2018 Porsche Panamera Turbo Sport Turismo: Yin to Gridlife’s Yang
The world is full of clutter, be it visual, aural or physical. Nowhere is that more true than at an event like Gridlife. Make no mistake, we love the all-encompassing car culture events, but when you reach a certain age of, ahem, maturity, it’s easy to get to the point of too much of a good thing. That fact made the Porsche Panamera Turbo Sport Turismo the perfect car to take to Gridlife South at Road Atlanta because it served as a respite to the constant chaos, yet also fits in with the enthusiast scene.
Any regular reader knows we quite fancy the latest Panamera. It feels luxurious inside, but not soft. Its ride is supple, and the interior is awash with creature comforts, all easy to find via the large center console screen. Even getting in the Panamera offers an extra level of refinement with soft-close doors and trunk -- you just have to close them hard enough to reach the first latch. The Turbo Sport Turismo offers plenty of space inside for the first and second row, as well as cargo room in back. A little too much, even, as I wish Porsche made the Panamera a couple inches shorter.
But luxury and size become nothing more than an afterthought once you get moving. Like a stealth fighter jet, the Turbo Sport Turismo is both shockingly fast and quiet. Virtually no disturbing noise creeps into the interior at freeway speeds, making carrying on a conversation effortless. Even the 550-hp V8 engine stays muted and refined. But that alone is not what made the Panamera a perfect fit for Gridlife South.
A Lexus LX570 or Lincoln Continental would also serve as an escape pod from the event’s perpetual motion noisemaker machine, but either of those cars would stick out like a sore thumb. The Turbo Sport Turismo blends in and acts cool. I was at Gridlife with MOMO, an Italian brand that makes steering wheels (and now other equipment). They took one look at the car and asked me to park the Panamera under its tent, to become a part of the display.
This is why Porsche pulls off events like Rennsport -- its cars can play multiple roles. Be it a gathering of racing enthusiasts or concours junkies or straight-up gearheads, Porsches still fit in. A beautiful 356 at the Empire Hill Climb is a good example. OK, some may think Porsche takes itself too seriously, or at least its owners do, but nearly everyone at least respects the Zuffenhausen sports car maker.
And when you become a certain age, you’ll appreciate it even more.