► New flagship for the Panam range
► Hybrid system added to Turbo power
► Fastest, most complex Panamera of all
Porsche is on a mission to remind us that there are two kinds of hybrids; the type that are good at saving fuel, and the kind like the 918 Spyder that are good at going exceptionally fast.
The Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid is firmly in the latter category – and then some.
Surely not 918 fast though?
Well no, but a 918 won’t carry three mates and their luggage either.
In the Turbo S E-Hybrid you get the same belting 542 bhp V8 from the regular Panamera Turbo but with a 134bhp electric motor added in to the mix.
That gives a combined system power of 671bhp, more than any other Porsche currently on sale, while there’s 627 lb ft of torque available from a sniff above idle.
Send that to all four wheels via the finger-snap changes of the PDK gearbox and the results are expletive-inducingly quick. Zero to 62mph takes 3.4 seconds – 0.4 faster than the regular Panam Turbo and dead level with a 911 GT3 – and it will run on to 193mph, all of which it can manage whilst carrying its own 2.3 tonnes of girth.
You weren’t kidding. Can it do the electric thing though?
It positively encourages it. Fire up the PTSEH and it defaults to E-Power mode, with a potential electric range of 31 miles depending on the driving, style, conditions, and how much juice you begin with.
Tread too hard and the engine kicks in, but with the eco display in the dial you can manage your lead-acid right foot and keep it in the electric zone, bringing the regeneration into play to add a little back in to the cells.
Best see it as a system to get you in and out of cities with zero emissions rules rather than a petrol-free existence.
Is it that seamless?
In some respects it is. On the one hand it’s easy to forget about the car’s hybrid nature and just drive, letting it make all the decisions and switching between exploiting the powertrain’s performance and getting free regen down the hills.
The flip side is that the Turbo S E-Hybrid isn’t as quiet about its duties as you might hope; there is some distinct whine evident at lower speeds that simply isn’t there in a regular Turbo.
But the speed makes up for it, right?
The figures don’t lie – the Turbo S E-Hybrid is ludicrously fast, but how it feels compared to the regular Turbo isn’t necessarily better.
With all that torque so low down the instant response boosts the feeling of speed, but at the cost of weight; an extra 315kg to be exact. That makes itself felt in the other constituents of driving, where the admittedly-brilliant brakes have lots of work to do and the handling is a shade less sharp, even with the standard PDCC Sport and torque vectoring thrown in as standard.
It’s a remarkable technical achievement to marry disparate elements into something that hangs together so well, but unlike the 918 Spyder the end result makes you wish for something a bit more simple in the first place.
Is it worth the extra cash?
You get a lot of extra kit over and above the hybrid gubbins, like ceramic brakes, rear axle steering and massive 21-inch wheels, which chomps through a fair whack of the £22,040 premium. But unless you regularly need to slip into congestion zones where the EV running comes into its own, the increased weight and slightly compromised dynamics aren’t worth it to shave 0.3 seconds off your 0-62mph sprint.
Anything else I need to know?
The Turbo S E-Hybrid’s official CO2 figure of 66g/km means it doesn’t qualify for the cheapest rate of VED in the first year, so you’ll pay £15 rather than zero.
Porsche Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid: verdict
918 hardware shoved into a Panamera sounds like a stroke of genius, but the reality isn’t quite so wonderful. The underlying brilliance of the Panamera is still there but on balance the hybrid tech takes more away from the driving experience than it adds, other than improved numbers on the spec sheet.