The Porsche 718 series started life as the Boxster way back in early 1996, the first of which arrived at the Geneva auto salon in March before going on sale as a 1997 model later that year. The Cayman…

2018 Porsche 718 Cayman and 718 Boxster Buyer’s Guide Overview

2018 Porsche 718 Boxster GTS
Porsche has returned with its sportiest GTS for 2018, wholly improving 718 Boxster S and 718 Cayman S style and performance. (Photo: Porsche)

The Porsche 718 series started life as the Boxster way back in early 1996, the first of which arrived at the Geneva auto salon in March before going on sale as a 1997 model later that year. The Cayman came much later, showing up in 2005 as a 2006 model along with the second-generation Boxster. 

Fast forward to 2016, which saw Porsche add the 718 prefix in honour of the classic 1957-1962 racing car of the same name for the completely redesigned 2017 model, and along with the new moniker and much improved styling the Zuffenhausen brand’s engineering team replaced an outgoing line of naturally aspirated flat sixes for a new lighter weight, more potent and more efficient horizontally opposed turbocharged four-cylinder. 

2018 Porsche 718 Cayman GTS
The 718 Cayman, whether in base, S or GTS trim (shown), is basically a Boxster with a fixed roof. (Photo: Porsche)

The updated 718 models use a 2.0-litre turbo for base trims, good for a robust 300 horsepower and 280 lb-ft of torque and resultant 5.1-second sprint from standstill to 100km/h with its standard six-speed manual, or 4.9 seconds to 100km/h with the optional seven-speed dual-clutch automated PDK transmission, finalizing in a top speed of 275 km/h. When fitted with the automatic, both base cars offer an available Sport Chrono Package that reduces zero to 100km/h times to just 4.7 seconds. 

2018 Porsche 718 Boxster GTS
GTS trim combines a red on black theme with plenty of leather and rich suede-like Alcantara. (Photo: Porsche)

Even the entry-level 718 is a formidable sports car thanks its reasonably small 4,379 mm by 1,801 mm dimensions, hardly heavy 1,335 kilos of unladen weight, ideally balanced mid-engine layout, quick reacting electromechanical power steering with variable steering ratio, well sorted MacPherson strut front and long-short arm multi-link rear suspension setup, standard Porsche Active Suspension Management, capable 330-mm front and 299-mm rear internally vented and cross-drilled rotors clamped down on by four-piston calipers, enhanced Porsche Stability Management featuring ABS, ASR, ABD, and an MSR pre-filling brake system with brake assist, plus amply sized 18-inch standard alloys on 235/45 and 265/45 ZR rated rubber front to rear. 

2018 Porsche 718 Boxster GTS
Porsche gives the GTS tachometer dial a sporty red spin. (Photo: Porsche)

Those wanting more performance can opt for the 718 Boxster S or 718 Cayman S, which ups engine displacement to 2.5-litres and bumps output to 350 horsepower and 309 lb-ft of torque, resulting in a new zero to 100km/h sprint time of 4.6 seconds with the manual, 4.4 seconds with the automated PDK, and 4.2 seconds with the latter transmission and Sport Chrono Package, while terminal velocity gets pushed up to 285 km/h. 

2018 Porsche 718 Boxster GTS
718 Boxster GTS gets unique sport seats with the trim level embroidered into the headrests. (Photo: Porsche)

This was the car Porsche introduced for 2017, and for the most part it’s still the same model being offered for the 2018 model year. Then again, Porsche never stands still. For 2018 the GTS trim line has been added back to the lineup, upping straight-line performance with an extra 15 horsepower over the 718 S for a total of 365 ponies, which is 35 horsepower more than the previous Boxster and Cayman GTS line. Likewise, torque is up by 8 lb-ft to 317, but only when mated to the PDK. The off-the-line result is the same 4.6 seconds from standstill to 100km/h for the manual, but the GTS PDK sprints to 100km/h in just 4.3 seconds, and a mere 4.1 seconds when upgraded with the Sport Chrono package, whereas the GTS model’s top-speed is 290 km/h no matter the modifications. 

2018 Porsche 718 Cayman S
The 718 Cayman S provides similar performance to the GTS, with slightly more understated styling. (Photo: Porsche)

Along with the extra go-power the new 718 Boxster GTS and 718 Cayman GTS get a number of features from the lesser models’ options menu as standard equipment, including a mechanical-locking rear differential, Porsche Torque Vectoring, a 10-mm lower sport suspension system with Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM), and 20-inch alloy wheels wrapped in 235/35 front and 265/35 rear ZR-rated rubber. Additionally, 718 GTS models feature unique black exterior trim, a red on black interior theme with suede-like Alcantara trim, and more unique styling. 

2018 Porsche 718 Boxster S
Can you see yourself behind the wheel of a new 718 Boxster? (Photo: Porsche)

As you might imagine the GTS isn’t the most fuel-efficient 718 on the block, but at 12.3 L/100km in the city, 9.4 on the highway and 11.0 combined for the manual, or 11.8, 9.2 and 10.6 respectively for the PDK, it’s hardly a gas-guzzler either. The base model is the thriftiest with a claimed Transport Canada five-cycle rating of 11.0 L/100km city, 8.3 highway and 9.8 combined when mated to the manual, or 10.5 city, 8.0 highway and 9.4 combined for the PDK, whereas 718 S models bridge the gap with a rating of 12.1 city, 9.0 highway and 10.7 combined with the manual, or 11.0, 8.4 and 9.9 respectively with the PDK. Aiding fuel economy is standard auto start/stop that temporarily shuts the engine off when it would otherwise be idling, and then automatically restarts it when ready to go. 

