable from the standard Panamera, but the rear has been reworked to make what Porsche calls “4+1” seating.  Fortunately, they hadn’t the audacity to call it a five-seater, as  they basically just replaced the bisecting rear console with a narrow seating space fit only for a child or very small adult.  More importantly, the raised roofline and wider hatch with lower loading height creates a more useable luggage compartment. At 520 litres (425L for the E-Hybrid), the Sport Turismo’s trunk space is 20L larger than the sedan. Drop the 40/20/40 rear seats and that increases to 1,390L (1,295 for the hybrid).  Length and wheelbase remain the same as the sedan, but curb weight increases by 30 kilograms.

Like the sedan, the Turismo’s cockpit is bisected, private jet-like, by a bank of switchgear. However, the swath of hard buttons has been replaced by a sleek, modern touch surface. A clean, uncluttered design, like most of its ilk, this sort of interface can be overly sensitive, and marks easily with fingerprints. The familiar aluminum gear selector has been replaced with one that’s a little too similar in both style and function to BMW’s universally loathed auto shifter. It’s confusing to operate and we spend far too much time at each waypoint trying to figure out how to put it in park.  

The “Advanced Cockpit” features two 7-inch displays , and a 12.3″ screen embedded in the centre console. On-board safety features include Night Vision, and “InnoDrive” adaptive cruise control using navigation data to calculate optimum speed, braking and shift patterns three kilometres in advance.


First Drive: 2017 Porsche PanameraFirst Drive: 2017 Porsche Panamera


As with the sedan, there are four models available to us (European markets also receive a diesel): Panamera 4 Sport Tursimo with 330 hp Turbo V6,  4 E-Hybrid Sport deriving a combined 462hp from an electric motor and biturbo V6, 4S Sport Sport Turismo with 440 hp biturbo V6 and the Turbo Sport Turismo with a biturbo V8 that delivers 550 hp.  All come with the eight-speed PDK transmission and standard four-wheel drive.

Entry Sport Turismo comes standard with steel suspension, and upper models get Porsche Active Suspension Management System (PASM) which continuously adapts each individual wheel according to road surface. A three-chamber air spring provides a range of flexibility depending on which drive mode is selected – choose “Sport Plus” and it’s nearly track-day firm.  The air suspension can also raise the chassis 20 mm for clearance, or lower it at speed 28 mm in front and 20mm behind to improve dynamics. Rear axle steering adds 2.8 degrees of angle adjustment to the rear wheels: turning opposite to the fronts at low speeds to reduce turning circles, and in the same direction as the front wheels over 50km/hr to enhance stability and cornering ability.  Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control adds a an electronically controlled rear differential lock  for more traction while accelerating out of turns, and brake-generated torque vectoring (PTV)for more agile turn in.

Behind the wheel of the Turbo Sport Turismo, it’s easy to forget you’re driving a 2,035 kg station wagon. With 550hp and 536 lb ft of torque, it’s a silken rocket ship. The PDK transmission responds in milliseconds, although hammering the throttle can induce a moment’s hesitation in downshift. Supple and pliant in normal mode, the Turbo Sport Turismo drives like a much smaller car. Switch to Sport Mode and the ride becomes a bit more punishing, but that’s mostly due to the enormous wheels and low profile tires on a really questionable road surface.  Steering is linear and communicative and the wheel has just the right heft. Push the Turbo Sport hard, and it does an admirable job emulating a performance car, but it’s happiest as a grand tourer with stonking great gobs of power on reserve.

The Panamera Sport Turismo will arrive in Canada late 2017.  Pricing starts at $109,700 for the Panamera 4 Sport Turismo, $118,600 for the 4 E-Hybrid Sport Turismo, $124,500 for the 4S Sport Turismo, and $175,600 for the Turbo Sport Turismo. 

Article source: http://driving.ca/porsche/panamera/reviews/road-test/first-drive-2018-porsche-panamera-turbo-sport-turismo

2017 Porsche Panamera Turbo review, test drive

Five metres, two tonnes and four doors shouldn’t corner, but it does! Just like the bumblebee that shouldn’t fly, the Panamera corners like a pro. And this second-generation car does so while looking great too; something the previous one didn’t quite manage to pull off. Its styling wasn’t appreciated and the bulbous, wagon-like rear was widely panned.

But that wasn’t the only criticism. Despite the Cayenne paving the way for a four-door Porsche, purists drew their daggers at the first-generation Panamera’s unveil – what was a Porsche sportscar doing with four doors, four seats and an engine up front? After all, didn’t this thoroughbred sportscar company cancel its own four-door 989 project back in 1992?

But while the purists protested, customers lapped it up and Porsche claimed that sales surpassed its expectations. Since its launch in 2009, the company sold over 1,50,000 Panameras. Seven years after the first model, Porsche unveiled an all-new Panamera. The styling was stealthier, and the profile and rear section looked more 911. The initial reaction was one of immediate appreciation, not quite what the first car enjoyed. The world was warming up to the Panamera, and it’s now here to charm Indian audiences.

Thunder Struck
For our drive, we decide to head out of Mumbai onto the fast, straight highway to Gujarat, but there’s a light drizzle and grey monsoon clouds ominously loom ahead. This would make a great picture, but will it dampen our drive? The Panamera, though, has no such doubt. It just roars onward, secure in the abilities of the Porsche Traction Management’s all-wheel drive and variable torque distribution.

I switch to ‘Sport Plus’ and the exhausts burble, clearing their throat in anticipation of a stellar audio performance. And the 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 comes to life, but it isn’t as wild or loud as many would like. It’s like the car is shying away from the guttural German tone; pity! Velocity build-up, however, is warp quick, and the car despatches straights in one mad headrush. Our testing showed the 550hp V8 pushing the car to 100kph in just 3.58sec. 20-80kph in 3rd is achieved in an equally stunning 2.51sec. Of course, the V8 does have a saner side; it features cylinder deactivation, which means at light loads it runs on only four cylinders. I can’t really tell when it does – deactivation and reactivation are so smooth, or did I not run at light load at all?

Overtaking on the straights isn’t a worry, you can safely and quickly pick out one, two and even three vehicles in one go. The optional Sport Chrono package gets you Launch Control and direct access to the four driving modes – Normal, Sport, Sport Plus and Individual – via a handy steering-mounted rotary switch. ‘Sport Plus’ calls upon optimal powertrain response and all the complex electronic chassis control systems like the ride-height-adjustable air suspension, the electronic damper control (Porsche Active Suspension Management – PASM), the electromechanical roll stabilisation (Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control Sport – PDCC Sport), and rear-axle steering switch, to a maximum performance setting.

Ever fantasized about nitrous boost in the tuned street racers? Depress the Sport Response button at the centre of the mode dial and you’re rewarded with a manic 20sec burst of maximum performance. When activated, the engine response and gearbox shifts are a lot more dynamic than in Sport Plus.

