The future of the sporty wagon isn’t looking all that healthy. With the rise in popularity of the SUV, estates seem to be being left behind - neither Alfa Romeo nor Jaguar will build wagon versions of their respective compact saloons, and I’m sure I don’t need to remind you that BMW hasn’t made an M5 Touring since 2010.
But fear not, as there are shining examples of hot estatery out there like the Mercedes-AMG E63, and now, there’s a new way of transporting large dogs at speed: the Porsche Panamera Sport Turismo.
It’s something we’ve been expecting for a while what with various spy shots and testing videos doing the rounds, but now it’s here, we’re rather pleased. Next to Stuttgart’s big volume sellers - the Cayenne and Macan SUVs - the Panamera ST is going to be a niche product, so we applaud Porsche for making it.
Under the skin, it’s largely the same as the Panamera saloon. That means you get fancy features like rear axle steering and electronic roll stabilisation, plus a standard-fit all-wheel drive system with an electronically-controlled clutch.
The engine line-up is familiar, too. The range kicks off with the 325bhp V6-engined 4, with the 434bhp V6 4S sitting just above. The 542bhp V8-powered Turbo tops the range, while there’s also the option of a 416bhp, 627lb ft 4S Diesel and a 456bhp E-Hybrid. No word on performance figures yet, but expect them all to accelerate slightly slower than the equivalent saloons, owing to the inevitable weight gain.
Where the Sport Turismo is different is from the B-pillar backwards, where you’ll find an all-new derrière penned by Mitja Borkert, the same chap behind the stunning Mission-E concept. In the wagon Panamera’s new rear you’ll find 520 litres of luggage space (420 in the E-Hybrid), which expands to 1390 litres if you fold the rear seats down.
There’s also a “luggage compartment management system” available on request, which consists or two rails in the boot floor, various lashing points and a partition net. In other words, you can do your supermarket shop and drive home jolly fast without all your groceries flying around the boot and turning the car into a 542bhp food blender.
In the back you’ll find something else the Panamera saloon doesn’t have: a third seat. It’s not the most comfortable looking, however: thanks to the transmission tunnel some serious straddling will be involved for the unfortunate sap who has to sit there. As such, Porsche refers to the Sport Turismo as a ‘4+1’, and you can option the car as a strict four-seater should you wish.
Finally, there’s a new electronically-operated roof spoiler. It’s not quite as fancy as the Transformer-spec item on the Panamera Turbo saloon, but it is clever. It deploys in its ‘performance position’ of plus one degree at speeds over 106mph, helping “driving stability and lateral dynamics”. If you’re in Sport or Sport Plus mode that drops to 56mph, and if you’ve opened the sunroof it changes to an angle of plus 26 degrees to reduce wind noise.
The Sport Turismo here in October, and will be priced slightly above the saloon. If you fancy a glimpse in the metal, it’ll be on display at the Geneva Motor Show next week.