2018 Porsche 718 Boxster
This is the base 718 Boxster. Sporty enough for you? (Photo: Porsche)

As is the case with most brands and model lineups the two-door coupe 718 Cayman is the more affordable of the two, starting at just $63,700 plus freight and fees (see CarCostCanada.com for all 718 Cayman pricing, plus dealer invoice pricing and money-saving rebate info), while a 718 Boxster (click this CarCostCanada.com link for 2018 718 Boxster pricing in detail) can be had for only $66,100. The PDK adds $3,660 no matter the trim. After that the 718 Cayman S starts at $78,600 and 718 Boxster S at $81,000, while a 718 Cayman GTS can be had for $92,600 and 718 Boxster GTS for $95,000. 

2018 Porsche 718 Cayman
The base 718 Cayman offers a lot of sports car value for the asking price. (Photo: Porsche)

As with all Porsche models even the base 718 comes well equipped with features like a three-spoke leather-wrapped multifunction sport steering wheel (inspired by the 918 Spyder supercar), a 4.6-inch high-resolution colour TFT multi-info display, a state-of-the-art infotainment touchscreen and interface with stylish graphics, a backup camera with active guidelines, Bluetooth phone connectivity with streaming audio, eight-speaker 150-watt audio, sport seats with partial leather upholstery, an electromechanical parking brake, hill start assist, front and rear parking sensors, a deep and roomy 150-litre cargo compartment up front and an even larger 275-litre trunk in the back, plus much more. 

2018 Porsche 718 Boxster GTS
No matter the trim, the new 718 models provide exceptionally well made interiors with the latest in infotainment, including Apple CarPlay. (Photo: Porsche)

Above this, Porsche offers HID headlights with dynamic cornering capability for better nighttime visibility, rain-sensing wipers, auto-dimming mirrors, heatable seats, dual-zone auto climate control, navigation, 14-way powered sport seats with memory, and much, much more, plus you can personalize your 718 with one of 21 unique interiors, and that doesn’t include your ability to pick and choose through various inlay trims. Porsche offers four different types of seats, and four Premium packages, with the list of extras seeming to go on infinitum. 

2018 Porsche 718 Cayman
Porsche offers more colour and materials options than most rivals, allowing you to completely personalize your 718. (Photo: Porsche)

The biggest question you’ll need to ask yourself is whether you’re a coupe or convertible person, because each 718 body type has its advantages. The 718 Boxster can lower its roof and allow true wind-in-the-hair freedom, whereas the 718 Cayman provides a slightly more rigid body structure for some minor performance gains. 

Either way you’ll get brilliantly sharp handling, nearly perfect balance and handling characteristics, superb ergonomics, excellent comfort, and plenty of practical storage. If Porsche didn’t already build the 911, the 718 might be the ideal sports car, and considering its mid-engine performance and exceptional value proposition that point could still be reasonably argued.

If you want the sportiest compact luxury SUV on the market, look no further than the 2018 Porsche Macan. Its quick in all of its trims, blisteringly fast in some, and handles like you’d expect from…

2018 Porsche Macan Buyer’s Guide Overview

2018 Porsche Macan
The 2018 Porsche Macan is arguably the sportiest entry in the compact luxury SUV class. (Photo: Porsche)

If you want the sportiest compact luxury SUV on the market, look no further than the 2018 Porsche Macan. Its quick in all of its trims, blisteringly fast in some, and handles like you’d expect from the quintessential sports car brand—brilliantly. It’s also stylishly sleek, roomy and comfortable, and beautifully finished inside. 

At just $54,100, the Macan is also the most affordable Porsche model available in Canada. Entry trims feature a spirited direct-injected and turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine with VarioCam technology and kinetic energy recovery that’s good for 252 horsepower and 273 lb-ft of torque, the latter number more than most competitors have on offer. This allows an energetic sprint from zero to 100km/h of just 6.7 seconds, or 6.5 with the $1,500 Sport Chrono Package that features Sport and Off-Road buttons within the drive mode selector, as well as launch control and a unique performance display within the infotainment touchscreen. No matter whether the base Macan is standard or equipped with the Sport Chrono Package, it tops out at a speedy 229 km/h. 

2018 Porsche Macan
The Macan pulls plenty of styling cues from other Porsche sports car models, giving it a unique identity within the compact luxury SUV segment. (Photo: Porsche)

Those wanting more straight-line performance can opt for the Macan S with its twin-turbocharged 3.0-litre V6 boasting 340 horsepower and 339 lb-ft of torque, this choice resulting in a standstill to 100km/h sprint time of just 5.4 seconds, or 5.2 seconds with the Sport Chrono Package, and a new top speed of 254 km/h. 

Most brands would be satisfied with this impressive level of performance, but most brands aren’t Porsche. Enter the Macan GTS, featuring an extra 20 horsepower and 30 lb-ft of torque for a total of 360 of the former and 369 of the latter, resulting in a zero to 100km/h time of just 5.2 seconds, or 5.0 seconds flat with the Sport Chrono Package, and an improved terminal velocity of 256 km/h. 

2018 Porsche Macan
The Macan is quite capable off road too. (Photo: Porsche)

Lastly, the Macan Turbo (Turbo being a designated model name despite all Macan trims featuring turbocharged engines) leaves all other compact luxury SUVs in the proverbial dust thanks to a larger 3.6-litre twin-turbo V6 that’s good for 400 horsepower and 406 lb-ft of torque, resulting in a zero to 100km/h launch time of 4.8 seconds, or 4.6 seconds with the Sport Chrono Package, plus an even faster top speed of 266 km/h. 

Not quick enough? Porsche being Porsche means that you can always count on some upgrades and special editions, the Performance Package, or alternatively the Exclusive Performance Edition adding a substantive 40 horsepower and 36 lb-ft of torque to Turbo trim for a new total of 440 horsepower and 442 lb-ft of torque, and a resultant response off the line of just 4.4 seconds to 100km/h—the Sport Chrono Package is standard with both. 

2018 Porsche Macan
Classic Porsche gauges are joined by a modern multi-information display within the rightmost dial. (Photo: Porsche)

All Macans come standard with a quick shifting yet smooth and refined seven-speed dual-clutch automated PDK transmission with steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters plus fuel-saving and emissions reducing auto start/stop with coasting capability that shuts off the engine when it would otherwise be idling, while Active all-wheel drive keeps all four wheels firmly planted on the tarmac. 

