Test Drive: 2013 Porsche Panamera GTS car test drives reviews porsche luxury cars
2013 Porsche Panamera GTS. Click image to enlarge

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Review and photos by Peter Bleakney

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2013 Porsche Panamera GTS

Having driven every iteration of the Porsche Panamera available in our market, I was somewhat skeptical when approaching the $126,700 2013 Panamera GTS. Could Porsche really create another version of this contentiously humpbacked executive hatchback that’s meaningfully different enough from the others to warrant yet another badge?

Turns out they did, and it also turns out to be my favourite. And no, I wasn’t completely swayed by the $3,590 Camine Red paint and badass $3,860 black 20-inch alloys. Okay, maybe just a little….

Zuffenhausen has managed to inject an extra dose of “Porsche-ness” into the GTS—it offers a sharper, more immediate driving experience than that of its stable mates. More like a true Porsche sports car, this lengthy saloon shows a genuine appetite for a twisty road or an open on ramp, and the naturally aspirated 430-hp 4.8L V8 delivers a visceral bark and quick throttle response that the freakishly ballistic $200,300 550-hp Panamera Turbo S can’t.

And with a 0 to 100 km/h time of 4.5 seconds, the GTS is still plenty swift.

Test Drive: 2013 Porsche Panamera GTS car test drives reviews porsche luxury cars
Test Drive: 2013 Porsche Panamera GTS car test drives reviews porsche luxury cars
2013 Porsche Panamera GTS. Click image to enlarge

The GTS is closest to the Panamera 4S in that it shares its all-wheel drive and V8 engine, although different cams and valve springs and a revised intake system raise the horse count by 30, to 430 hp. It generates 384 lb-ft at 3,500 rpm.

The GTS’ seven-speed PDK twin-clutch tranny gets is own mapping, as does the stability control. Bigger front brakes from the Panamera Turbo assist in slowing this 1,928 kg car.

The pièce de résistance is the standard active sport exhaust system that is tuned specifically for the GTS. Ensure this is activated at all times. It barks, burbles, and howls in the most spectacular fashion, and on start up a nice little throttle blip is programmed in, so you always sound like a bit of a greaseball even when you’re not trying. With the auto start/stop function activated, the GTS calling card is continually turning heads. Fantastic.

The price of the GTS includes stuff seen on the 4S option list, such as Sports Chrono Package and adaptive anti-roll bars. A revised front facsia, black window and headlight surrounds, GTS sill plates, and GTS embroidered seats round out the package.

At the risk of having our loyal readers coughing into their Corn Flakes, the GTS represents good value considering that kitting out a regular 4S close to these specs would be more expensive.

As with all Panameras, the driving position is more 911 than Mercedes S-Class. You sit low, the controls are well placed and a big tachometer with the all-important digital speedometer is front and centre.

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