2012 Porsche
Panamera GTS

16 city / 23 hwy
4.8L, V8, 430 hp

GTS stands for Grand-Touring Sport. This new 2012 Porsche Panamera GTS has lots of black-out trim, a rumbling grumbling exhaust note, and it’ll top 175 miles an hour, not that many of us will ever test it. Most stellar is that the Porsche Panamera GTS gets 29 mpg hwy – fantastically fuel efficient for such a true sports sedan. It’s the bad-ass luxury sport sedan for when you and up to three lucky friends have a long way to go and a short time to get there, and want to do so in style, speed, safety, and comfort.

By Matt Stone

The Big Picture

This is a choice family sedan for the woman who thrills at acceleration, the sound of a brawny sportscar engine, and a more masculine vibe. The new GTS’s essence stems from the V-8 engined, all-wheel drive Porsche Panamera 4S, then cranks the heat way up. The engine is larger, and power goes from the Panamera 4S’s already raucous 400 hp to a faster 430 horsepower. Porsche then blacks out most of the exterior trim and bolts on a set of loud rumbly exhaust pipes, and there’s some more aggressive body armor too. It’s all very manly, so you’ll catch more than a few glances as you step out in your Manolos to surprise passersby that a woman drives this baby.

The wheels and tires get bigger for improved high-speed stability, and the ride height is lower for racier handling. If you’re a racy driver and really like to haul buns, this is the Panamera to buy.

An Inside Job

The standard Panamera GTS interior is already lovely, but these digs get more sumptuous and racier in GTS form. The seating is a combination of leather and Alcantara Suede, which is luxurious and grippy when you’re really slinging through the curves. The nappy Alcantara also now covers the roof lining and other bits. There’s a variety of instrument panel trims, from genuine aluminum, to “Piano black” glossy panels on the dash and doors. The optional suede and leather steering wheel is one of the nicest you’ll ever wrap your fingers around. There’s a special deluxe stitching option available that looks even prettier.

Family Friendliness

Considering its stupendous performance, the 2012 Porsche Panamera GTS is reasonably family friendly, as long as your family comprises no more than four people; the rear seats are buckets, so there’s no room for a fifth in back. The Panamera is a four-door sedan with a significant sloping rear roofline, but rear headroom remains acceptable for all but the very tallest occupants. In other words, your kids will fit just fine back there. Tell them to sit down and hold on: Mommy’s driving!

The hatchback rear trunk area is adequate for a weekend’s worth of soft luggage, but if you really need cargo room, consider a Cayenne S instead.

Driving Experience

The GTS’s 4.8-liter naturally aspirated V-8 engine lights with a throaty bark, and GTS first timers may look around for the Corvette or classic Camaro parked next to them that may have just fired up. The Panamera’s so-called PDK 7-Speed transmission is an amazingly versatile dance partner; you can drop it into drive and it will perform like any other automatic, or play it up and down the gears using the shifter or the shifter paddles on the steering wheel.

Mash your strappy-sandaled foot on the gas pedal and you’ll hit 60 miles an hour from a dead stop in about 4.3 seconds, which is crazy fast for a car this large and heavy. Keep your Dior boot planted and the GTS won’t run out of steam until 178 mph.

As racy and responsive as the Porsche Panamera GTS is, it exhibits perfect manners at all times. It’s loud – and glorious sounding – but never over the top. And if you drive it somewhat gently, you’ll experience something shocking, a sports sedan that the EPA rates as attaining 29 mpg hwy. Fuel efficient and sports sedan don’t usually end up in the same sentence. The 2012 Porsche Panamera GTS’ 19 mpg/city EPA rating also is good for such a large and fast car.

The sporty suspension hugs the curves like a racecar, but doesn’t bounce too much, so your passengers won’t hate you if you drive a little spirited on a twisty road.

The 2012 Porsche Panamera GTS is a sport/luxury sedan to be sure, just a really fast one. Drive it like you stole it, or dawdle it around town like grandma’s car all day long – it’ll never complain about either mood. It’s an elegant, barely-tethered cheetah ready to strike or happy to stroll. And what a mile-eater – this car is made for long drives to the City or short weekends to the Country or wherever. The standard all-wheel drive means it’ll handle the slick roads on the way to the ski cabin with aplomb.


The 2012 Porsche Panamera GTS offers two types of safety measures and philosophy; active safety, (that which helps keep you out of an accident in the first place) and passive safety (the goodies and equipment that helps protect you if a crash proves inevitable.) On the active side, the Panamera’s knife-edged handling and wide grippy tires might help you steer clear of trouble. And the huge four-wheel disc antilock brakes (ABS) will stop you as quickly as any sedan on the road at any price.

Then there’s Porsche Active Stability Management (PASM)too, an amalgam of computerized braking, traction and throttle control electrowizardry that will detect a spin or a skid and help you drive out of it. On the passive side is a solid body/chassis structure designed to help protect its occupants, plus a full complement of ten of the latest and greatest airbags and such. Riding inside this car is like being in a really fast bank vault.

Gizmos and Tech

The highly powered, multi speaker audio system sounds symphonic, and will team with virtually any Bluetooth phone or music device you pack in your Prada. And the Panamera offers a highly capable, easy to program nav system that should get you from anyplace to anywhere with ease. There’s another doohickey that you may or may not even care about that’ll show you how aggressively the car accelerates and corners.

Pricing and Trim Levels

The 2012 Porsche Panamera GTS is one of eight Panamera models sold in the U.S, and it’s the best performing of all the non-turbocharged models. The Turbos are even crazier fast, but we like this crisply performing, responsive non-turbo version. The 2012 Panamera GTS lists for $110,875 and is very well equipped. But there a ton of extras including special interior stitching, exclusive exterior paint colors, and all sorts of goodies that’ll drive the price nearer to $150K if you wish.
red panamera

Final Thoughts

The engine roars with delightful fury and the car zooms with all the speed it can muster

A lush, luxurious cabin packing everything a luxury sedan should have

Speed costs money – how fast do you want to go? And it drinks a ton of gas

Sporty Drive

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