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Porsche's new Panamera Sport Turismo - that's estate, to you and me - is an impressive blend of power, practicality and poise, and the German company wanted to show off just how strong an all-rounder the wagon was in the most dramatic way possible. So, it arranged for three Sport Turismos to transport €11,333,000-worth of gold bullion across London.
Baird & Co, one of Britain's leading bullion merchants and gold refiners, wished to transport 24 gold bars from its location in the east of the city to the state-of-the-art Hatton Garden vault (yes, THAT vault...) in the centre. Obviously, moving millions of euros-worth of gold is an operation fraught with danger, one which needs to be planned with the utmost precision.
Thus, Baird & Co invited Porsche to provide the right cars for the job - and a couple of Panamera Sport Turismo Turbos, plus a German-registered Turbo S E-Hybrid, were deemed up to the job. With 550hp (Turbo) or 680hp (S E-Hybrid), plus 520 litres of boot space, the Panamera estates were well up to the task of making the 12-mile (20km) journey from Baird & Co to Hatton Garden.
Each gold bar is the size of a house brick and weighs 12.5kg, and they're worth €472,208 apiece. Baird & Co insisted that the cars Porsche provided had to be capable of carrying four adults - the driver, a radio operator and specialist security - and have the load capacity to take two specially-designed gold bullion crates that, when loaded with the gold, weighed more than 60kg each. And as the more time the transfer took, the more the risk to the cargo, then the cars needed plenty of performance in hand, even when fully loaded.
The journey took place on a Sunday morning, the Porsche Panamera Sport Turismo-containing convoy departing at 11am. It was tracked through the streets of London by helicopter and was guided by a lead car, accompanied by security staff and fitted with cameras to record the occasion. In the end, the journey went without a hitch and the Porsches completed the route in 30 minutes, whereupon specialist extraction teams removed the crates from the cars to put the gold in the vault. Porsche was keen to say the air suspension on the Sport Turismos ensured they stayed level throughout the trip, despite their heavy and precious loads.
Just in case you're wondering, each Panamera had around €3.78m onboard; enough to buy 19 examples of a nicely-specified Turbo S E-Hybrid, or even 30 examples of the most basic Panamera Sport Turismo and still leave you with some change. Wowsers!
Nick Hammond, director of Baird & Co, said: "We take an awful lot of measures to ensure the security of our staff and, of course, the gold - we really do try and avoid risk. And in this instance, we had a very large shipment of gold to transport - which is quite rare. We had to rely on the cars to be absolutely reliable, to be stable and to be more than capable of carrying the gold with capacity - in terms of performance - to spare. We didn't want the vehicles to be anywhere near their limits, which is asking quite a lot. And, despite the phenomenal weight, and the density of the weight, that the Panameras had to carry, they performed impeccably."