What is it: Since you have to be a Porsche marketing manager to parse its unwieldy name, we'll translate: Sport Turismo denotes the wagon/hatchback version of Porsche's Panamera sedan. Turbo should be self-explanatory, and in this case indicates a 550-hp V8 under the elegant sloping hood, powering all four wheels.
Key Competitors: Mercedes-Benz AMG E 63 S Wagon, Audi RS7
Base Price: $155,050 As-Tested Price: $170,100
Highlights: With the demise of the Panamera GTS at the end of the previous model's life cycle, all Panameras are technically turbocharged. But only one series gets the capital 'T' Turbo moniker, including this Turbo Sport Turismo, a gorgeous, wagon-backed touring machine that's one of Porsche's most exclusive ways to get from point A to point B.
Our Opinion: Impressive though it is, in powertrain specs, price and sheer syllabic bulk, the Porsche Panamera Turbo Sport Turismo is, in fact, not at the top of the Porsche GT food chain, nor is it the longest name in the lineup. Those honors are reserved for the 650-hp, $189K Porsche Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid Sport Turismo.
Sans E-Hybrid tech (and a couple pounds of die-cast lettering), our Turbo Sport Turismo tester gives up some efficiency and instantaneous electric torque for good old-fashioned twin-turbocharged horsepower. Totally tractable around town and on the freeway, the Panamera Turbo can lull you into a false sense of serenity; even when you get on it a bit on a freeway on-ramp or back road, the car feels immensely powerful but not precisely quick. To feel its ultimate capability, switch the mode dial to sport-plus, come to a dead stop with plenty of empty road ahead of you and pin the brake, then the throttle. This activates launch mode, which, when the brake is released, you'll discover is very aptly named.
So there's power, which is expected, but what may surprise buyers accustomed to Mercedes and Audi build quality and solidity is the impeccable construction detail found throughout the Panamera. Switchgear, seat stitching, the damped door hinges, the paint finish … it's all reminiscent of the glory days of German auto manufacturing. Anyone who moved away from the brand after a bad experience with, say, a 944 would likely be surprised by the attention to detail on the Panamera Turbo. They'd likely be surprised by the window sticker too, but that's another matter entirely.
If you love the Sport Turismo semiwagon styling (I do), it becomes the only Panamera bodystyle worth considering — better looking, with more usable space and no sacrifice in performance, why wouldn't you choose it? The question then becomes which powertrain, and as good as the twin-turbo V8 is, you absolutely need to try the E-Hybrid plug-in models (V6 or V8) before shunning electrification. Any Panamera is a world-class grand tourer, but the E-Hybrid is able to become an urban golf cart too, making it a perfect jack-of-all-trades.
Options: Porsche dynamic chassis control sport including Porsche torque vectoring plus ($5,000), sport chrono package ($2,530), 21-inch sport design wheels ($2,450), rear axle steering w/power steering plus ($1,620), lane change assist ($1,060), front seat ventilation ($840), power sunblind for rear side windows ($490), heated steering wheel ($280)
On Sale: Now
Base Price: $155,050
As Tested Price: $170,100
Powertrain: Twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V8, AWD, eight-speed automatic
Output: 550 hp @ 5,750-6,000 rpm rpm, 567 lb-ft @ 1,960-4,500 rpm
Fuel Economy: 18/23/20 mpg(EPA City/Hwy/Combined)
Pros: Blindingly fast; impeccably built
Cons: Expensive; E-Hybrid may be even better