The Panamera Turbo rides on air springs all around. The ride is comfortable enough and far from bone-jarring, but there is a hard edge to it in all modes (remember, this four-door has sportscar duties too). On uneven roads, this hunkered-down sedan jiggles about. However, the faster you go the better the Panamera feels, and at high speeds, especially in Sport Plus mode, it feels superbly planted. It is unfazed by crests and undulations but is sensitive to the contours of the road; you have to watch out for sharp ruts and potholes, which can use up the limited suspension travel with a sickening thud. The ride height cleverly alters from low, medium to high. Useful in our conditions, you can call upon the ‘High’ setting at any time, and we managed to clear some medium-sized speedbumps without resorting to the sideways crab crawl.

Just Push Play
The command centre is suitably impressive for a Rs 2 crore car. Gone is the vast array of buttons of the earlier Panamera and instead, you’re presented with touch-sensitive surfaces. The centre screen is a large 12.3-inch touch display that is easily one of the best systems around. It’s very intuitive to use, has a load of functions and the haptic touch makes you feel like you are pressing real buttons. It’s good to see that Porsche has refrained from using too many colours, and the largely monochrome display is very tasteful. Also useful is the ability to use two fingers to pinch and expand the navigation display, just like on a smartphone.

The traditional Porsche five-dial display is nestled behind the steering wheel but only the central tachometer is an actual analogue one. It is flanked by two 7.0-inch screens that display the other dials. The screens are customisable for various functions, including a navigation display. Oh, and the front seats have a rather interesting feature – a massage function. I never imagined getting a massage in a Porsche! Never mind, I switch it off. I’ve never liked being poked and prodded; it’s pretty distracting when you’re driving at speeds the Panamera is capable of.

Walk on Water
We reach the ghats and the clouds have opened up, the tarmac is soaked and in places, there are little streams running across the road. But I intend to have fun; I switch to Sport Plus but leave the stability control on. Public roads, torrential rain and two tonnes of metal aren’t a challenge I’m ready for. After taking some time to get acquainted with the car’s handling characteristics, I begin to probe a bit deeper. Corner after corner the Panamera simply amazes, grip levels are fantastic and cornering is astonishingly neutral. No doubt, the Porsche Traction Management system is working hard to keep the Panamera out of the woods and me in a job. Those who have driven this car on a track testify to its cornering prowess and out here in the ghats, I don’t doubt any of the superlatives used to describe it.

After a while, I’m hit by a startling revelation. So good is the new eight-speed PDK (Porsche Doppelkupplung) gearbox that I haven’t reached for the paddles yet. Even in the Audi R8, the Panamera’s relative, I’ve occasionally found myself using the paddles to select the gear I want, but not in the Porsche. You’d probably need them if your name was Mark Webber, but for a lesser mortal like me, the gearbox software did the job.

In what seemed like a few fleeting moments, I cover 10km of ghats and our photographer Kuldeep still needs a few more shots. No complaints, I happily do multiple runs. It really is that effortless and rewarding a car to drive. Besides, the roads are drying up, letting me go even faster. But while the brilliant chassis dynamics melt away the size of the car, the five-metre length and near-two-metre width do demand attention on narrow road sections.

After a few hours, I do the unthinkable; I give away the keys to the Porsche and ask to be chauffeured around. Legroom at the rear is more than enough for my 5ft 8in frame. Headroom too is sufficient but with the smaller windows, tapering sides and massive central tunnel, the overall feeling of space isn’t that of a luxury sedan. You have to bear in mind this car’s alter ego. The large dual sunroofs do help in freeing up some visual space. The seats are individual buckets, power-adjustable for recline and with extendable lower thigh support. Like the ones at the front, they feature the massage function too. The rear centre console has an elegantly styled touchscreen and a few buttons that give you control over the entertainment, climate, navigation and other functions. Like at the front, the centre AC vents are electrically controllable via the touchscreen. While this is one cool party trick, it’s very frustrating to use; simply turning the vent would have been easier and quicker.

Sweet Emotion
We stop for a break and I, along with a dozen or so bystanders, begin to take in the styling. One glance and there is no mistaking this for anything other than a Panamera. But with a 5mm increase in maximum height and a 20mm reduction towards the rear, the new car has a sleeker and sportier profile; it now looks less wagon-like and is more in tune with the car’s sporty nature. Based on Volkswagen’s new MSB modular platform, the car has grown to be 34mm longer, 6mm wider and 5mm taller, with a 30mm wheelbase extension. Interestingly, there is also a long-wheelbase version christened ‘Executive’, and an estate version called ‘Sport Turismo’; yes, you read that right. Porsche sees good demand for such cars and they’re both heading our way soon.

At the front, the hood features a prominent power bulge whose lines now extend deeper into the bumper, and typical of others in the stable, it blends at the sides into strong flares on the fenders. The LED headlights have prominent four-point LED daytime running lamps. Below the lamp units are bar lights that also double as turn signal indicators. At the side, the roofline is more coupé-like and stylistically similar to the 911. The front door has a deep recess that fades out into the pronounced rear wheel arch. Like on the previous car, the front fenders feature cooling air vents. The mighty retractable spoiler is surely the talking point at the rear and its deployment mechanism looks like it was designed by Tony Stark. Below that are the narrow LED rear tail-lights joined together by an LED strip giving an impression of a continuous light unit.

The new Panamera seems all set to eclipse the success of its predecessor. It’s a very striking car that’s well-specced and thoroughly modern. In its time with us, it managed to impress everyone at the office. The athlete levels of dynamism, an engine that seems like it could power a rocket and a brilliant gearbox, all make for a very rewarding drive experience. And to think this is just a four-door with four pretty comfy seats. Sure, there’s no point buying this car if you’d be spending all your time at the rear, but if you’re the generous kind who likes to take your friends and family on thrilling drives, the new Panamera fits to a T.

For our drive, we decide to head out of Mumbai onto the fast, straight highway to Gujarat, but there’s a light drizzle and grey monsoon clouds ominously loom ahead. This would make a great picture, but will it dampen our drive? The Panamera, though, has no such doubt. It just roars onward, secure in the abilities of the Porsche Traction Management’s all-wheel drive and variable torque distribution.

I switch to ‘Sport Plus’ and the exhausts burble, clearing their throat in anticipation of a stellar audio performance. And the 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 comes to life, but it isn’t as wild or loud as many would like. It’s like the car is shying away from the guttural German tone; pity! Velocity build-up, however, is warp quick, and the car despatches straights in one mad headrush. Our testing showed the 550hp V8 pushing the car to 100kph in just 3.58sec. 20-80kph in 3rd is achieved in an equally stunning 2.51sec. Of course, the V8 does have a saner side; it features cylinder deactivation, which means at light loads it runs on only four cylinders. I can’t really tell when it does – deactivation and reactivation are so smooth, or did I not run at light load at all?

