Thursday 17 November 2011

Road - Hitting the right Note

If beauty is in the eye of the beholder, then I must have a squint. Or is it simply that the Porsche Panamera is so different from what has gone before that we can’t accept the idea of a larger four door sports saloon with a Porsche badge on the front?

Whatever, Porsche will reveal its new Panamera GTS to the public at the Los Angeles show which opens tomorrow over there in Americky. The 4.8 litre V8 has been uprated to produce an extra 30 hp and an additional 20 Nm of torque resulting in a high revving (6700 rpm) unit that produces 430 hp and a total of 520 Nm.

The engine drives all four wheels through a seven-speed Porsche Doppelkupplungsgetriebe (PDK) transmission. That’s their way of saying it’s a double clutch gearbox!

Anyway, forget all that technical stuff for a minute because the thing that will really sell this car is the exhaust. The exhaust pipes have a larger diameter than the previous model to reduce back pressure, but there are two ‘tuning flaps’, which allow additional exhaust openings, thereby emitting more noise!

The flaps are controlled by a switch in the centre console. This also which features a ‘last mode’ function that remembers the last setting - and restores it when the engine is started. Ideal for Sunday mornings and waking the neighbours.

Compared to the car’s enhanced aural attraction, the rest of the technical spec pales into insignificance. Who cares if it’s got six pot callipers inside the 19 wheels, or that the adaptive air suspension can hunker the vehicle down into an ultra low sporty setting while switching to a harder spring rate, or that the rear spoiler automatically changes its angle to suit the performance-oriented setting?

And who cares about the Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control (PDCC) which is twinned with the electronically-controlled rear axle differential lock and PTV Plus? The fact that PDCC limits body roll by using active anti-roll bars on the front and rear axle is of little interest to the Porsche nuts who will simply buy the car for the noise.

Unfortunately, premium products come with a daunting price tag which in this case, values a band new Porsche Panamera GTS at £90,409, and that’s the starting price.

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