Likewise, all Macan trims feature an aluminum double-wishbone front suspension and multi-link rear setup, although an optional air suspension with adaptive dampers (standard on the GTS) improves both ride, handling and off-road capability via adjustable ride heights and various suspension stiffness settings. 

2018 Porsche Macan
Porsche’s angled centre console puts most everything right at hand, while Apple CarPlay is incorporated within the infotainment touchscreen. (Photo: Porsche)

Wheel sizes range from the base model’s 18-inch alloys to larger diameter 19- and 20-inch alloys with upper trims, while optional rims and rubber are available up to 21 inches. The standard brakes include four-piston front calipers and single units at the rear, but these can be upgraded to larger discs with beefier six-piston calipers up front, while the standard rotors measure 345 mm at the front and 330 mm in back, and increase to 360 mm front and 356 mm at the rear in GTS and Turbo trims. 

Of course, the four-cylinder is the fuel miser of the bunch, with a Transport Canada claimed rating of 11.6 L/100km in the city, 9.3 on the highway and 10.5 combined, but the single-turbo V6 is hardly a guzzler at 13.7 L/100km city, 10.4 highway and 12.2 combined, and the slightly more powerful GTS good for an estimated 13.8 city, 10.3 highway and 12.3 combined. Even the ultra-potent Turbo isn’t punishing at the pumps, with a rating of 14.2 L/100km city, 10.1 highway and 12.4 combined, while the most powerful Turbo with the Performance Package is actually thriftier than the Turbo at just 14.1 L/100km in the city, 10.1 on the highway, and 12.3 combined. 

2018 Porsche Macan
If the regular clock atop the dash is replaced by this chronograph dial, you’re sitting in a Sport Chrono Package upgraded Macan. (Photo: Porsche)

Of course, the various trims’ mechanicals are only one aspect of all that’s on offer, with the base model also featuring standard 18-inch alloys, fog lamps, LED taillights with adaptive brake lights, heatable powered side-mirrors, an electromechanical parking brake, a heatable leather-wrapped multifunction steering wheel, a colour multi-information display, rain-sensing wipers, a HomeLink garage door opener, tri-zone auto climate control with active carbon and pollen filtration, a 7.0-inch infotainment touchscreen, navigation, eight-speaker 150-watt audio with digital signal processing, a single CD/DVD drive, dual SD card slots, Bluetooth phone connectivity with audio streaming, an AUX/USB/iPod interface, HD and satellite radio, a backup camera with active guidelines, front and rear parking sensors, eight-way powered and heated front seats, a powered liftgate, a removable cargo cover, optimally flexible 40/20/40-split rear seatbacks expanding a 500-litre (17.6 cubic-foot) cargo hold up to 1,500 litres (53.0 cubic feet), tire pressure monitoring, lane departure warning, all the usual active and passive safety features including rear side-impact airbags, and more. 

2018 Porsche Macan
Porsche offers a bevy of interior materials, all high in quality, with this Turbo model fitted with more suede-like Alcantara than most. (Photo: Porsche)

Above the base model, Porsche offers very well equipped $68,100 Sport Edition trim that adds a host of performance upgrades including Porsche Traction Management (PTM) with an electronic, map-controlled multi-plate clutch for the AWD system, a sport exhaust system featuring specially designed silver tailpipes, the Sport Chrono Package, Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM) via an air suspension with self-leveling and ride-height adjustments that include a reduction in height of 10 mm, and larger 20-inch RS Spyder Design alloys with full colour Porsche crest wheel centres, while additional features include unique exterior styling, HID headlamps with four-point signature LEDs and dynamic cornering capability, auto-dimming side mirrors, glove compartment cooling, a panoramic sunroof, Porsche Connect Plus including Apple CarPlay, a telephone module, wireless internet access, and Porsche Car Connect services, a 14-speaker, 14-channel, 665-watt Bose Surround audio upgrade, leatherette and Alcantara upholstery, heated rear outboard seats, an aluminum cargo area sill protection plate, and more. 

2018 Porsche Macan
Fast and luxurious for sure, but don’t think you can’t have your cake and eat it too. The Macan is wonderfully practical for rear passengers and cargo alike. (Photo: Porsche)

The Macan S is actually considerably less expensive than the Sport Edition at just $61,400, because it builds on the base model’s standard features simply by upping performance via the aforementioned 340 horsepower V6. 

The GTS, priced at $76,000, adds power to the Macan S package as noted earlier, plus benefits from a beefier set of brakes from the top-tier Turbo line with red painted calipers, while adding the option of carbon-ceramic discs. The GTS also gets a unique SportDesign package with blacked out styling details, the aforementioned HID headlamps, which include the larger 20-inch alloys noted earlier, plus a special red on black interior design including leather and Alcantara upholstery with red embroidered GTS logos, unique black-faced primary instruments with GTS graphics, and more. 

2018 Porsche Macan
The Turbo is the fastest in the Macan line as well as the entire compact luxury SUV class, but Porsche offers plenty of engine options to choose from. (Photo: Porsche)

The Macan Turbo model lineup starts at $87,200 and includes the previously noted performance upgrades as well as more aggressive front and rear fascias, standard HID headlamps, 19-inch alloys framing the larger brakes mentioned earlier, Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM), power-folding side mirrors, while inside it gets aluminum front door sill guards with “Macan turbo” script, upgraded materials including brushed aluminum inlays, a leather package featuring smooth-finish leather upholstery, 18-way adaptive front sport seats with memory, an Alcantara roofliner, navigation, the Bose surround audio system, and more. 

Lastly, the Macan Turbo with the Performance Package, which starts at $99,000, adds the previously noted power upgrades as well as the Sport Chrono package, quicker-shifting transmission settings, the 10-mm lowered air suspension, a sports exhaust system, and more. 