Overtaking on the straights isn’t a worry, you can safely and quickly pick out one, two and even three vehicles in one go. The optional Sport Chrono package gets you Launch Control and direct access to the four driving modes – Normal, Sport, Sport Plus and Individual – via a handy steering-mounted rotary switch. ‘Sport Plus’ calls upon optimal powertrain response and all the complex electronic chassis control systems like the ride-height-adjustable air suspension, the electronic damper control (Porsche Active Suspension Management – PASM), the electromechanical roll stabilisation (Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control Sport – PDCC Sport), and rear-axle steering switch, to a maximum performance setting.

Ever fantasized about nitrous boost in the tuned street racers? Depress the Sport Response button at the centre of the mode dial and you’re rewarded with a manic 20sec burst of maximum performance. When activated, the engine response and gearbox shifts are a lot more dynamic than in Sport Plus.

The Panamera Turbo rides on air springs all around. The ride is comfortable enough and far from bone-jarring, but there is a hard edge to it in all modes (remember, this four-door has sportscar duties too). On uneven roads, this hunkered-down sedan jiggles about. However, the faster you go the better the Panamera feels, and at high speeds, especially in Sport Plus mode, it feels superbly planted. It is unfazed by crests and undulations but is sensitive to the contours of the road; you have to watch out for sharp ruts and potholes, which can use up the limited suspension travel with a sickening thud. The ride height cleverly alters from low, medium to high. Useful in our conditions, you can call upon the ‘High’ setting at any time, and we managed to clear some medium-sized speedbumps without resorting to the sideways crab crawl.   

Article source: http://www.autocarindia.com/car-reviews/2017-porsche-panamera-turbo-review-test-drive-405443

2017 Porsche Panamera Turbo Test | Review | Car and Driver

From the August 2017 issue

A Porsche sedan used to seem like a strange idea, and the first one, the Panamera, did indeed look strange. Mixing two incongruent design briefs—911 styling cues and a need for rear-seat head- and legroom—resulted in a four-door hunchback that appeared as if it had been elongated uncomfortably in traction. Each first-generation Panamera we tested drove brilliantly, with enough 911 in the controls to set it apart from its big-sedan competition, but let’s be honest: That thing was hideous.

Cut to the second go-round, wherein the Panamera has a gently sloping roofline that complements the 911-like greenhouse and taillights. The long nose’s headlights are reminiscent of the Boxster/Cayman side of the showroom. Quasimodo is now Prince Charming.

Plus, the sensations that come through the controls are even more sports-car-like. Decisive steering that delivers barely edited information from the tires and a hard brake pedal with stoppers that can halt the Turbo from 70 mph in 153 feet remind us of the 911. What differentiates the dynamics of the Panamera from those of the big sporting sedans sold by Audi, BMW, Maserati, and Mercedes is that Porsche tunes in sharp and raw controls that the others refine out.

But we wouldn’t go so far as to say that the 4593-pound Panamera handles exactly like Stuttgart’s sports cars. Porsche has thumbed its nose at Sir Newton for years, but a front-engine sedan with a 116.1-inch wheelbase and 53.5 percent of its weight over the front wheels will never act like a 911 or a 718. We do get the feeling that Porsche tried valiantly to make that happen, though. Every Panamera Turbo comes with control arms in front and a multilink rear suspension, each corner held up by an electronically controlled three-chamber air spring. Our test car added optional four-wheel steering and 21-inch wheels with 275/35ZR-21 Continental summer tires in front and 315/30ZR-21s in back. For those who really want to chase 911s, there’s the $5000 Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control (PDCC) package, which bundles auto-adjusting electronically actuated anti-roll bars with brake-based torque vectoring and an electronically controlled limited-slip rear differential.

Even without dynamic anti-roll bars and torque vectoring, the Panamera Turbo glides through corners as if guided by an invisible hand. There’s 0.94 g of stick and total stability at the limit. When pushed slightly beyond, the chassis releases with an easy and predictable ooze that avoids surprises. To keep weight in check, the floor, hood, doors, front structure, and body sides are aluminum, but there’s no escaping the car’s size and mass. We admit that we’re holding handling to an unfair standard because of the other cars that wear the Porsche crest. Against its competition, the Panamera is a track god.

It is, however, right and fitting to apply the sports-car standard to the Panamera Turbo’s acceleration. Turbo models get a twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V-8 with 550 horsepower and 567 pound-feet of torque. That power matches the 550 horses of the previous-generation’s 4.8-liter Turbo S model. The 4.0-liter provides crisp throttle response and acts more like a big-­displacement, naturally aspirated V-8 than an engine with two turbochargers. With the sport exhaust, a standalone option for $3490 or part of the $5580 Sport package, the engine purrs a mellow rumble that’s never loud or obnoxious.

While the rest of the class has eight- or nine-speed conventional automatics, Porsche persists with a dual-clutch that adds one gear this year for a total of eight. Shifts are smooth and instant, and the dual-clutch’s big trick, launch control, is also included in the Sport package or $2530 on its own. Spending the money frees the Panamera to do 5000-rpm clutch drops that, thanks to the Turbo’s standard all-wheel drive, will make you gasp and cause anyone in the car to hyperventilate.

In just 3.0 seconds, the Panamera blurs to 60 mph, and the quarter passes in 11.3 seconds at 122 mph. In the 60-mph sprint, this Turbo is an even match for the now-dead 911 GT3 RS and quicker than every Porsche sports car we’ve recently tested with the exception of the 911 Turbos.

Eventually, we satisfied all the prurient needs of the 16-year-old inside us, stopped treating the Panamera like our stepdad’s car, and started driving it the way most neurosurgeons will their $150,000 luxury limo. Turns out it’s a spectacularly sumptuous sedan. Soft leather covers the instrument panel, and our test car came with optional carbon-fiber panels instead of wood. Despite the 21-inch wheels, the ride is compliant, noise levels reach only 65 decibels at 70 mph, and the 14-way front seats fit perfectly, even if they look a bit like Spock’s ears. In the back are two more seats, and despite the plunging roofline, there’s still plenty of headroom and space for the couple you’re driving to dinner. The lightweight aluminum doors do take a slam to close, so maybe you’ll want the $2790 Premium Package Plus that adds soft-closing doors.

The last Panamera had enough buttons to stymie a 747 pilot. The characteristic herringbone arrangement of switches in the old car is gone, with many of those functions moved to the big 12.3-inch touchscreen that also handles audio, navigation, phone, and vehicle settings. As in Porsche’s sports cars, an analog tachometer sits front and center; it’s flanked by two seven-inch screens that display navigation maps, vehicle settings, speed, and other info.

Now that Porsche has well and truly fixed the Panamera’s styling, there’s not much to complain about aside from the price. This car remains at the head of its class in terms of handling and acceleration. Although its window sticker is in line with the Mercedes-AMG S63 and the BMW M760i, it should be noted that this rig costs a lot more than the Audi S8 Plus. But those big sedans always read as sedans; the Panamera Turbo’s attraction lies in its meaningful connection to its brand’s heritage. This is really more of a modern-day 928—a four-seat GT with a V-8 up front and build quality commensurate with the price. Perhaps it’s no coinci­dence then, that in the early ’90s, a 928 cost about $80,000. Adjust that for inflation and you get the Panamera Turbo’s $150,000 base price. Porsche’s internal code for the Panamera is 971, but maybe it ought to subtract a few dozen numerals.

