If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, Porsche's Panamera Turbo should be blushing a bright shade of Ruby Red Metallic. After all, the new 2013 Porsche Panamera GTS, which debuted at the 2011 Los Angeles auto show, is essentially a Panamera Turbo, albeit without any turbochargers.
You read that right. Although the four door sedan you see here bears more than a passing resemblance to Porsche's forced-induction four-door sedan, what's nestled underhood instead bears more resemblance to the Panamera S than the top-of-the-line Turbo and Turbo S.
That's not to say the GTS is wanting for power. In stock form, the 400-hp, dual-overhead cam 4.8-liter V-8 found in the Panamera S and 4S is a silky-smooth engine that delivers an impressive 400 hp and 368 lb-ft of torque.
Apparently, there was room left for improvement. By tweaking the engine computer, revising valve springs, modifying cam lobes, and installing both a new twin-induction air intake and a sports exhaust system, Porsche's engineers have made the normally aspirated 4.8-liter both more powerful and happier to rev. In GTS guise, the horsepower inches forward from 400 to 430 hp, torque is increased to 383 lb-ft, and the redline creeps upward 400 rpm to 7100 rpm.
As is the case with the Panamera Turbo, the Panamera GTS is only available with one transmission (Porsche's seven-speed PDK dual-clutch gearbox) and one driveline configuration (all-wheel). Porsche's trick torque-vectoring rear differential is standard fare, and helps the car rotate through corners. The GTS retains the Panamera 4S's air suspension system, but spring rates are firmer, ride height lowered by 10 mm, and Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control (PDCC) -- which works to combat body roll - is also included in the package. Porsche also raids the Panamera Turbo's parts bin for the 14-spoke, 19-inch aluminum wheels, and for braking hardware, which includes 15-inch front rotors and red-painted calipers.
Porsche's release alleges the Panamera GTS is "aerodynamically on par with the Turbo." We'd expect as much, considering the GTS uses quite a few of the Turbo's exterior body panels. The entire front clip is pulled from the Panamera Turbo Sport Design package, to provide plenty of air to the twin air intakes. The rear four-position spoiler is also borrowed from the Turbo, as are the LED-powered driving lamps.
Like the 911 GTS, the Panamera GTS is awash in black accents. The rear diffuser, window trim, side air outlet panels, rear deck lid decorative trim, headlamp bezels, and washer covers are all painted black. The side sills are also coated in black paint, and even the exhaust tips are finished in a matte black finish.
In typical Porsche fashion, the Panamera GTS interior is trimmed from head to toe in copious amounts of leather and alcantara. Seat inserts, upper door panels, headliner, and center console armrest are all covered in the suede-like material, and the standard sport steering wheel can be wrapped to match upon request. 18-way power adjustable sport seats are standard, as are bespoke door sill guards, gauge faces, and embroidered headrests.
Et Tu, Turbo?
So, the GTS looks the part of a Turbo - but can it walk the walk? Almost. Porsche says the Panamera GTS blasts from 0-62 mph in 4.5 seconds, and hits a top speed of 179 mph. That's pretty darn close to the metrics touted for the Panamera Turbo: according to Porsche, its twin-turbocharged wunderkind moves from 0-60 mph in 4 seconds, and can wind its way up to a top speed of 188 mph.
Pricing hasn't been revealed, but it's a safe bet the Panamera GTS will ring in somewhere between the Panamera 4S ($96,175, including destination) and the Turbo ($137,675). Though the notion of buying Turbo-like prowess on the cheap may woo some buyers, the GTS' appeal may be in how it offers greater performance without becoming an exercise in mechanical lunacy. It's something we've come to appreciate in other Porsche GTS models - particularly the 911 - and it's what we hope we can expect from the 2013 Panamera GTS.