2018 Porsche Macan
The open road calls… (Photo: Porsche)

Of course, no matter the trim level Porsche offers a long list of options and packages, which, depending on the model in question, allows standard white or black exterior paints, along with a wide assortment of optional colours ranging in price from $790 for metallics to $7,440 for custom bespoke hues, plus you also get the choice of up to 16 different interior colourways. 

Likewise, one of three seat types can be ordered, 14- and 18-way adjustability, while ventilated front seats are also available. Additionally, performance options can include adaptive power steering, an active suspension, an active air suspension, torque vectoring, a sport exhaust, and the list goes on, while available advanced driver assistance systems include adaptive cruise control, plus lane change and lane keeping assist. 

Additional options can include full LED headlights, roof rails, proximity-sensing access with pushbutton start, piano black lacquer, hardwood or carbon-fibre interior inlays, a surround parking monitor, a 16-speaker, 1,000-watt Burmester audio system, one of two different rear entertainment systems, and much more. 

In summary, the 2018 Macan is a no-compromise compact luxury SUV that’s capable of serving all types of premium buyers with various levels of performance and features. Its diverse powertrain lineup starts quick and efficient before finalizing as fastest in the class, while its suspension sublimely delivers a comfortable ride and otherworldly handling. Such performance combines ideally with a cabin made from high quality materials, resulting in a compact SUV that’s impressive in most every way, while Porsche didn’t forget to design the Macan from onset to be as everyday practical as this class gets.

As my dad always said, if you’re going to do something, do it right. Such is obviously the mantra of Porsche as well, because it never goes halfway with any of its models, and never seems to slow in…

2018 Porsche Panamera Road Test

2018 Porsche Panamera 4S
The 440-hp Panamera 4S was the least powerful trim tested this time around, and it’s still extremely fast. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

As my dad always said, if you’re going to do something, do it right. Such is obviously the mantra of Porsche as well, because it never goes halfway with any of its models, and never seems to slow in its relentless push for perfection. 

Over the past year I’ve been lucky enough to enjoy plenty of opportunities behind the wheel of the new Porsche Panamera, from a more entry-level Panamera 4 to the sensational new Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid, plus the Panamera 4S and 4 E-Hybrid models in between, not to mention the shapely new Panamera Sport Turismo in top-line Turbo guise, with each stint behind the wheel impressing me more. 

2018 Porsche Panamera 4 E-Hybrid
The Panamera 4 E-Hybrid makes a soul-stirring 462 net horsepower. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

To help you appreciate the breadth of Panamera models available, Porsche divides its road-hugging four-door coupe into three categories including Panamera, Panamera E-Hybrid and Panamera Turbo. Within these classifications are three body styles and various states of tune. The former includes the regular-length Panamera, the long-wheelbase Panamera Executive that adds 150 mm (5.9 inches) between the axles and significantly lengthens the entire car for improved rear legroom, and the shooting-brake, wagon-style Panamera Sport Turismo that uses the regular wheelbase yet increases cargo volume by 27 litres (1.0 cubic foot) behind the rear seatbacks and 51 litres (1.8 cubic feet) when those seats are folded flat, while the latter variances are much more diverse. 

2018 Porsche Panamera Turbo Sport Turismo
The Panamera Sport Turismo, driven here in 550-hp Turbo guise, includes an elongated roofline for a sport wagon profile. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

With my best attempt to keep the list simple and straightforward (truly, a spreadsheet would work better), the unnamed base Panamera trim incorporates a 330 horsepower turbocharged V6 with rear-wheel drive (RWD); the numeric 4 designation signifies the same engine with all-wheel drive (AWD); the 4S denotes a twin-turbo V6 making 440 horsepower mated to AWD; the 4 E-Hybrid combines a twin-turbo V6 with Porsche’s plug-in hybrid drivetrain and AWD for 462 net horsepower; the Turbo boasts a twin-turbocharged V8 and AWD for 550 horsepower; and finally the Turbo S E-Hybrid with its twin-turbo V8, plug-in hybrid and AWD combination results in a staggering 680 net horsepower. 

2018 Porsche Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid
The Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid shown here might look similar to the white 4 E-Hybrid parked behind, but it makes an additional 218 horsepower at 680. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

Connecting powerplant to driveline is Porsche’s new eight-speed dual-clutch PDK transmission that works with both hybrid and non-hybrid models, as well as both rear- and all-wheel drivetrains. Introduced just last year with this new Panamera, the new gearbox might just be the most important “cog in the wheel” both literally and figuratively, in that it replaces three transmissions from the previous generation, including a six-speed manual used with base model V6 and naturally aspirated V8 trims, a seven-speed PDK found most everywhere else, and an Aisin-sourced (owned by Toyota) Tiptronic S eight-speed automatic exclusive to hybrids and diesel models. 

2018 Porsche Panamera 4S
The recently redesigned Panamera is a much better looking car than its predecessor from front to back. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

That’s a lot of logistical complexity to deal with from a business standpoint and, just as importantly, a big challenge for Stuttgart’s engineers with respect to integrating Porsche performance DNA into what is essentially a Lexus slushbox. They did an admirable job, evidenced today in various Cayenne trims that still use the conventional autobox due to its towing and off-road attributes, but the performance gained by the new eight-speed PKD has transformed hybridized Panameras from fast fuel-sippers to the dominant forces within the Panamera lineup. 

2018 Porsche Panamera 4S
The Panamera’s standard LED headlamps feature Porsche’s trademark four-point signature driving lights. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

I need to be careful not to delve too deeply into the new eight-speed PDK, as I could easily take up most of this review in technical analysis, but suffice to say it builds on the seven-speed original that was already impressive, with better efficiency, quicker shifts, smoother shift intervals, and most importantly greater strength, the new transmission given a torque ceiling that reaches upwards to 737 lb-ft. 

This last point is critical when fitted to the aforementioned hybrid powertrains that produce gobs of twist at a much faster rate than their conventionally powered siblings. To be clear, Porsche didn’t create a one-size-fits-all dual-clutch gearbox solution, but rather a modular design that allows different versions of the same basic transmission to be used for hybrid, non-hybrid, rear-wheel, and all-wheel applications. 

