Following our recent test of the excellent new Porsche Panamera Turbo, we spend a weekend with TechArt’s latest Panamera-based development; the 2014 TechArt GrandGT!
Launched at the 2013 Geneva Motor Show in March it is their first take on the second generation Porsche Panamera. With 620hp and 900Nm the TechArt GrandGT has a killer potential.
Like the ‘normal’ Porsche Panamera Turbo the TechArt GrandGT has a 4.8 liter V8 turbocharged engine under the bonnet. The GrandGT comes with TechArt’s Techtronic engine management system that increases power from 520 to 620hp and lifts maximum torque from 770Nm to 900Nm.
The Techtronic engine management system is installed besides the original Porsche ECU so it does not affect vehicle diagnostics and servicing. The additional power is activated by pressing the Sport or Sport Plus button on the center console.
The exact performance figures for the 2014 TechArt GrandGT have not yet been released and we haven’t been able to measure them during our test drive. But with the Panamera Turbo accelerating from 0-100 km/h in 4,1 seconds TechArt is confident the power increase will drop the 0-100 km/h sprint significantly below the 4 second mark.
The electronically limited top speed remains at 305 km/h.
Gearbox & Drivetrain
The TechArt GrandGT comes with the new Porsche 7-speed PDK gearbox as standard. The new PDK now also comes with so called virtual intermediate gears for further improved fuel economy and comfort. They are used to reduce revs during quieter modes of driving up to a speed of around 80 km/h, if shifting to the next higher gear would drop revs below the engines lower rev limit. To do this, the transmission controller engages adjacent gear levels, controls both clutches for defined slip and transmits the drive power in this way. When the driver accelerates, the Doppelkupplung downshifts to the suitable gear with lightning speed.
One of the key features of the new TechArt GrandGT is the Sport exhaust system which provide a much louder tune. The volume can be controlled with the Sport and Sport Plus buttons. In normal mode valves in the exhaust close to reduce the volume.
Chassis & Suspension
The TechArt GrandGT comes with air suspension with PASM as standard. PASM allows you to change the stiffness of the suspension between normal, sport and sport plus. An additional ‘high’ settings allows you to raise the vehicle to get over bumps or ramps at low speeds.
Our TechArt GrandGT came equipped with TechArt Formula III Forged Wheels in 22”. The increased size of the wheels makes the ride itself a bit harder but the excellent air suspension still offers plenty of comfort.
TechArt traditionally offers two packages for most of their vehicles; an extreme widebody variant and a more subtle body kit. Our GrandGT came with the more extreme kit including the widebody, side skirts and large rear wing.
The design of the Panamera has always been a subject of discussion and with the TechArt GrandGT it will be no different. Personally the rear of the GrandGT is more my taste than the standard and recently redesigned rear of the Panamera Turbo.
On the inside we find personalized floor mats, orange carbon dashboard inlays and TechArt dials. In terms of interior personalization anything is possible. Our test vehicle had standard Porsche Panamera Turbo seats, but these can be replaced with custom TechArt seats in any color you can wish for on request.
Our GrandGT also came with the TechArt steering wheel, based on the PDK button steering wheel with flappy paddles. The new Panamera Turbo steering wheel offers a better feel on the paddles so we hope TechArt offers a new steering wheel with aluminium paddles here shortly.
We start our road test with the TechArt GrandGT on a warm November night in Munich. The white GrandGT is quite the presence in the garage, compared to the Jaguar XJ next to it it looks like a giant. Open the drivers door and you are greeted by the familiar Porsche interior with four bucket seats and a dominant center console.
TechArt refined the interior with some coloured carbon parts, we are not immediately a fan of the orange carbon fibre used but we rest assured that it can be ordered in any colour you want. The GrandGT is based on a full option Panamera Turbo with nearly every option imaginable equipped on this grand tourer.
Fire up the engine and a loud growl echoes through the garage, nearly enough to set of the alarms of nearby cars. We reverse out of the spot and head for the exit. One thing that often takes some getting used to is the unusual width and low stance of tuned cars. The TechArt GrandGT is no different but the adjustable height and 360 degree cameras make it much easier to manouvre in tight spaces.
Out on the streets we are pleasantly surprised by the way other people react to the white beast from Leonberg. Pedestrians and other drivers alike seem to enjoy the presence of this car. Time after time people give us way and urge us to go ahead of them. Surprising as we had different experiences with cars in this city.
Leaving the city center behind us we head out to the open roads, the engine now properly warm we can check what 100hp extra does the the driving experience of the turbo. The acceleration of the Panamera Turbo is already nothing to be ashamed off but the TechArt GrandGT rockets off the line like nothing else with four seats.
Higher up in the rev range the sound is overwhelming and represents a mixture between an American muscle V8 and a European race car. We praised the Panamera Turbo especially for its handling and this phenomenal cornering is still there with the GrandGT. We aready pointed out the TechArt GrandGT runs on slightly larger wheels with thinner tires making the ride a bit harder.
Out on the autobahn and everything set to Sport Plus there is very little that can stop the TechArt GrandGT. The gearbox shifts smoothly until we reach well above 250 km/h. Only flaw in the gearbox, which is not modified by TechArt, is that in Sport Plus it holds on to low gears for too long without shifting up. This can easily be switched by switching Sport Plus off, but sometimes you like the sound without the hardcore shifting program.
Thanks to some rain showers over the weekend we were also able to test the performance of this AWD monster in the wet. Despite the wide tires the grip is phenomenal, only accelerating from stand still the rear wheels show a little sign of spin.
Returning home in the rain we can recap on our weekend with the TechArt GrandGT. It is more than just a Porsche Panamera Turbo in a different jacket. It adds the power and the sound, which upgrade the experience to a new level. Inside you can style it just the way you want it, orange carbon not your cup of tea? No problem! The wide body makes the GrandGT turn quite a few heads, more than any standard Panamera ever has probably.
How does it compare to the Panamera Turbo S?
Recently Porsche launched an even more powerful version of their Panamera Turbo; the 2014 Porsche Panamera Turbo S. With 570hp and a maximum torque of 800Nm moves in the direction of the GrandGT but not quite. The GrandGT packs 50hp and 100Nm of torque more than the Panamera Turbo S.
Besides the performance it is also the styling and level of individualization that sets the GrandGT apart. Yes, Porsche is offering more and more individual options through Porsche Exclusive but as individual as the GrandGT you won’t be able to get your Panamera from Porsche just yet.
The TechArt GrandGT builds on the excellent new Porsche Panamera Turbo. It adds more performance, more sound and most of all an opportunity to set yourself apart from the Panameras out there.