View Photos

View Photos

Porsche’s latest electric car chargers put Tesla to shame

Porsche has revealed its two new electric car charging stations that will mostly recharge its forthcoming Mission E car in just 15 minutes.

The pair of 800-volt chargers installed in Berlin have the power to recharge car batteries at 350kW, giving its vehicle an 80% charge in just a quarter of an hour.

The charging tech, which will come into play when the Mission E launches in 2019, is more than twice as powerful than the current 145kw Tesla Supercharger network.

Porsche is also working with Ford and Daimler to create a network of thousands of 350kW charging stations throughout Europe (via IBTimes).

Tesla, for what it’s worth, has promised to develop a supercharger that makes 350kW look like a “children’s toy”, per Elon Musk.

The Model S rival is expected to arrive with two electric motors, giving it a range of 330 miles and 600 horsepower.

Back in 2015, executive Wolfgang Porsche said: “With Mission E, we are making a clear statement about the future of the brand. Even in a greatly changing motoring world, Porsche will maintain its front-row position with this fascinating sports car.”

Is Tesla positioned to dominate the electric car market going forward? Or will traditional auto makers reel it in as e-cars become ubiquitous? Drop us a line in the comments below.

Article source: http://www.trustedreviews.com/news/porsche-s-latest-electric-car-chargers-put-tesla-to-shame

2017 Porsche Panamera Turbo

From the August 2017 issue

A Porsche sedan used to seem like a strange idea, and the first one, the Panamera, did indeed look strange. Mixing two incongruent design briefs—911 styling cues and a need for rear-seat head- and legroom—resulted in a four-door hunchback that appeared as if it had been elongated uncomfortably in traction. Each first-generation Panamera we tested drove brilliantly, with enough 911 in the controls to set it apart from its big-sedan competition, but let’s be honest: That thing was hideous.

Cut to the second go-round, wherein the Panamera has a gently sloping roofline that complements the 911-like greenhouse and taillights. The long nose’s headlights are reminiscent of the Boxster/Cayman side of the showroom. Quasimodo is now Prince Charming.

Plus, the sensations that come through the controls are even more sports-car-like. Decisive steering that delivers barely edited information from the tires and a hard brake pedal with stoppers that can halt the Turbo from 70 mph in 153 feet remind us of the 911. What differentiates the dynamics of the Panamera from those of the big sporting sedans sold by Audi, BMW, Maserati, and Mercedes is that Porsche tunes in sharp and raw controls that the others refine out.

But we wouldn’t go so far as to say that the 4593-pound Panamera handles exactly like Stuttgart’s sports cars. Porsche has thumbed its nose at Sir Newton for years, but a front-engine sedan with a 116.1-inch wheelbase and 53.5 percent of its weight over the front wheels will never act like a 911 or a 718. We do get the feeling that Porsche tried valiantly to make that happen, though. Every Panamera Turbo comes with control arms in front and a multilink rear suspension, each corner held up by an electronically controlled three-chamber air spring. Our test car added optional four-wheel steering and 21-inch wheels with 275/35ZR-21 Continental summer tires in front and 315/30ZR-21s in back. For those who really want to chase 911s, there’s the $5000 Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control (PDCC) package, which bundles auto-adjusting electronically actuated anti-roll bars with brake-based torque vectoring and an electronically controlled limited-slip rear differential.

Even without dynamic anti-roll bars and torque vectoring, the Panamera Turbo glides through corners as if guided by an invisible hand. There’s 0.94 g of stick and total stability at the limit. When pushed slightly beyond, the chassis releases with an easy and predictable ooze that avoids surprises. To keep weight in check, the floor, hood, doors, front structure, and body sides are aluminum, but there’s no escaping the car’s size and mass. We admit that we’re holding handling to an unfair standard because of the other cars that wear the Porsche crest. Against its competition, the Panamera is a track god.

It is, however, right and fitting to apply the sports-car standard to the Panamera Turbo’s acceleration. Turbo models get a twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V-8 with 550 horsepower and 567 pound-feet of torque. That power matches the 550 horses of the previous-generation’s 4.8-liter Turbo S model. The 4.0-liter provides crisp throttle response and acts more like a big-­displacement, naturally aspirated V-8 than an engine with two turbochargers. With the sport exhaust, a standalone option for $3490 or part of the $5580 Sport package, the engine purrs a mellow rumble that’s never loud or obnoxious.

While the rest of the class has eight- or nine-speed conventional automatics, Porsche persists with a dual-clutch that adds one gear this year for a total of eight. Shifts are smooth and instant, and the dual-clutch’s big trick, launch control, is also included in the Sport package or $2530 on its own. Spending the money frees the Panamera to do 5000-rpm clutch drops that, thanks to the Turbo’s standard all-wheel drive, will make you gasp and cause anyone in the car to hyperventilate.

In just 3.0 seconds, the Panamera blurs to 60 mph, and the quarter passes in 11.3 seconds at 122 mph. In the 60-mph sprint, this Turbo is an even match for the now-dead 911 GT3 RS and quicker than every Porsche sports car we’ve recently tested with the exception of the 911 Turbos.

Eventually, we satisfied all the prurient needs of the 16-year-old inside us, stopped treating the Panamera like our stepdad’s car, and started driving it the way most neurosurgeons will their $150,000 luxury limo. Turns out it’s a spectacularly sumptuous sedan. Soft leather covers the instrument panel, and our test car came with optional carbon-fiber panels instead of wood. Despite the 21-inch wheels, the ride is compliant, noise levels reach only 65 decibels at 70 mph, and the 14-way front seats fit perfectly, even if they look a bit like Spock’s ears. In the back are two more seats, and despite the plunging roofline, there’s still plenty of headroom and space for the couple you’re driving to dinner. The lightweight aluminum doors do take a slam to close, so maybe you’ll want the $2790 Premium Package Plus that adds soft-closing doors.

The last Panamera had enough buttons to stymie a 747 pilot. The characteristic herringbone arrangement of switches in the old car is gone, with many of those functions moved to the big 12.3-inch touchscreen that also handles audio, navigation, phone, and vehicle settings. As in Porsche’s sports cars, an analog tachometer sits front and center; it’s flanked by two seven-inch screens that display navigation maps, vehicle settings, speed, and other info.

Now that Porsche has well and truly fixed the Panamera’s styling, there’s not much to complain about aside from the price. This car remains at the head of its class in terms of handling and acceleration. Although its window sticker is in line with the Mercedes-AMG S63 and the BMW M760i, it should be noted that this rig costs a lot more than the Audi S8 Plus. But those big sedans always read as sedans; the Panamera Turbo’s attraction lies in its meaningful connection to its brand’s heritage. This is really more of a modern-day 928—a four-seat GT with a V-8 up front and build quality commensurate with the price. Perhaps it’s no coinci­dence then, that in the early ’90s, a 928 cost about $80,000. Adjust that for inflation and you get the Panamera Turbo’s $150,000 base price. Porsche’s internal code for the Panamera is 971, but maybe it ought to subtract a few dozen numerals.