2018 Porsche Panamera 4S
The Panamera’s new full-width singular taillight incorporates four-point signature LEDs at each corner. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

For instance, the electrified variant fits its hybrid module within the PDK’s bellhousing, while a hang-on clutch transfers torque to the front axle in conventionally powered all-wheel drive configurations. With a focus on efficiency, the eight-speed PDK provides three overdrive ratios, which means the Panamera achieves its terminal velocity in sixth gear. Of course, I’m just grazing over some surface details of this impressive new transmission so as not to lull you into a coma, so let me wrap it up by saying this in-house design serves all Panamera purposes very well. 

2018 Porsche Panamera 4S
The Panamera combines extreme performance with a wonderfully luxurious interior made from the finest materials. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

When ensconced inside the Panamera’s contrast-stitched, leather-lined, black/grey lacquer-, hardwood- or carbon-fibre-trimmed, metal-adorned, digital display-decorated cabin, with left hand on the thick-rimmed, thin-spoked, leather-wrapped sport steering wheel and right hand slotting the leather- and metal-finished, pistol-grip shifter from the “RND” side of the equation into “M” for manual, although it could just as easily represent maximum fun, you won’t care one whit about what’s going on below that shift lever, so long as the new eight-speed PDK delivers on all of its noted promises. Believe me, it does. 

2018 Porsche Panamera 4S
Despite being a large four-door sport sedan, the Panamera cockpit delivers sports car-like intimacy. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

My first extended test drive in a second-generation Panamera was in a just-above-base 4, and while harnessed to just 330 horsepower and 331 lb-ft of torque I found it quite lively, launching to 100km/h from standstill in only 5.5 seconds, 0.2 seconds quicker than the rear-drive base model, and feeling light and agile while doing so. This said the Panamera 4S I spent a week with was much more entertaining, its overall mass much the same yet its aforementioned 440 horsepower and 405 lb-ft of torque resulting in 4.4 seconds to 100km/h, but as thrilling as that was, two of the three others I drove more recently are in another league altogether. 

2018 Porsche Panamera Turbo Sport Turismo
Clear, bright, colourful, and filled with highly functional features, the Panamera’s gauge cluster is impressive. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

Comparing the 4S to the 4 E-Hybrid is more or less a wash, as the latter takes a mere 0.2 seconds longer to hit the 100km/h mark and feels equally sporting, except for some 300 kilos (661 lbs) of weight gain that can be felt through sharp, fast-paced corners, but of course it’s the hybrid’s 5.1 Le/100km (compared to 10.1 L/100km) and ability to run totally on electric power for up to 50 kilometres (31 miles) at speeds of 140 km/h (87 mph) that separates it from the conventionally powered pack. On paper it appears as if it’ll rip a new hole in the tarmac, and while 4.6 seconds to 100km/h is no snail’s pace it remains the equal of its 4S counterpart, although its 462 net horsepower and 516 lb-ft of total combined torque make for some serious bragging rights. 

2018 Porsche Panamera Turbo Sport Turismo
The Panamera’s infotainment display is massive, and revised centre stack an exercise in elegant minimalism. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

And then there are the Turbos. My Panamera Turbo tester wore the slightly heftier Sport Turismo body style, but the twin-turbo V8’s 550 horses and 567 lb-ft of twist managed to haul it to 100km/h in a scant 3.6 seconds thanks to its Sport Chrono package that takes 0.2 seconds off its regular sprint time of 3.8 seconds, a feeling that has to be close to being flung from a massive car catapult, or more accurately a trebuchet (check YouTube for a little fun), that is until I did the same in the world’s fastest four-door hybrid. 

2018 Porsche Panamera Turbo Sport Turismo
The infotainment touchscreen’s HD resolution is unsurpassed in the industry. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

The Turbo S E-Hybrid is why the new eight-speed PDK needed to be so robust. With its twin-turbo V8 and plug-in hybrid combination making a shocking 680 horsepower and 626 lb-ft of torque it needed to be as strong as possible, its outrageous all-wheel thrust capable of flinging it to 100km/h in a seemingly unreal 3.4 seconds despite gaining 315 kilograms (694 lbs) over its Turbo counterpart, let alone 140 kg (308 lbs) more than the lesser 4 E-Hybrid. 

Batteries are heavy, not to mention all the compact yet still mass amassing hybrid components, but once again it’s all worth it when passing by the pump, the top-tier Panamera also excelling at efficiency performance with a claimed 4.8 Le/100km rating. It’s truly a best of both worlds, have your cake and eat it too kind of car. 

2018 Porsche Panamera 4 E-Hybrid
Driving modes can be set via this handy rotating dial on the steering wheel. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

Again, you can feel the heavier hybrid in the corners, but the Panamera’s suspension is so brilliantly dialed in, and no doubt capable of its top track speed of 310 km/h (192 mph), my tester equipped with the same 21-inch alloys on 275/35ZR21 Michelin Pilot Sport 4s as the lighter weight Sport Turismo, that it kept up without issue. 

Despite driving three of these Panameras back to back, it’s impossible to compare all four of them directly, as each was filled with unique features from Porsche’s bevy of available options. This side of bespoke coachbuilders that make most everything by hand, no other manufacturer offers as many possible build combinations as Porsche. Just go ahead and try to put one together on the company’s online configurator and you’ll quickly figure out what I mean. 

2018 Porsche Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid
The Sports Chrono Package adds a chronograph-infused clock that can be personalized with unique face designs. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

For instance, the 4 E-Hybrid I drove was one of two to include Rear Axle Steering with Power Steering Plus, the former benefiting low-speed manoeuvrability by pointing front and rear wheels in the opposite direction, shortening the turning circle, and also enhancing high-speed stability by steering the front and rear wheels in the same direction, while Power Steering Plus boosts the electric power steering to lighten its load at low speeds and firms it up while responding with more precision at high speeds. 

