The beauty of this weekend with the entire Panamera line-up was the ability to jump from one end of the spectrum to the other and experience each of these sedans as compared to the others. On that note, to end my day, I stepped out of the e-hybrid directly into the GTS. I'd never driven a GTS before, and I was excited to finally put foot to pedal. Luckily, the Panamera delivered everything I'd ever hoped. More than anything, the first thing I noticed about this Porsche was the exhaust note. The most raucous, purely delicious sound I've ever had the privilege to hear from a street legal passenger car is emitted when you press the sport exhaust button. We were told that Porsche was planning to axe the GTS from the 2014 lineup as its engine mates (the Panamera S and 4S) moved to V6 Turbo power, but something convinced them to keep it around, and for that I am thankful.
From a purely subjective standpoint I wasn't exactly a fan of the Rhodium Silver Metallic exterior paint on this GTS, but the Marsala Red alcantara interior was probably the prettiest I've seen, and by far the most comfortable. The alcantara of the seats was amazing, but the alcantara SportDesign steering wheel was mind-blowing. The carbon fiber accents were a nice touch, but a brushed aluminum might have gone better with the interior design.
If there is one option that is an absolute must-have for the Panamera (or any PDK Porsche for that matter), it is the SportDesign steering wheel. Instead of the usual fiddly push-me-pull-you shifter buttons, this steering wheel gets a legitimate pair of left-for-downshift, right-for-upshift flappy paddles. If I could only get the paddles mounted to the column instead of the steering wheel, it would be perfect (going for a mid-corner is somewhat difficult, as the paddle follows the wheel and it isn't in the same spot you remembered when you reach for it). You lose a little steering wheel button functionality, as the scroll wheel and radio controls are removed with this wheel, but frankly, as bad as the standard wheel's shifter buttons are, the loss is worth it.
For 2014 the GTS has benefited from an extra 20 horsepower in its 4.8 liter V8. The punch is certainly noticeable, and power is plentiful and available everywhere in the rev range. Most of what makes the GTS great is unchanged from the previous model, and continues largely unchanged year-on-year. If the exterior visuals of the old GTS weren't quite aggressive enough for you, try the 2014 car on for size and you're sure to love it.
The existence of the GTS is slightly absurd, a tinge insane, and a whole bucket of great fun. The car feels like the "real Porsche" that the non-believers claim it is. The great thing about this car is that it performs like a pure sports car, but can carry four people in comfort. It drives much smaller than it is, and begs no forgiveness for it. It has a magic way of making it feel like the rear of the car has evaporated and miraculously become a two seat sports GT. Comfort, speed, sound, and fun; there is nothing more you could ask of a Porsche sedan, and it delivers all of these in spades.
The 3.0 liter V6 Turbo engine now found in the Panamera S and 4S is a slightly destroked and turbocharged version of the 3.6 liter base naturally aspirated V6 engine. There are rumors that a full stroke 3.6 liter turbocharged engine is in the works, and now that the 4.8 liter naturally aspirated engine is only available in GTS models, I would think slotting this 3.6 into the next generation GTS would be a no-brainer. We can only hope that it sounds half as good as this V8, though.
Other Porsche Blog Posts You Will Enjoy
Read our 2014 Porsche Panamera 4S Review
Read our 2014 Porsche Panamera S E-hybrid Review
Read our 2014 Porsche Panamera Turbo Executive Review
Read our 2014 Porsche Panamera S Review