View Photos

View Photos

Buying used: Porsche 911 vs Jaguar F-Type Coupe – The i …

Three years after Jaguar first challenged the Porsche 911 with its F-Type Coupe, which is the best used proposition?

There was a lot of excitement when the Jaguar F-Type Coupe was announced in 2014. The plan – simple to conceive, incredibly difficult to execute – was to beat Porsche.

It didn’t quite manage it, but three years’ worth of depreciation later, a used F is suddenly very tempting.

Driving experience

These two cars prove that you don’t need big V8 or V10 engines to deliver supercar pace. The 3.4-litre Porsche somehow produces 345bhp without the aid of a turbocharger or a supercharger, and sounds amazing right up to 7000rpm and beyond. The optional sports exhaust is borderline anti-social.

Porsche 911 Carrera PDK

Engine size 3.4-litre petrol
List price when new £75,897
Price today £60,000
Power 345bhp
Torque 288lb ft
0-60mph 4.3sec
Top speed 178mph
Fuel economy 34.4mpg (Official average)
CO2 emissions 191g/km

By contrast, the Jag does have a supercharger, taking the 3.0-litre V6’s output beyond the 911’s to 375bhp, but its extra weight means it accelerates more slowly. It’s all relative: 0-60mph in 4.7sec is quick by any standards. The F-Type is even noisier than the Porsche, howling even during town toddling and popping on every throttle lift, particularly in Dynamic mode. This mode sharpens the throttle response and weights up the steering, but even so the Porsche tops the F-Type on twisty roads. Its extra lightness and stiffness means there’s none of the Jaguar’s pause before the front end reacts to steering inputs.

The Porsche rolls less through bends, too. It could do with more engaging steering, but you can’t question its accuracy or reassuring weight. The Jag has lighter but equally accurate steering, but an Audi R8 provides more feedback.

The F-Type’s eight-speed automatic gearbox works well, but isn’t at its most responsive when the driver takes control via the steering wheel paddles. The Porsche’s seven-speed PDK auto box responds instantly in either mode.

The 911 isn’t known for its great ride quality, but cars with the optional PASM adaptive suspension will actually be more comfy than the F-Type. You’ll still feel the bigger bumps through the Porsche’s firmer suspension but few will complain about the general ride of either car.

Interior

The 911 has a superb driving position and an equally fine cabin with lovely materials throughout. The Jaguar’s interior is more dramatic, with the heating vents humming up from the dash on startup, but its materials are a step behind the Porsche’s. Its seats aren’t as good either, and the touch-screen infotainment with its complex menus is not as nice to use as the Porsche’s intuitive screen- and rotary knob-controlled system.

Jaguar F-Type Coupe

Engine size 3.0-litre petrol
List price when new £60,250
Price today £39,000
Power 375bhp
Torque 339lb ft
0-60mph 4.7sec
Top speed 171mph
Fuel economy 32.1mpg (Official average)
CO2 emissions 209g/km

The Porsche has a pair of small rear seats that can be folded away to create a surprisingly usable cargo space to supplement the front compartment that will take one or two soft bags. The F-Type is a pure two-seater. Its shallow conventional boot has a useful secret space under the floor.

Running costs

There’s a big difference between the used prices of same-age F-Types and 911s. The strong resale values that were initially predicted for the Jag haven’t come to pass, which is great news for used buyers as it brings early examples into play at under £40,000.

Of course, you can get a Porsche 911 for under £40,000, but it will be a much older or higher-mileage car, or possibly both.

There’s not much in it on running costs, with 34.4mpg for the Porsche and 32.1mpg for the Jag. The 911’s lower emissions results in a slightly lower annual tax bill of £270 compared to £295 for the F. As and when Jaguar adds the F-Type to its menu-priced servicing for cars three years of age and older, it’s a fair guess that its servicing will be somewhat cheaper than the Porsche’s.

Both marques are below average on the What Car? Reliability Index, with Jaguar slightly higher than Porsche.

Verdict

Three years from launch, the F-Type still looks really sharp. The V6 S variant is a great choice in the range. It’s fun to drive and makes an amazing noise, but the really big plus is its used price. For £40,000 or so, we’d go for the Jaguar every time, despite its less than perfect gearbox.

Crank the budget up to £60,000 though, and a three-year-old 911 Carrera with average mileage becomes the best pick. The F-Type is undoubtedly great fun, but an 911 of this vintage is a level above it on handling and cross-country pace. It also feels classier and has more practicality.

£60,000 will get you a nearly-new F-Type but an older Porsche will deliver more satisfaction over time and hold its value better than a newer F-Type too. The 911 takes the win.

Price today is based on a 2014 model with average mileage and full service history, correct at time of writing

Article source: https://inews.co.uk/essentials/lifestyle/cars/car-reviews/buying-used-porsche-911-vs-jaguar-f-type-coupe/

Porsche installs its first high-speed electric car chargers

It won’t stop there, of course. Another high-speed station is under construction at Porsche’s American headquarters in Atlanta, and the firm expects to ramp up installations by the time the Mission E arrives in 2019. In other words, early adopters will have at least some options for topping up quickly.

Porsche won’t be alone for long. It’s partnering with other car companies on installing 350kW-capable charging stations across Europe, and Tesla vows to compete with even faster chargers. Still, it’s a start — it’s laying the groundwork for a time when you’ll rarely have to think about where and when to charge an EV.

Porsche's new high-speed EV charging station

Bottom image credit: KFZ-Betrieb

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/2017/07/16/porsche-installs-first-super-fast-ev-chargers/

Porsche 911 Carrera 4S review

Is the new Carrera 4S potentially the best all-round 911?

If you’re a regular reader of the motoring press, you’ll know there’s been much ado about the fact that every Porsche 911, with the sole exception of the GT3 models, is now turbocharged.

Yes, there’s still the mack-daddy 911 Turbo (with a capital T), but instead of aiming for outright performance the regular Carreras have instead been turbo-fied in order to meet efficiency and emissions standards.

Listening to the hardcore Porsche puritans will convince you that these new turbochargers will be the death of the 911. But then they’re the same bunch who said that the swap to water-cooled engines would be the death of the 911, as would the introduction of four-wheel drive and electric power steering…

In terms of sacrilegiousness then, this new Carrera 4S is probably the worst offender of them all. Turbocharged, with four-wheel drive and electric power steering, can it still manage to capture that classic 911 spirit?

 

Changes under the rear lid are a bit more extensive than just strapping a turbocharger onto the existing 911. In fact, both the entry-level Carrera and the more powerful Carrera S get an all-new 3.0-litre flat-six engine with twin turbochargers to replace the outgoing naturally aspirated 3.4- and 3.8-litre units.