2018 Porsche Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid
The centre stack and its touch-sensitive controls is almost as impressive as the ultra-advanced transmission it houses. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

My Carrara White painted 4 E-Hybrid was shod in 21-inch rims and rubber too, albeit the latter from Pirelli, yet this car was obviously set up more for style and comfort than all-out performance. Its feature set included a SportDesign Package with satin black front fascia elements, extended side sills and more satin black in back, LED headlamps with dynamic cornering and self-cleaning capabilities, bright silver side window surrounds, proximity-sensing Comfort access, soft-close self-cinching doors, ambient interior lighting, a rich looking Cohiba Brown Club Leather Interior, painted air outlet grilles, four-zone auto climate control, ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, 18-way power-adjustable front seats with memory, a powered steering column, Bose surround audio, Adaptive Cruise Control with Traffic Jam Assist, Lane Keep Assist, Lane Change Assist, Night Vision Assist, a Speed Limit Indicator, front and rear parking sensors, and more. 

2018 Porsche Panamera 4S
The Panamera’s front seats look like they’ve been pulled from a 911, but in fact they’re larger, more adjustable, and can include more features like massage. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

Many of the same features were included on the other two Turbo models, but the word Sport was a more common denominator. Most notable was the Sport Package that also adds Power Steering Plus and Rear Axle Steering, as well as the aforementioned Sport Chrono Package and a sport exhaust system, the sound exhilarating under throttle. 

Speaking of phenomenal acoustics, the Burgundy Red Metallic painted Turbo Sport Turismo included the Burmester 3D surround sound audio upgrade, complete with 21 individually controlled speakers and 1,455 watts of power, while an all-black interior theme complemented by a gorgeous Carbon Fiber Interior Package maintained its sporting character. 

2018 Porsche Panamera 4S
The dual-pane panoramic sunroof makes for a more open, airier cabin. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

The top-tier Turbo S E-Hybrid’s interior was even more luxe, with a white accented tachometer and Sport Chrono dial designed to match the Black/Chalk cabin colour theme, plus extended leather across the dash, and much more. 

To give you an idea of how wide the Panamera pricing spectrum reaches, the base model starts at just $97,300 before freight and fees, while my Turbo S E-Hybrid’s as-tested price was $238,535. Certainly it was well equipped, the base Turbo S E-Hybrid starting at $209,800, but also know that it was far from loaded, a lesson I quickly learned when configuring my Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid Sport Turismo dream car to a final tally north of $300k — check CarCostCanada.com for all retail and dealer invoice prices, plus rebate information. If you were wondering whether the Panamera is able to duke it out with the Aston Martin Rapide in exotic territory, now you know. 

2018 Porsche Panamera 4S
The Panamera is a four-door coupe, but rear seat roominess and comfort is still quite accommodating. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

It would be a fair comparison in many other ways too, as the Panamera’s interior is as good as anything available today. The quality of materials is exceptional, craftsmanship exemplary, and detailing exquisite. Ergonomically it’s far superior to most four-door coupes it would be up against too, with rear seat roominess improved over its predecessor and downright limousine-like compared to the aforementioned Brit, while its electronic interfaces are by far some of the industry’s best. 

2018 Porsche Panamera 4 E-Hybrid
Just like the centre stack up front, the rear seating area can be upgraded with its own console featuring touch-sensitive controls. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

The mostly configurable TFT gauge cluster (Porsche thankfully saved the centre-mounted tachometer in analogue form) allows full navigation mapping on its rightmost screen, plus most anything else you’d like choose by scrolling through various functions via a knurled metal-adorned steering wheel spoke controller, while its massive 12.3-inch horizontal centre display is as fine in resolution and deep in beautifully coloured contrast as anything I’ve seen. Truly, the map detail looks as if you can stick your fingers inside to move mountains, while Porsche was intelligent enough to make it a full touchscreen design complete with tablet-like tap, swipe and pinch gesture controls, not to mention Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone connectivity. The system is fast, navigation routing accurate, backup camera clear, and overall usability as good as it gets. 

2018 Porsche Panamera Turbo Sport Turismo
The Sport Turismo body style provides a bit more cargo space than the regular Panamera. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

Porsche uses touch-sensitive controls on much of the centre stack and lower console, with the few rotating knobs, cylindrical scroll wheel, and rocker switches once again detailed in beautiful knurled metal, while my test cars equipped with four-zone HVAC had the otherwise rubberized bin replaced with a gorgeous centre-mounted digital console filled with its own touchscreen and high-end switchgear. 

2018 Porsche Panamera 4S
No matter the body style, the top half of both rear seats fold forward, allowing longer items to be loaded in from the rear hatch. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

Living with the 4S for a week reminded me how practical the Panamera can be too, the cargo hold below its powered liftback managing 493 litres (17.4 cubic feet) of what-have-you in conventional guise, or 405 litres (14.3 cubic feet) when electrified. Fold the top halves of its seatbacks forward and it accommodates 1,339 litres (47.3 cubic feet) of longer cargo in the former and 1,246 litres (44.0 cubic feet) in the latter, while I won’t bore you with the Sport Turismo’s gains again. 

2018 Porsche Panamera Turbo Sport Turismo
With the advent of the Sport Turismo, plus more powertrain options than any rival, the Panamera offers an amazing opportunity to personalize. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

Of course, a Macan or Cayenne is the better choice if you need to haul more people and cargo, which is reason enough for many luxury buyers to opt for these high-riding SUVs. In fact, today’s sport utility craze almost makes a person wonder why Porsche put so much effort into perfecting this low-slung Panamera, but nevertheless proof of time and investment well spent is showing in recent Canadian sales growth, with calendar year 2017 resulting in an 86.3-percent year-over-year increase in deliveries. With 2018 seeing similar upward momentum, the Panamera is on pace to become the best-selling four-door coupe in its class. I’m sure after spending some time with one, you, like me, will fully appreciate why it’s doing so well.

