Panamera Turbo S sets Road Atlanta record

And goes faster than a Taycan in the process. There's life in the V8 yet!

By Matt Bird / Saturday, January 23, 2021 / Loading comments

Nobody buys a two-tonne, four-door saloon for its circuit ability, but that isn't to deny the sizeable appeal of seeing luxobarges outpace supercars on track. Back in 2018, the AMG GT 4-door lapped the Nordschleife in a stupendous 7:30.11; as if to prove what an achievement that was, Porsche could only get a Panamera Turbo S around the 13 miles a third of a second quicker last August. Then AMG went back and took another couple of seconds off – because it could. It's little more, really, than elite-grade showing off by the Teutonic titans. And, secretly, hard not to admire. Remember a Porsche Carrera GT only did 7:28…

Anyway, Porsche is at it again. With driving assigned to Leh Keen, the latest Panamera Turbo S has set a production saloon lap record with a 1:31.51 lap at Road Atlanta. So we can all expect AMG to set up camp in Georgia, post-haste, to get that below 1:30. The Panamera flagship was helped in its endeavour by the equipment that comes as standard with a Turbo S – ceramic brakes, four-wheel steering, torque vectoring, active anti-roll and, er, 630hp – but also one very notable option: Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tyres. Yep, the same sort of rubber you find on 'ring record hot hatches and limited run supercars. If a customer so desires, they can be optionally fitted to the new Panamera Turbo S at the dealer. Really.

Perhaps the most interesting revelation from all this, though, is not that Porsche offers track day rubber on a limo – rather it's that its petrol-powered four-door flagship is quicker around a lap than its electrically-powered one. Last year a Taycan Turbo S, again with Leh Keen driving, lapped Road Atlanta in 1:33.88. Still a quick time – and its production EV record stands even in light of the Panamera's lap – but more than two seconds off the pace of the petrol Porsche. Given how the two cars feel on the road, that's quite a surprise. Clearly there's life in the old dog yet.

Reviewing the lap (and apparently the whole car), Keen said: "The stability gave me a ton of confidence to use every bit of the asphalt and curbs. And yet the car has a completely different and more refined and relaxed character on the highway – an amazing combination." So there you go: when track days are back on the calendar, maybe – just maybe – a Panamera with Cup 2s fitted will be alongside in the paddock. Good luck keeping up…

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