Part 1- Lead Follow:
This one's simple: you get to drive choice of 3 cars behind a 991 C2S pace car driven by a Porsche track instructor. 1) Panamera GTS, 2) 991 Carrera 2, 3) 991 Carrera S.
You just have to keep up...
And though the instructors obviously aren't driving extremely fast, you'd be surprised at the effort it takes to keep up.
1) Panamera GTS:
The GTS is the fastest Panamera available without a turbo. Power churns out from a 4.8L V8 good for 430 horsepower, and 380 foot pounds of VERY usable torque.
First thing you notice after getting in is the driving position. Despite being a relatively large 4 door sedan, the driving position is purposely designed to remind the driver of the capabilities of the car they've chosen. The driver sits very upright in an (almost) racing bucket, all with a bit of leather and padding. The steering column is right up to chest level, accompanied with all the pertinent mish-mash of buttons within an arm's length on the center console.
Press the right pedal, and you're surged forward with your weight pushed far into the seat. 0 to 60 is quoted at 4.3 seconds, and I'd believe it even without a stopwatch clocking me. The Panamera GTS proves that size REALLY doesn't matter if you shoehorn a VERY powerful engine to do the talking.
Speaking of talking (?), better still is the noise the engine makes. It's deep, raunchy, and resonates for miles! And if you so choose to make the noise louder, there's a sport exhaust button to turn up the fun.
Handling wise, it's possibly the best handling 4 door car on the market. The car points in the direction you want it to, though not quite immediately. Even with PASM switched on, the car feels like it's lumbering through the corners with a ride characteristic I can best describe as... wavy. I suspect a lot of the experience has to do with the electronically assisted power steering which confines the Panamera GTS to being a bit blunt on corner-entry. On a side note, while it's not in the same bracket, I'd choose the Jaguar XF-R over the Panamera GTS. Even though I acknowledge the complete disconnect between the XF-R's front wheels and the the position of the steering, it still responds to commands from the driver with more immediacy.
The GTS loses points on turn-in, but restitution comes through the grip it's able to sustain mid-corner. It's just unbelievable for a car its size! It doesn't hug the corner so much grabs it by the reigns and evulses it into submission. I'd not be wrong in saying that an amateur driver like me could spend a LONG time trying to find the limit of grip through most road courses in this car. That said, if you think with your balls and not your brain, it's PRETTY easy to find the limit and kick the tail out. You ARE dealing with 430 horsepower at the end of the day.
Let's revisit propulsion again for a minute. While the 4.8L engine may be impressive all on it's own, Porsche's PDK makes the experience so much more enjoyable. With the Sport Plus on, the transmission automatically switches itself into race-track mode. Downshifts are sharper, quicker, and upshifts come a LOT later in the rev-range. It holds the engine speed all the way up until redline in every gear, with throttle and brake response significantly sharper than standard. You're able to modulate mid-corner with complete confidence in your right sneaker.
All in all, a great car with a LOT of upshots.
My friend Satish while I copilot
And now I'm happy as hell!
Under heavy braking