Porsche just revealed the 2019 Macan at a special world premiere event in Shanghai, China, allowing the many fans of the current model to breathe a sigh of relief that their favourite SUV isn’t changing…

Porsche refreshes its best-selling Macan for 2019

2019 Porsche Macan
Porsche has visually widened its refreshed 2019 Macan by extending and squaring off its front side vents. (Photo: Porsche)

Porsche just revealed the 2019 Macan at a special world premiere event in Shanghai, China, allowing the many fans of the current model to breathe a sigh of relief that their favourite SUV isn’t changing too much. 

First off, with the purpose of reflecting the DNA of the brand’s iconic 911 sports car and the 918 Spyder, the front and rear designs have been enhanced to appear wider, giving the Macan a sportier, more rooted to the road appeal. Specifically, the grille includes more pronounced horizontal slats, while the ducts to each side get squarer outer edges that taper outward as they drop down, with a thicker, more visible vertical trim piece finishing off their corners, and narrower LED fog lamps positioned on the slats instead of above or below depending on the model, as was done previously. What’s more, the lower fascia gets more horizontal lines to broaden its look, while previously optional LED headlamps with trademark Porsche four-point character lights are now standard. 

2019 Porsche Macan
The changes add more aggression to the design, which is never a bad thing. (Photo: Porsche)

Walk around to the rear of the 2019 Macan and you’ll see the most significant change, the taillights having morphed from two individual units into one single three-dimensional strip of LED elements, similar to the recently redesigned Cayenne. Like the headlamps, the larger wraparound corner portions of the new mono-taillight also incorporate four-point character LEDs, while the rest of the liftback, bumper, and lower fascia appear to be carryover. No matter the angle, the end result is an attractively modernized 2019 Macan, while owners can further personalize its appearance with various trim levels, myriad wheel and tire combinations, plus new Dolomite Silver Metallic, Mamba Green Metallic, Miami Blue, or Crayon exterior colours. 

2019 Porsche Macan
The new Macan’s rear design gets a single LED taillight element spanning the entire tailgate. (Photo: Porsche)

As for the cabin, the big changes are digital as is often the case these days. It begins with a new 11.0-inch full-HD Porsche Communication Management (PCM) touchscreen replacing the 7.0-inch unit in the outgoing model. The visual effect is stunning, with much sharper, clearer resolution, and enhanced graphics to complement the look. Likewise, the system’s operating system is faster, which will no doubt improve the speed of new standard intelligent voice control and the now standard navigation system’s mapping adjustments, plus other functions, while it’s more intuitively designed for easier use, this thanks in part to predefined tiles that allow customization. 

2019 Porsche Macan
Full LED headlights with Porsche’s four-point signature LEDs are standard. (Photo: Porsche)

Additionally, Porsche has now made its Connect Plus module standard, which means that every new Macan is fully networked for real-time traffic information. A key element of this system is “Here Cloud”, which utilizes swarm-based traffic data to find you the quickest route to your destination. What’s more, the Macan’s new Offroad Precision App makes it possible to record and analyze off-road driving experiences. 

2019 Porsche Macan
A wider, brighter, higher resolution and all-round better HD infotainment display modernizes the Macan interior. (Photo: Porsche)

The larger, wider screen design necessitated additional modifications to the centre stack, so therefore Porsche moved the air vents from their previous positions at each side of the touchscreen, to a new location just below the display where a lidded bin was before. Additionally the audio/HVAC control panel, which slots between the two, is now wider and narrower, maintaining Porsche’s new horizontal design theme. 

Also of note, the 2019 Macan gets an optimized chassis designed to enhance neutrality while maintaining stability and improving comfort, plus the standard intelligent Porsche Traction Management (PTM) all-wheel drive system’s already lauded high-speed handling characteristics can be further assisted via newly developed 20- and 21-inch performance tires. 

2019 Porsche Macan
The centre air vents have been relocated under the redesigned row of ancillary audio and HVAC controls. (Photo: Porsche)

Options in mind, the 2019 Macan can now be had with a GT sports steering wheel sourced from the 911, while adding the Sports Chrono Package includes a Sport Response Button on the right-side spoke. 

Of course, comfort options will improve as well, with an ionizer plus a heatable windscreen available, while Porsche has also added its suite of advanced driver assist systems that include adaptive cruise control with Traffic Jam Assist, this allowing semi-autonomous driving amid congested, slow-moving traffic at speeds up to 60 km/h, with the ability to automatically steer, accelerate and brake. 

2019 Porsche Macan
The 2019 Macan remains a capable off-roader, setting it apart from many rivals. (Photo: Porsche)

Porsche hasn’t confirmed the powertrain lineup for the North American markets, but it’s expected the base turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder will receive more output than its current 252 horsepower. As for the model’s V6 engine lineup, the Macan S will likely get a new single-turbo 3.0-litre unit making about 350 horsepower, while the Macan Turbo will be fitted with a new twin-turbo 2.9-litre V6 expected to push power up into the high 400 range. The Turbo should once again be available with a Performance Package upgrade, which currently adds 40 horsepower, while the sporty GTS model will no doubt remain, splitting the difference between S and Turbo trims. Lastly, the current seven-speed automated dual-clutch PDK transmission will remain standard. 

The 2019 Macan shown in Shanghai is specific to the Chinese market, so make sure to stay tuned for Canadian market information about trims, features, options, etcetera as the redesigned model prepares for launch later this year. 

Until then, make sure to check out a few videos about the 2019 Porsche Macan below:

 

The new Macan – More adventure. More life. More thrills. (0:51):

The new Porsche Macan. Exterior design. (1:31):

Design documentation: The new Macan. (6:33):

As far as car companies go, Porsche is still youthful and vigorous at 70-years young. Nevertheless it’s done a lot with its seven decades, much of which was celebrated at this year’s Goodwood Festival…

Goodwood Festival of Speed celebrates 70 years of Porsche sports cars

Porsche at the 2018 Goodwood Festival of Speed
The Porsche 356 “No. 1” Roadster, shown here at the 2018 Goodwood Festival, arrived on the sports car scene in 1948. (Photo: Porsche)

As far as car companies go, Porsche is still youthful and vigorous at 70-years young. Nevertheless it’s done a lot with its seven decades, much of which was celebrated at this year’s Goodwood Festival of Speed in West Sussex, England. 

