The first ride-alongs of the 2017 Porsche Panamera have begun trickling online in advance of the car's debut this fall, and as rabid consumers of both Porsche news and automotive rumors alike, we at The Drive have been scouring them for information about the next-generation sport sedan. And buried deep withinAutocar's first drive, we found one particularly juicy nugget: in Turbo form, the new Panamera will reportedly run around the Nürburgring Nordschleife as quickly as the Porsche Carrera GT of yore.
That's not the word of some anonymous Porsche engineer blabbing after too many glasses of hefeweizen,either. It comes straight from Gernot Döllner, director of the Panamera model line. Assuming he's not blowing smoke at 40 times the legally-allowed levels, that means the new Porsche Panamera Turbo runs around the 'Ring in about 7 minutes and 28 seconds.
Take a moment to chew on that. This would mean Porsche has made a front-engined, all-wheel-drive luxury car with a twin-turbo V8 making around 550 horsepower (final outputs for the 2017 Panamera models haven't been confirmed, but all the ride-alongs cite a figure in that ballpark) that can keep up with a mid-engined supercar making 612 horsepower and weighing in at less than 3,200 pounds. On the world's toughest race track, no less. Sure, the later car benefits from technology that the Porsche engineers of the early aughts could only dream of—but all the dual-clutch gearboxes and torque-vectoring systems in the world still shouldn't allow a car to keep up with one that has better balance, packs 50 more ponies, and weighs half a ton less. Right?
If true, this would make the 2017 Porsche Panamera Turbo the fastest four-door to ever lap the Nürburgring by a country mile. It's not even a close race; according to the website Nürburgring Lap Times, the next-closest sedan is the 2015 Honda Civic Type R, which lapped the course in 7:50.63. It would also mean the 2017 Panamera Turbo handily whips the first-gen Panamera Turbo S, which ran the Green Hell in 7:52 back in 2011. Hell, that time even puts the fabled GT3 RS 4.0 on notice—the last of the stick-shift GT3s lapped the course in 7:27.
Of course, it seems unlikely Porsche would shoot for a certified 'Ring lap time for the Panamera until the car's development is complete, so Döllner may be basing his claim on other metrics. But considering Porsche tends to over-deliver when it comes to performance...we wouldn't bet against the 2017 Panamera Turbo cracking the 7:29 barrier at the Nordschleife.