Porsche is more than happy to go on and on about the thousands of minute changes made to the 2021 Panamera. The front fascia is different, the taillights now include a full-width LED strip, the crankshaft is revised, the turbochargers are new, the navigation system has been recalibrated—you get the idea. But what more do you really need to know other than the fact that its twin-turbo 4.0-liter V-8 engine now makes a whopping 620 horsepower and 604 pound-feet of torque?
This more powerful Turbo S model is a new addition to the range for 2021, sitting atop the nonhybrid lineup. It has 70 more horsepower and 37 more pound-feet than the previous Panamera Turbo, although it’s outgunned by the even more powerful Turbo S E-Hybrid model that’s slated to arrive soon with more than 700 horsepower. But if you don’t want your high-performance luxury sedan saddled with the extra weight of batteries and other hybrid hardware, the Turbo S is your ticket to a seriously quick luxury sedan.
We didn’t test this bright-orange European-spec Turbo S you see here, but Porsche claims a zero-to-60-mph time of 2.9 seconds—and that’s likely a conservative estimate given that we tested a significantly less powerful, 550-hp 2018 Panamera Turbo at 2.9 seconds. Top speed sits at a heady 196 mph, Porsche claims, although Dodge says a Charger SRT Hellcat Redeye will supposedly do 203 mph, so there go your bragging rights.
The Panamera Turbo S hardly feels like such a lean, mean, numbers-generating machine on the road. It’s almost too effortless in the way it goes about its business, with the V-8 whispering rather than shouting about its brute force and the steering communicating very little about the road surface. This is a luxury sedan first and a high-performance machine second, with plush ride quality and a supremely isolated cabin. Sport Plus mode quickens the responses and adds some vigor to the exhaust note, but the Panamera lacks the drama and excitement of the Mercedes-AMG E63 and the playful handling of the BMW M5, two high-performance sedans that beat the Panamera Turbo in a 2018 comparison test.
Ultra-high-performance Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 summer tires are a new option, if you’re the type to make a beeline for the racetrack after your quarterly board meetings. The car we drove wasn’t so equipped, although all Turbo S models come standard with other performance-enhancing extras, including 48-volt active anti-roll bars, rear-axle steering, and meaty carbon-ceramic brake rotors. The Panamera Turbo S is also available in the enticing Sport Turismo wagon body style, which is Porsche’s entry in the surprisingly crowded hot-wagon segment that also includes the AMG E63 S, Audi RS6 Avant, and Volvo V60 Polestar Engineered.
Porsche has yet to announce pricing for the 2021 Panamera Turbo S, but it sure as hell isn’t gonna come cheap. It’ll surely be tens of thousand dollars more than the previous Panamera Turbo, which started at $154,350, meaning it’ll easily crest the $200,000 mark once you start perusing Porsche’s interminable list of options. But if there’s one box we’re sure no Turbo S buyer will check, and that’s the $0 “Deletion of model designation,” because the flex of the badge is what this variant is all about.
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