The event is best known for the annual Goodwood Hill Climb, which sees a host of historic race cars, modern-day Formula One machinery, World Endurance Car racers, one-off prototypes, supercars, motorbikes, and most everything else powered by a varying array conventional and alternative energy sources perform demonstration runs up a 1.86-kilometre (1.16-mile) road course, with fans cheering them on from either side, after which they’re put on show for all to enjoy. 

Porsche at the 2018 Goodwood Festival of Speed
The Goodwood Festival grounds were packed full of classic Porsche production and racing cars. (Photo: Porsche)

The first Porsche to climb the hill this year was the legendary 356 ‘No.1’ Roadster, the actual car that got the brand off to such a good start in 1948. The 356 ‘No.1’ Roadster was one of seven iconic road-going Porsche models that took part in the event, all of which are normally on display at the Porsche Museum at the brand’s headquarters in Stuttgart, Germany. Porsche chose each of these cars to represent a 10-year period, allowing attendees to experience the evolution of the Porsche sports car. 

Porsche at the 2018 Goodwood Festival of Speed
The 1964 Porsche 911 looks downright humble next to its progeny, but it was nevertheless a force to be recognized in the ’60s. (Photo: Porsche)

This was the 356 ‘No.1’ Roadster’s debut at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, and therefore a very special experience for the brand’s many fans. The car is replete with Porsche DNA, from its mid-engine layout to the horizontally opposed “boxer” engine design itself, while its lightweight construction and fuel-efficiency, which helped the 356/1’s progeny defeat many more powerful competitors on the track, is still a core ideal behind the development of current road and race models. 

Porsche at the 2018 Goodwood Festival of Speed
It doesn’t get much better for a car enthusiast than witnessing the stunning V8-powered 904 F1 car hightail it up the Goodwood hill climb. (Photo: Porsche)

Additional production Porsche models that put on a show at this year’s Goodwood Festival include a 1964 911, 1973 911 Carrera RS, 1987 959, 1997 911 Turbo, 2003 Carrera GT, 2015 918 Spyder. 

In addition to these, a dozen Porsche racing cars also took their turn on the hill, including the 1962 804, 1974 911 Carrera RSR Turbo, 1978 935/78 ‘Moby Dick’, 1984 911 SC ‘Paris Dakar’, 1986 961, 1987 962, 1988 2708 Indycar, 1994 Dauer 962 GT Le Mans, 1998 GT1 ’98, 2000 LMP 2000, 2007 RS Spyder, and the 919 Hybrid Tribute Tour. 

Porsche at the 2018 Goodwood Festival of Speed
Goodwood festival attendees have plenty of opportunities to get close to some of the most amazing sports cars to ever enter motorsport. (Photo: Porsche)

Making clear that Porsche isn’t only about celebrating past success, the 919 Hybrid Tribute Tour (the final model noted above) is actually a modified version of Porsche’s championship winning WEC LMP1 car otherwise known as the 919 Hybrid Evo, which completely obliterated a 35-year-old Nürburgring-Nordschleife lap record in June of this year, with Porsche factory race driver Timo Bernhard at the wheel, although Neel Jani did driving duties on the Goodwood course. 

Porsche at the 2018 Goodwood Festival of Speed
The Nürburgring-Nordschleife dominating Porsche 919 Hybrid Tribute Tour car was likely the fastest car to climb the hill this year. (Photo: Porsche)

The factory Porsche 911 RSR ‘Pink Pig’ was also part of the program, taking a sort of victory lap after winning its GTE Pro category at this year’s Le Mans 24 Hours. 

Following the competitive sports car theme, the latest 911 GT3 Cup race car from the Porsche Carrera Cup GB was also included in the demonstration run, this model featuring the same 4.0-litre H-6 engine as the 911 GT3 road car. 

Additionally, the 911 Speedster Concept, a one-off prototype inspired by the 356 ‘No.1’ Roadster, took part in the Supercar Run. 

Porsche at the 2018 Goodwood Festival of Speed
The 911 RSR ‘Pink Pig’ took a Goodwood victory lap after winning its GTE Pro category at this year’s Le Mans 24 Hours. (Photo: Porsche)

Visitors to Goodwood also had opportunity to see the 911 GT2 RS up close and personal, this 700-horsepower, twin-turbocharged, 3.8-litre flat-six beast having lapped the Nürburgring-Nordschleife in just 6 minutes and 47 seconds to earn fastest production car bragging rights last September. The record has since been beaten, but without doubt Porsche will soon find its way back to the top of the podium again. 

Porsche at the 2018 Goodwood Festival of Speed
The 911 Speedster Concept, which was inspired by the original 356/1, took part in the Supercar Run. (Photo: Porsche)

Also on hand at the Porsche Experience Centre stand was the 2015 Mission E concept car, the production version having been recently dubbed Taycan. The beautiful four-door coupe is solely powered by electricity, and therefore is said to represent the future of Porsche performance. 

Quite notably, Porsche has taken part in every Goodwood Festival since the annual event began in 1993. Back then Goodwood only managed to attract 27,500 enthusiasts, but it now brings in more than 200,000 visitors each spring. 

Whether you were able to join in on the festivities at this year’s event or weren’t able to attend, we’re sure you’ll enjoy some collected videos, one of which shows the unveiling of a special sculpture that commemorates the marque’s 70 years of production road car and motorsport heritage: 

Porsche Central Feature Sculpture reveal at Goodwood Festival of Speed 2018 (1:16): 

Grand Prix legend: the Porsche 804 at Goodwood Festival of Speed 2018 (1:00): 

Future focus. Goodwood Festival of Speed 2018 (1:18):