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Opus in Twin Pipes

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Rob Rothwell
“Why would anyone ever turn it off,” asked my teenage boy in reference to the button that activates the Sport exhaust setting in the 2013 Porsche Panamera GTS and a number of other Porsche performance machines. And in a way, his testosterone-fuelled assertion makes sense.

Why suppress the auditory bliss so fundamental to the car’s raison d’être? It’s not unlike Mick Jagger and the Stones suddenly going unplugged. It’s still the greatest rock band ever but where’s the power behind Charlie’s manic drumming and the energy behind Keith’s screaming guitar?

2013 Porsche Panamera GTS button on the console
2013 Porsche Panamera GTS (Photo: Rob Rothwell)

This week’s Panamera GTS tester is a good example of what I mean. Its 4.8L V8 powerplant produces 430 horsepower and a whole lot of acoustics that leave me near breathless. The sound is so integral to the full GTS experience.

Let me ask this: Would Martin Luther King’s I Have a Dream speech carry the same degree of influence and inspiration if the words were only read by the masses, not heard? Probably not.

Obviously, I’m getting a little melodramatic and carried away with my argument – and having some fun doing so – but I think you see my point. What’s a performance car without the performance sound?

That said, there were a few times during my week with the GTS when I went stealth by deactivating the sport exhaust. It was only for a few blocks though, and mostly near my home out of respect for neighbours and the furry creatures that prowl at night.

If the novelty of the GTS and its Opus in Twin Pipes were to wear off, I might opt to mute the notes but I doubt it. I may be well past a half-century in existence but I’m not dead or deaf (entirely), so play on Mick and my twin pipes.
Rob Rothwell
Rob Rothwell
Automotive expert