The 2012 Porsche Panamera Turbo S marks the arrival of yet another trim level on the high-performance, controversially styled four-door, proving once again Porsche's penchant for producing trim levels for every conceivable micro-niche of enthusiasts.
In nomenclature patterned after the 911, the 2012 Panamera Turbo S denotes bumped-up performance, and price, from its letterless turbo sibling. It uses the same 4.8-liter, twin-turbocharged V8 engine, tweaked to churn out an extra 50 horsepower for a maximum total of 550 hp. Torque is upped to 553 pound-feet, from 516 lb-ft on the Panamera Turbo, although Porsche says the standard Sport Chrono package (more evidence of Porsche's love for an infinite combination of packages and options), offers an overboost mode that's good for a temporary torque rating of 590 lb.-ft.
Along with a modified engine control, the increased power in the 2012 Porsche Panamera Turbo S can also be attributed to updated turbochargers with turbines made from a combination of titanium and aluminum. These materials are lighter and provide a quicker turbo response that improves the engine's agility. Using the launch control feature, Porsche estimates the 0-60 mph time for the 2012 Panamera Turbo S at a mere 3.6 seconds, with a top track speed of 190 mph. Backseat passengers are sure to be duly impressed, if they're still speaking to you by the time the car stops.
Despite the bump in performance, Porsche claims EPA fuel economy ratings will remain comparable to the Panamera Turbo with an EPA rating of 15 mpg city, 23 mpg highway and 18 mpg combined. Official EPA ratings are expected to be released when the car hits dealerships.
Porsche is known for its bevy of high-tech, electronic control systems, and the 2012 Panamera Turbo S is no exception. Features include Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control (PDCC), an active system that reduces lateral body roll around corners, as well as Torque Vectoring Plus (PTV Plus), a system that varies torque split to the rear wheels during cornering which, along with an electronically controlled rear differential lock, helps to maintain traction and ensure high performance when cornering. Also standard is Porsche's speed-sensitive Servotronic steering system.
Any Porsche wouldn't be an S without exterior differentiations. The 2012 Panamera Turbo S rides on 20-inch wheels with increased rear axle track width and is dressed with side skirts and the extending rear spoiler.
The 2012 Porsche Panamera Turbo S will go on sale in the U.S. in late spring of 2011, and will have a MSRP of $173,200 plus $975 destination and delivery fee, a nearly $40,000 premium on the Panamera Turbo, and close to a 30-percent price increase for a 10-percent boost in performance.