As a result, the Carrera is good for 370bhp while larger turbines for the S give it a maximum output of 420bhp. Both numbers are 20bhp up over the outgoing models, and there’s also wider torque curves with the maximum 449Nm of torque now coming in from just 1,700rpm.

Jargon aside, when equipped with Porsche’s seven-speed PDK automatic gearbox, the 4S can hit 0-62mph in just 3.8 seconds, while even the standard Carrera 4 can manage it in four seconds flat. It’s a quick car then, and top speed clocks in at 178mph for the Carrera 4 and 189mph for the 4S.

In fact, Porsche’s engineers say that the new Carrera 4S is as quick around the Nurburgring as the 997-generation 911 GT3 and we’d believe them. The car certainly feels phenomenally rapid with blistering acceleration and a swift boot of torque as soon as the rev needle starts to rise.

Let’s get the obvious elephant out of the room then. It does tend to be a bit boosty with slight pauses while the turbochargers spool up, and although it’s never anywhere near on par with something like the 930, if you’re a fan of the instantaneous response of the old naturally aspirated engines you might find this takes a bit of getting used to.

Likewise, even with the larger sports exhaust that comes on the 4S there’s noticeably less top-end howl because waste exhaust gases are sucked out to power the turbos, muting some of the sound.

It’s far from terrible and taken by its own measure it’s still a fantastic sounding car, but that signature sharp engine note which crescendos from mild thrum to full-on banshee wail as the revs increase is lost somewhat, replaced with a less characterful hiss of turbos spewing air into the cylinders.

Does it spoil the car? Absolutely not. Character is of course a huge part of the 911’s appeal and while there’s no arguing it’s a little down on personality it’s still an absolutely phenomenal car to drive.

The 4 in 4S of course refers to four-wheel drive instead of the traditional rear-engined, rear-wheel drive setup of the 911. However, Porsche claims that 99 per cent of the time the four-wheel drive system sends all of the power to the rear wheels, only transferring it to the front as and when it’s needed.

As a result, the Carrera 4S still feels for the most part remarkably similar to the regular Carrera model and the steering’s fantastically accurate, guiding the nose of the car across apexes with fastidious precision and leaving you able to place the car exactly where you want it, exactly when you want it.

Its handling is also aided by wider rear tyres, a retuned chassis and suspension lowered by 10mm, along with adaptive dampers which now come as standard and the option of the same four-wheel steering system that features on cars like the GT3 and the 918 Spyder.

Essentially, the car can slightly alter the angle of its rear wheels to either reduce its turning circle at low speeds or to offer more stability and control at higher speeds. It might seem a little gimmicky but it works, and it’s a real thrill rocketing through corners and feeling the rear wheels subtly working to guide the car round with confidence and much less risk of the trailing throttle oversteer the 911’s susceptible to.

Dial the accelerator back and suddenly things settle down remarkably. The 911 has always been one of the most usable cars of its kind day to day, and switching it from Sport back into Normal will quieten the exhaust and make it an amazingly liveable car that you’d be very happy to sit comfortably in up long stretches of motorway.

The steering’s fantastically accurate, guiding the nose of the car across apexes with fastidious precision

Did you know?

According to development drivers, the marque sent a large number of the early test mules back to engineers to ensure the newly turbocharged cars sounded “Porsche” enough.

Inside, the addition of the new Porsche Communication Management infotainment system as standard with a seven-inch touchscreen means that the new 911 is a lot easier to use than before too. The centre console-mounted screen also supports sat-nav, smartphone connectivity and real-time traffic information and is infinitely more responsive than the previous version.

Elsewhere, the cabin is mostly as before but then that’s no bad thing with its compact steering wheel derived from the 918 Spyder, plus a low driving position and snug, supportive sports seats. Standard equipment across the board includes a leather interior and dual-zone climate control, plus bi-xenon headlights and an anti-theft tracking system.

The controls are all well laid out and the interior materials of high quality, and there’s even room in the back for small children – or for an adult or two provided you’re only doing extremely short trips. It’s probably better to treat the rear seats simply as an extra storage area though, with 260 litres of space in the back in addition to the 145-litre boot compartment under the front bonnet.

It’s not quite supercar expensive, but the 911 is still nowhere near cheap. Prices for the entry-level Carrera start from £76,412 while the Carrera 4S is priced from £90,843 and the range-topping Targa 4S will set you back a significant £99,684.

The 4S is cheaper than the BMW M6 by a significant amount, but it’s still pricier than other rivals like the Jaguar F-TYPE. Also, if you’re the sort who absolutely must have a 911 with a naturally aspirated engine you’ll either have to go used or fork out £100k+ for a GT3 RS.

The better news is that thanks to the new turbocharger technology Porsche claims that the 911’s efficiency has been boosted by as much as 12 per cent, meaning that fuel economy clocks in at a maximum of 38.2mpg with CO2 emissions from 169g/km.

Thanks to the new turbocharger technology Porsche claims that the 911’s efficiency has been boosted by as much as 12 per cent.

The new post-turbo Carrera 4S is probably as far as you can get from the notion of a classic 911, but of all the current Carrera range it’s the best all-rounder and the pick of the bunch.

There’s no denying the sound and responsiveness of the old naturally aspirated engines will be missed, but at the same time there’s no denying either that the 911 is still a brilliantly handling, great looking and ferociously fast car.

It’s not enough to ruin what is and what has always been a truly great sports car, and we defy any diehard purist to spend 20 minutes in the new Carrera 4S and not be a convert. The 911 is one of the most iconic names in sports car history and with its ballistic performance, high quality and even decent running costs, it’s sure to stay that way.

Article source: https://www.carkeys.co.uk/car-reviews/porsche-911-carrera-4s-review

Buying used: Porsche 911 vs Jaguar F-Type Coupe

Three years after Jaguar first challenged the Porsche 911 with its F-Type Coupe, which is the best used proposition?

There was a lot of excitement when the Jaguar F-Type Coupe was announced in 2014. The plan – simple to conceive, incredibly difficult to execute – was to beat Porsche.

It didn’t quite manage it, but three years’ worth of depreciation later, a used F is suddenly very tempting.

Driving experience

These two cars prove that you don’t need big V8 or V10 engines to deliver supercar pace. The 3.4-litre Porsche somehow produces 345bhp without the aid of a turbocharger or a supercharger, and sounds amazing right up to 7000rpm and beyond. The optional sports exhaust is borderline anti-social.

Porsche 911 Carrera PDK

Engine size 3.4-litre petrol
List price when new £75,897
Price today £60,000
Power 345bhp
Torque 288lb ft
0-60mph 4.3sec
Top speed 178mph
Fuel economy 34.4mpg (Official average)
CO2 emissions 191g/km

By contrast, the Jag does have a supercharger, taking the 3.0-litre V6’s output beyond the 911’s to 375bhp, but its extra weight means it accelerates more slowly. It’s all relative: 0-60mph in 4.7sec is quick by any standards. The F-Type is even noisier than the Porsche, howling even during town toddling and popping on every throttle lift, particularly in Dynamic mode. This mode sharpens the throttle response and weights up the steering, but even so the Porsche tops the F-Type on twisty roads. Its extra lightness and stiffness means there’s none of the Jaguar’s pause before the front end reacts to steering inputs.

