TechArt of Leonberg, Germany, conveniently situated in a nondescript outer part of the town that’s just a javelin’s throw away from Porscheplatz 1, is on a roll. For most premium car purveyors, anything post-economic global meltdown is obviously much more fun than the meltdown was. Here it’s even better though, since the premium segments are getting their groove back exactly at the time that tuning programs for Porsche’s Panamera are starting to sprout.
TechArt’s Managing Director Thomas Behringer is even getting really happy again. Talking with him in 2009 and 2010 was like helping a family member through tough times.
The large, black sweetheart autobahn missile you see here is a completely tricked-out TechArt Porsche Panamera Turbo GrandGT, first shown in initial cosmetic form at the 2009 Frankfurt Motor Show. We’re the first to really have at it and this is a special unit that has been commissioned by a well-known Formula 1 driver who desires to remain anonymous. Not telling you is just killing me.
TechArt’s first stage tuning setup for the already decent Porsche-engineered M48 4.8-liter twin-turbo V8 gives the GrandGT 78 more horsepower and 96 more lb-ft of torque. These horses and torques are ready in either the Sport setup or Sport Plus of the Sport Chrono Package Turbo. You could skip all of this and just go for the exterior and interior personalization, but that would make you an A-number-1 poseur.
Whereas the standard Panamera Turbo has its two Japanese turbochargers maxing at 8.7 psi boost pressure and then 12.1 psi of boost when one snags the $2,280 Sport Chrono Package Turbo option, TechArt’s TA 070/T1 ECU upgrade makes normal full-automatic mode a 12.1-psi affair, while Sport and Sport Plus jack that up to 14.5.
So, the GrandGT is faster with the added max power peaking earlier and for longer, and added max torque peaking later than on the standard PT, though there’s more torque than on the standard car all the way from 2500 rpm through to 5800 rpm of the 6600-rpm redline range. Just as the standard car, however, quotes a conservative 4.0-second time to 60 mph in acceleration with Sport Chrono while some tests have experienced 3.5 seconds and less, I suspect that the TechArt 3.7-second estimate is destined to be more like a 3.3 or so.
Nothing has changed on the Porsche Active Suspension Management and adaptive air suspension with self-leveling, and the sensational dynamic active rollbars of Porsche Active Chassis Control continue wrestling this behemoth level around the highest lateral g-forces. Good items not to be messed with.
The factory-optional Zuffenhausen sport pipes out back are definitely nice, sure, but the quad-barreled sport exhaust just sort of knocks out windows in small Swabian villages by comparison. You hit the red Sport button or the all-out Sport Plus on the million-button console and the sonic boom reeks of TechArt having somehow bribed the boys at TV to turn a blind eye when reading the drive-by noise levels. It’s atrociously fantastic with the gas pedal having passed a fixed percentage of its travel.
And our semi-mysterious A.S. really likes Alcantara. The cabin made it as close to driving a well-crafted bathrobe as I can ever remember. So, whatever weight might have been dropped with the CFRP slatted hood, lightweight 22-inch forged wheels and such has been more than offset with all of the wild Alcantara hides slathering the interior of this blackness. TechArt’s saddlery has done its typically impeccable job. Besides the curl-up-and-snooze coziness of the four adult seating spots, I focus on the totally redone sport steering wheel, long a TechArt specialty. A.S. has opted for the thickest TechArt steerer dressing, puffed up further with the Alcantaraeven the spokes and centerpiece are dressed thusand the unit is a comfy and grippy piece to play with easily in the hands.