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

As with just about every Porsche that has come my way, this 2013 GTS was festooned with a whack of expensive options and upgrades.

The carbon interior package ($2,280) was layered on the $3,940 GTS Interior Package. The Alcantara sport seats and firm and grippy—no question as to the mission statement of this car. There was also an Alcantara sport steering wheel ($340), heat for the rear seats ($610), a brushed aluminum PDK gear selector ($850) and a very good Bose audio upgrade ($1,650). Porsche will also charge you for Sirius ($860) and front and rear park assist ($690). And why the latter system is cheaper than a satellite tuner is a question only those product planners with the riotous funny-bones in Zuffenhausen can answer.

For such a long and heavy car, the GTS is remarkably agile. Tuck it into a bend and there is essentially zero body roll. It plants itself and takes a set instantly, and with the well-tuned rear-biased all-wheel drive working in your favour, the GTS feels unflappable when laying into the power. And of course that omnipresent soundtrack only eggs you on.

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

The only niggle is the uncommunicative helm that lacks the tactile feedback of a 911 or Boxster. And yes, the latest versions of the 911 and Boxster now have slightly less detailed electrically assisted steering (versus the less-efficient hydraulic setup), but it’s still damn good.

The adaptive damper system (PASM) does a good job of smoothing out the ride, although those seeking S-Class levels of compliance in their luxury cars will look elsewhere, like at an S-Class. This is a sport sedan, with the emphasis on sport.

While the oddly bulbous hindquarters are an ongoing point of contention, the commodious twin rear seats and large cargo space with said seats folded makes the Panamera a very useful contraption. I loaded a full complement of musical gear into it, including an upright bass, and on another occasion I tossed in my mountain bike.

So if you need to justify spending 150 large on this Porsche, tell yourself it’s a practical five-door family hatchback.

2013 Porsche Panamera GTS
Base price: $126,700
Optional equipment: Carmine Red $3,590; GTS interior package $3,940; rear heated seats $610; front and rear park assist $690; Bose surround sound $1,650; Sirius/XM tuner $860; carbon interior package $2,280; SportDesign Alcantara steering wheel $340; SportDesign side skirts $1,590; 20-inch Panamera Sport Wheels $3,860; brushed aluminum gear selector $850
A/C tax: $100
Destination charge: $1,115
Price as tested: $148,175

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