The Porsche rolls less through bends, too. It could do with more engaging steering, but you can’t question its accuracy or reassuring weight. The Jag has lighter but equally accurate steering, but an Audi R8 provides more feedback.

The F-Type’s eight-speed automatic gearbox works well, but isn’t at its most responsive when the driver takes control via the steering wheel paddles. The Porsche’s seven-speed PDK auto box responds instantly in either mode.

The 911 isn’t known for its great ride quality, but cars with the optional PASM adaptive suspension will actually be more comfy than the F-Type. You’ll still feel the bigger bumps through the Porsche’s firmer suspension but few will complain about the general ride of either car.

Interior

The 911 has a superb driving position and an equally fine cabin with lovely materials throughout. The Jaguar’s interior is more dramatic, with the heating vents humming up from the dash on startup, but its materials are a step behind the Porsche’s. Its seats aren’t as good either, and the touch-screen infotainment with its complex menus is not as nice to use as the Porsche’s intuitive screen- and rotary knob-controlled system.

Jaguar F-Type Coupe

Engine size 3.0-litre petrol
List price when new £60,250
Price today £39,000
Power 375bhp
Torque 339lb ft
0-60mph 4.7sec
Top speed 171mph
Fuel economy 32.1mpg (Official average)
CO2 emissions 209g/km

The Porsche has a pair of small rear seats that can be folded away to create a surprisingly usable cargo space to supplement the front compartment that will take one or two soft bags. The F-Type is a pure two-seater. Its shallow conventional boot has a useful secret space under the floor.

Running costs

There’s a big difference between the used prices of same-age F-Types and 911s. The strong resale values that were initially predicted for the Jag haven’t come to pass, which is great news for used buyers as it brings early examples into play at under £40,000.

Of course, you can get a Porsche 911 for under £40,000, but it will be a much older or higher-mileage car, or possibly both.

There’s not much in it on running costs, with 34.4mpg for the Porsche and 32.1mpg for the Jag. The 911’s lower emissions results in a slightly lower annual tax bill of £270 compared to £295 for the F. As and when Jaguar adds the F-Type to its menu-priced servicing for cars three years of age and older, it’s a fair guess that its servicing will be somewhat cheaper than the Porsche’s.

Both marques are below average on the What Car? Reliability Index, with Jaguar slightly higher than Porsche.

Verdict

Three years from launch, the F-Type still looks really sharp. The V6 S variant is a great choice in the range. It’s fun to drive and makes an amazing noise, but the really big plus is its used price. For £40,000 or so, we’d go for the Jaguar every time, despite its less than perfect gearbox.

Crank the budget up to £60,000 though, and a three-year-old 911 Carrera with average mileage becomes the best pick. The F-Type is undoubtedly great fun, but an 911 of this vintage is a level above it on handling and cross-country pace. It also feels classier and has more practicality.

£60,000 will get you a nearly-new F-Type but an older Porsche will deliver more satisfaction over time and hold its value better than a newer F-Type too. The 911 takes the win.

Price today is based on a 2014 model with average mileage and full service history, correct at time of writing

Article source: https://inews.co.uk/essentials/lifestyle/cars/car-reviews/buying-used-porsche-911-vs-jaguar-f-type-coupe/

2018 Bentley Continental GT – Prototype Drive

Drifting on packed snow with the throttle nailed and the tail cocked full hooligan is questionable behavior in a $200,000-plus Bentley Continental GT Speed—especially when it’s a prototype only two-thirds of the way through its final development schedule. But such activity, plus three encounters with roving reindeer herds, is par for the course when you’re embedded with Bentley’s top engineers wrapping up their winter test routines near the Arctic Circle in Swedish Lapland.

Full disclosure: This report deviates from our first-drive review norms. While we did drive a camouflaged third-generation Continental GT, scheduled to appear in final form at this fall’s Frankfurt auto show, for every minute in the driver’s seat we experienced an hour as a passenger. Compensation came in the form of unrestricted dialogue with three of Bentley’s top engineers: head of quality Jürgen Kern, powertrain chief Paul Williams, and whole-vehicle engineering director Cameron Paterson.

Bentley’s supercoupe is essentially an eleven-tenths-scale, five-times-as-expensive, 200-mph Britain-built Chevrolet Camaro SS. Other than clinically jaded journalists, no one really needs such a car, though there are scores of lucky souls who want them: captains of industry, stock-market manipulators, oil sheiks, and pro athletes, for instance.

This is some of the grandest touring that a very large heap of money will buy. While exceeding the GT’s previous blend of speed, poise, and luxury sounds like a film entitled Mission: Unlikely, that’s exactly what the third-generation 2018 model is engineered to do.


More Audi or More Porsche?

According to Paterson, this endeavor began more than four years ago when Bentley set about replacing the current GT, which uses underpinnings it shared with the late Volkswagen Phaeton. The VW Group store offered two platform candidates—one engineered by Porsche, the other by Audi. Several factors tilted the decision in the Porsche direction. Bentley CEO Wolfgang Dürheimer, who spent a fruitful decade at Porsche, aspires to purge the winged-B brand’s stodginess through participation in GT3 road racing and by appealing to a younger clientele with more agile products. To that end, Porsche’s MSB platform offered tantalizing credentials: more aluminum to trim hundreds of pounds of weight, significantly better weight distribution (achieved by shifting the front axle several inches forward to pass through, instead of behind, the engine), and ready hybridization.

Shifting to the Porsche platform makes the Continental GT a kissing cousin to the new Panamera, but Paterson is quick to note that Bentley’s core virtues—superb performance combined with sublime comfort and luxury—distinguish this touring coupe from Porsche’s four-door flagship.


W-12 Driving All Four

The building blocks discussed with the Bentley boys are impressive. To supplement the 300-to-400-pound weight loss, aero drag has been reduced. The new twin-turbo 6.0-liter W-12 is a claimed 18 percent more fuel efficient, contributing to an overall mileage gain of some 20 percent. No final power or fuel-economy figures have been released, but Bentley promises the new Continental GT’s W-12 will make “more” than 592 horsepower and 530 lb-ft of torque. The company projects a sub-4.0-second zero-to-60-mph time and a top speed in excess of 200 mph.

A new ZF eight-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission sends torque to both axles through a variable clutch that energizes the front wheels on demand to minimize rear-tire meltdown during acceleration and front tire scrub during hard cornering. A key thing to know here is that the Bentley’s new all-wheel-drive system (standard in this W-12 model—we’ve been told nothing about any equivalent to today’s V-8 version) operates in 100 percent rear-drive mode by default and shifts torque to the front wheels only when it detects slip at the rear. Previously, an AWD Bentley was more Audi-like in distributing torque to all four wheels all the time (in a 40/60 front-to-rear proportion). While the outgoing Continental is already one of our favorites in the ultra-GT class, this new edition seems like the quarter horse that sent the old gray mare to pasture.

