Megawatts Motoring

PORSCHE PANAMERA GTS

“BACK IN THE DAY”, as my children call it, my commanding officer throttled me for taking tinned food on a two week patrol.

That was despite the fact that the tins were in the ration packs that were issued to our platoon.

“My Boy”, he said, twisting his handlebar moustache and my neck at the same time, “in Korea we took rice and tea bags. That’s all you need!”.

Well the prissy dieticians might have something to say about that. But the point is that those military lessons have long evaporated into the ether and Private Watts has blossomed into a “kitchen sink” traveller.

In fact, Family Watts on the move is an awesome beast that threatens to conquer the available cabin space of any manufacturer.

So you may think that fitting into a Porsche sports car may take an act of Houdini proportions.

But, enter stage left, the Panamera. Not only does it accommodate my two metre (almost) frame with luxurious ease, but there is ample room for four adults and a stack of luggage.

Put simply, this is a family car every bit as big as my ageing E-Class saloon.

That is where the connection ends…”family car” is by no means a term that you would associate with the Panamera GTS as the 4.8 V8 kicks you to 100 in 4.5 with a symphony of sweet gurgling and crackling from the matt black exhausts.

Bring back the “family” label when poodling around town. If you can resist pushing the Sport Plus button it will be the most patient and smooth machine in traffic and also save you a few bucks with that ubiquitous start/stop function.

The looks…how many weeks do you have to consider this? One of the most talked about design aspects since the initial launch. My take is that the front is stunning and 911-ish plus some botox.

The rear end is…well…a touch Japanese of yesteryear…and not the most beautiful bum on the block.

And the whispers after the latest Panamera Sport Turismo hybrid concept design at the Paris motor show is that a facelift is in the offing.

Even if that doesn’t happen, ugly rear syndrome won’t stop me from buying a GTS as soon as that nice Nigerian man sends me the million pounds from the UK LOTTO I won a few weeks ago.

Some journalists have all the luck…

IN A BLINK…4806cc, 10.9l/100km, 4.5 sec, 1995kg, R1 342 000


MERCEDES BENZ 250 CDI BLUE EFFICIENCY

YOU ARE Absolutely unique. Just like every other person on the planet.

And while we tend to be dedicated followers of fashion - well in an ex-Zimbo sort of way - we also treasure our points of difference.

Like a cartoon I enjoy of the Pope throwing darts in the local pub and one of the regulars complaining "It's his one of the boys but not quite one of the boys attitude that gets to me!"

And it's that search for a subtle identity that was part of the success story when the four door CLS coupe was launched almost a decade ago.

Sure you were giving up a bit of space in the cabin and trunk but you could still drop off your kids at school with style and a few envious glances.

But now you could be getting admiring looks for another reason. In fact you should get a personal letter of thanks from Al Gore with every purchase of the new four cylinder diesel CLS 250 CDI Blue Efficiency.

Never has saving the planet looked this good! And felt so good. Although some of the more prim motoring hacks claim that the suspension is "squishy" and the seat springs and the car springs don't match!

I felt very comfortable along the hills and dales of Magaliesberg and despite some robust driving returned figures of 7.1. Now that's greener than green and I reckon you would get close to 5 on a sedate trip to Durbs.

But there are times when you feel that the 2,2 litre engine is straining at the leash and you can forget about those nifty overtaking manoeuvres.

At R700k on the nail it is a great buy. But you will have to get your adrenalin boost from driving through Hillbrow with the windows open and I would insist on that letter from Big Al.

IN A BLINK…2 143cc, 5.2l/100km, 7.5 sec, 1785kg, R700 000