Sunday 26 August 2012

Road - Feel the noise

I didn’t think I was going to like the Porsche Panamera, but I did. It just shows you how wrong preconceived conceptions can be. As an everyday, usable personal and family conveyance it is better than the Boxster and better than the 911 in that order, but it’s as long and as wide as a Transit. And whilst that might be OK for continental touring and exclusive hotel car parks, it’s not ideal for a wet weekend in the UK trying to fit it into an Aldi car parking space.

But this car was not made for parking, it was made for driving and that’s when ambivalence turned to admiration and finally to desire.

This was the GTS version, not the V6 diesel or V6 petrol, this was the 4.8 litre V8 with a soundtrack to match. It had a 7 speed PDK two pedal transmission which transmitted the 430 hp through all four wheels, and it also had a sports exhaust. Not only did it sound good outside, the Porsche engineers have contrived to allow more induction and exhaust noise into the cabin by pressing another wee button. How cool is that? All windows down, button pressed, and then give it laldy. Sublime.

Once on the move and once you really start to feel the road grip, experience the ceramic brakes and luxuriate in the instant response, you forget that this thing weighs nearly two tonnes.

Unfortunately reality strikes with all the subtlety of a Glasgow kiss. The price. The electronic diff and ceramic brakes push the price over £100,000. Add the price of a Suzuki Swift on to the hundred grand and you’ve got the price for the Panamera GTS. Is it worth it? Just listen to the noise and then you decide.

But I’ll tell you what, Porsche will sell every one they make. People don’t just buy a Porsche, they buy into a brand, and the Germans are pretty damn good at pushing that brand and generating premium prices for cars, accessories and merchandise. Just take the ignition key for instance. Look closely at the shape. See what I mean?

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