Given the combined 680 horsepower Porsche packs into the 2018 Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid, I asked powertrain engineer Williams why he favors pistons over electrons. He’s convinced there’s another decade of life left in the twin-turbo W-12 that Bentley builds at its Crewe, England, factory, largely because it’s so steeped in advanced technology.

“This 12-cylinder has a creamy sound perfectly in tune with the Bentley character,” he said. “The W configuration is substantially shorter than a V-12, so we’re able to mount the engine rearward without consuming cabin space. But it’s the wealth of special features we’ve engineered into this engine that will keep it viable for years to come.”

That list includes both direct and port fuel injection, variable intake and exhaust valve timing, and dual-scroll Bosch-Mahle turbochargers. To improve cruising mileage, the passenger-side bank of six cylinders shuts down on cue. A blanket of acoustic foam surrounding the fuel pumps and injectors hushes noise radiating from this praiseworthy powerhouse.

Engineer Paterson is especially proud of the muffler valves, which transition seamlessly between loud and soft modes without initiating booming or wailing sounds. “We use no contrived or artificial sounds in the GT,” he added, “so what you hear during full-throttle acceleration are the natural baritone notes produced by our W-12. Our goal is to combine a soothing, serene environment for long cruises with a powerful and entertaining spirit when the driver chooses to celebrate the sporty side of his GT’s character.”

The exhaust tuning was far from complete in the two prototypes we rode in, and snow-packed, speed-limited roads offered no opportunity to exploit the 12 cylinders plus two turbos’ worth of power at our disposal. That said, we can vouch for the quiet part of the Conti GT’s personality. During cruising, the only sound was the muted crunch of Pirelli winter tires scrabbling for grip. Even that noise will be diminished, according to Paterson, because of the foam inserts that will blanket the inside of each tire carcass once production begins.


Quality and Refinement

Three-chamber air springs with continuously variable damping and isolated front and rear subframes are part of Porsche’s platform plan. Seat height is approximately one inch higher than in the Panamera but an inch lower than in today’s Continental GT. Expecting to find a cramped rear seat, we instead found ample knee, head, and leg room back there. This is the Ford Mustang GT that went to heaven, as far as plus-two riders are concerned.

Paterson and Williams both took note of a few improprieties remaining in the new dual-clutch eight-speed automatic transmission. Refinement is harder to achieve with no torque converter to soothe launches, and in spite of the 100 messages per second flowing between the engine and transmission on a dedicated communications link, an occasional lurch or clunk spoils the driveline bliss, typically during the first-to-second-gear upshift.

Since he’s responsible for every aspect of quality, we asked Paterson how he defines that oft quoted word in the Bentley context. His answer made it clear that we weren’t the first to ask that question. “We divide quality into three distinct categories. The first, geometric quality, is the perfect fit of adjoining components inside and out of the car. Next, and of equal importance, is functional quality; assuring that every feature in the vehicle—from the twist of a control knob to the action of the transmission shifter—works exactly as you’d expect it to. Emotional quality, the third and arguably most important category, is what separates any Bentley from every other automobile. This is the blend of agility, sporting performance, and class-leading refinement we discussed earlier. Bentleys are cars you don’t necessarily need but want because of the distinctive feeling they impart during driving.” The beauty of these thumbnail explanations of subtle concepts such as quality is that they’re handy for explaining the brand’s character traits, nurtured for decades, to outsiders and newcomers.

Paterson adds that perfecting function is why his team is living with these prototypes. Pointing out the receptacle notched into both sides of the center console, he explained that they were added as a convenient spot for cellphones. “Unfortunately, the bottom of the pocket was sloped in such a way that, during hard acceleration, phones were launched into the back seat,” he said. “While we all agree that these receptacles are excellent features, their shape will change in the next generation of prototypes to hone their function.”


Just Enough Technology

The Bentley Bentayga advanced the cause of electronic display technology with a digital center screen combined with classic analog driver instruments, but the Continental GT is all digital. While we admire how expeditiously the tachometer needle moves across the bright dial to the 6300-rpm redline, Paterson believes the motion is too twitchy for Bentley customers and said it will be slowed a touch. A second cabin highlight is a three-position center dash screen, affectionately known as the Toblerone because its cross section resembles that of the triangular Swiss chocolate bar. In the first position, the 10-inch-diagonal panel is lovely wood veneer matched perfectly to the surrounding interior surfaces. Stop two is a touchscreen configured primarily for navigation. The third choice is what Paterson calls supplementary performance gauges. Given the Continental’s innate vitality, that last option should be entertaining. Unfortunately, the prototype’s nav screen doesn’t rotate, and the gaps between it and its surroundings are wide enough to swallow a pencil.

Heartening news: Bentley is in no hurry to pursue autonomous driving. “Bentleys are driver’s cars,” Paterson reminded us. “We’ll be competitive, but we have no intention to lead with that technology. We want the driver always in control, so automatic steering is of little interest to us except for possibly providing the driver a break during long cross-country journeys.”

This philosophy relates to how the electric power steering, also shared with Porsche, is tuned for the desired Bentley feel. Paterson defined the goal as isolation from any bad news emanating from the road surface with a clear feel of what the front tires are doing during spirited driving.


Wheeling on Ice

Out in the middle of a frozen lake located a few miles south of the Arctic Circle, we finally have the opportunity to take the pulse of the new Continental GT from the driver’s seat. A few laps with all safety systems active convince us that this edition is indeed far more agile and responsive than the car it replaces. Twisting what the Bentley boys call the “charisma” control (it’s a driving-mode knob) to the Sport setting allows more entertaining drift angles. Co-driver Paterson goads us to flatten the accelerator while dialing in the appropriate countersteer to hold an arc at the outer edge of the packed 1000-foot-diameter circle. The key is to minimize steering inputs so that the stability system understands exactly where you want to go. What surprises are the steering’s speed, reasonable effort, and the tangible feedback it provides even on this slippery surface. Very Porsche-like, we tell our host, a compliment he accepts in stride.

With stability control clicked off, the drift task is more challenging but still at the driver’s disposal. Unfortunately, before we make friends with this facet of the Conti GT’s feisty personality, one of the 100 onboard electronic controllers calls a halt and terminates the fun. Engineering analysis reveals that the rear differential may be overheating, even though the ambient temperature is below freezing. Various fixes have been devised, but installing them will have to wait for the next generation of prototypes.

Exposure to a three-quarters-baked prototype is an experience we seldom enjoy—for obvious reasons. Makers always strive to showcase perfect products in ideal circumstances, and this trip to Lapland was anything but that. The best part was learning how serious Bentley is about building a GT coupe that’s a quantum leap over not only the competition but also the company’s past achievements. Now that we’ve had our share of turning left flat out on an ice rink, we can’t wait to light off Bentley’s bolide on dry pavement.

View Photos

View Photos