2019 Porsche Panamera GTS First Drive: Needed Step In The Panamera Ladder

The first turn of the Bahrain International Circuit requires late turn in, and at the speed we’re going, I’m unsure of how this is going to shake out. Following the line of Porsche’s driver – the rear of his yellow 911 Turbo unmistakable from the 2019 Porsche Panamera GTS I’m piloting – I go past the point I’d instinctually crank the wheel to the right, and as he seamlessly exits out of the turn, I make my move. Despite the Panamera GTS’s 116.1-inch wheelbase, the steering acts as if it’s paired to my brain, while the rear end as if I was driving a 911. In a flash I realize turn one, the “Michael Schumacher Corner,” is behind me. My foot goes crashing back onto the throttle, it’s going to be a good day.

As in the first generation, the 2019 Porsche Panamera GTS and GTS Sport Turismo are here to bridge the gap between the 4S and Turbo variants. And there are some significant differences between all three. The Panamera 4S counts on an excellent, Audi-sourced 2.9-liter twin-turbo V6 (which Motor1 recently sampled in the new Audi RS5) that cranks out 440 horsepower. The GTS and GTS Sport Turismo opt for the Panamera Turbo’s twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V8.

Here, it’s good for 453 hp and 457 pound-feet of torque, 13 ponies and a significant 73 lb-ft up on the 4S, but still far from the Turbo’s 550 hp. All Panameras em...