Experiencing a Legendary Marque

by BTM

Tue, 04 June 2024

celebration of 50 years of Porsche Turbo

Motoring correspondent Kristian Harrison has driven many cars in numerous places around the world, but rarely has he come back from an event as thrilled as he did this month after being invited by Porsche Centre Bahrain to experience the birthplace of the iconic brand in Stuttgart, Germany. The adventure offered a perfect blend of cutting-edge innovation and rich automotive heritage, with the launch of the new Panamera E-Hybrid models followed by a celebration of 50 years of Porsche Turbo.

Porsche Panamera Turbo E-Hybrid 
After arriving in Germany on a scorching day and attending the opening press conference where the amazing technology in the new Panamera E-Hybrids was laid bare, the excitement was palpable. If only the next day could come sooner so we could get behind the wheel! 

When it did arrive, it did so with thick grey clouds and a torrential downpour. Oh how I missed that bipolar European weather! However, the dramatic deluge added even more of a sense of adventure to our drive. 

After assembling at the Porsche Museum in the heart of the complex of factories and offices which constitutes the Porsche Headquarters, we were a given a demonstration of perhaps the Panamera’s most outstanding feature, the Porsche Active Ride system which is being rolled out across all E-Hybrid models in the Porsche portfolio. 

Amongst many other benefits, like insulation against uneven surfaces and dynamic ground clearance, this advanced suspension technology constantly monitors longitudinal and lateral acceleration. It actively reacts to braking inputs as well as to the driver’s steering movements. It also builds up forces that counter the natural pitching and rolling movements of the body and in this way keeps the body level in all driving situations. Best of all, the car (through connection with an app) has the ability to demonstrate its impressive capabilities on your phone – a feature I thoroughly enjoyed – so you can show off your dancing car to your friends! 

As for the drive itself, the Panamera E-Hybrid models showcase Porsche’s impressive blend of efficiency and performance. The crowning moment as we snaked our way through the Black Forest was driving the Panamera Turbo E-Hybrid. Equipped with monstrous V8 engine and an enhanced plug-in hybrid system, it offered powerful acceleration and unparallelled control. Navigating the serpentine roads amidst towering trees and hairpin turns, the Panamera’s precision handling was a delight, gripping the wet road with ease. 

With a staggering 680PS and 930Nm of torque, this model is the epitome of power and luxury. Accelerating from zero to 100 km/h in just 3.2 seconds and reaching a top speed of 315kmph, the Panamera Turbo E-Hybrid handled every twist and turn with poise. Despite the challenging, rain-drenched roads, its advanced hybrid powertrain delivered both ferocious acceleration and serene electric cruising alike, showcasing the best of both worlds. 

Hitting the open road with a powerful beast ready to roar at the press of a pedal is amongst the finer pleasures in life, and doing so in such a special location made it even more perfect. 

The second day of our trip offered a different kind of excitement, as we celebrated 50 years of the marque’s Turbo branding by driving five of the most iconic models from different eras. 

As the oldest Turbo models are some of the rarest and most sought-after beauties in existence, for some reason the Porsche Museum didn’t trust a young whippersnapper like me with the keys, but they did bring out a classic 930 for us to see! Ultimately, our journey through time on the road began with the classic 1980s blue convertible 944 model. This Eighties icon still turns heads with its timeless design and character. Driving the 944 was a nostalgic experience, its manual transmission providing a raw, unfiltered connection to the road. Each gear shift was a delightful reminder of why we fell in love with driving in the first place. The open-top drive through the scenic countryside, with the wind in our hair and the sun on our faces, was pure bliss. 

Next up was the absolutely beautiful 1990s silver 993, a model renowned for its robust build and striking design. The red leather interior added an extra touch of luxury to the driving experience. Handling this manual classic on the roads was an unimaginable delight, blending the charm of the past with the refined driving pleasures of today. As one of the iconic cars from my childhood when I first starting taking interest in these gorgeous machines, the nostalgic sensation of driving the 993 was a vivid reminder of Porsche’s enduring legacy and commitment to excellence. 

With the sun breaking through thick clouds, casting a golden glow over rolling hills and lush green fields, it really felt like being in an automobile utopia. However, things stepped up even further when I got the freedom of the Autobahn to open the throttle of the latest 911 Turbo. 

I won’t say exactly what speed I hit as my parents still read my columns and I don’t want a text from a freaking-out mother, but let’s just say it caused me to literally whoop out loud! 

Reflecting on the drive, it’s clear that each Porsche Turbo model has its own unique character, yet all share a common DNA of performance, innovation and sheer driving joy. The ability of Porsche to turn heads, especially in a countryside village with a convoy of multi-coloured classic and modern super cars passing through like a train of Skittles (a sight to behold!) is testament to heritage and quality.

As I departed Stuttgart tinged with sadness, the memories of roaring engines and the seamless blend of electric and petrol power in the Panamera stayed with me long after I touched back down in Bahrain. This trip was not just about driving some of the best cars in the world; it was about connecting with the essence of what makes Porsche a legendary marque in the automotive world. I’d like to extend my deepest gratitude to Porsche Centre Bahrain and Porsche Middle East for making a dream come true!