Just as we've become comfortable with there being Porsche luxury sedans and SUVs, the company has started to throw more curveballs at us. While the 911 and the 718 sports cars still tug at our heartstrings, they've now been joined by an electric Porsche in the form of the Taycan sedan, multiple Cross and Sport Turismo station wagons, and whatever the Cayenne coupe is trying to be. Against this backdrop, the four-door Panamera, even in its most driver-focused GTS configuration, is starting to seem positively conventional—possibly even a bit irrelevant.
Conversely, the 2021 GTS did beat out its predecessor on the skidpad and under braking. Riding on 20-inch Michelin Pilot Sport 4S summer tires, it outgripped the 2019 model by 0.01 g (1.02 g) and stopped from 70 mph in nine fewer feet (145 feet). Those are sports-car-worthy figures, and they combine with the gutsy V-8, the clairvoyant dual-clutch gearbox, and the GTS's fluid steering action to produce a stirring driving experience on pretty much any road.
Putting our test car's performance numbers into context is complicated by the strength of its competition, though. For example, the electric Taycan 4S, which starts at $105,150 to the Panamera GTS's $130,650, is only 0.2 second slower to 60 mph, and it pulled 1.03 g on the skidpad. What's more, the Taycan packs a greater visual punch for most onlookers. While the second-generation Panamera's proportions are undoubtedly more attractive than the original's hunchback design, we think that the Taycan is a far better-looking interpretation of a four-door Porsche, even if it is considerably smaller inside. But if highway range is what you're after, the Panamera GTS dominates the Taycan 4S's 220 miles between charges. We averaged 30 mpg at 75 mph, which translates to a bladder-busting 710 miles between fueling.
It's also worth noting that the winner of our most recent high-performance-luxury-four-door comparison test, the Audi RS7, will only set you back $115,045 to start. That 591-hp Audi also beats the Panamera GTS in our acceleration tests, as it should, yet maintains an impressive degree of luxury-car comfort.
It wasn't long ago that the Panamera was abuzz with attention, both positive and negative, as it brought Porsche into a new, profitable market segment. But as the brand enters a new era, the luster of its once controversial four-door hatchback is beginning to fade as more enticing alternatives crop up both within the Porsche lineup and elsewhere in the high-performance luxury space. Along with the Taycan, we imagine the strength of the Cayenne lineup, including the new-for-2021 GTS model, will continue to hamper Panamera sales, which amounted to a paltry 3870 units last year—less than every other Porsche model except for the 718 sports cars. As engaging as the GTS is to drive for a sports sedan, we won't be shocked if the Panamera doesn't return for a third generation.