Plug-in for less: Porsche Panamera hybrid range gets bigger as V6 models added | CAR Magazine

Plug-in for less: Porsche Panamera hybrid range gets bigger as V6 models added

Published: 20 February 2024 Updated: 20 February 2024

► New E-Hybrids bring more power, longer electric range
► Same-again looks, big improvements beneath
► Includes new optional Active Ride suspension

The latest Porsche Panamera is now available with a pair of additional plug-in hybrids, delivering more pace and lower costs than their predecessors. 

Plug-in hybrids have accounted for the bulk of sales of this Porsche’s sales in recent years, driven by company car-friendly tax rates, and serving as an alternative to the dominating Taycan EV. So it’s no wonder Porsche is boosting the roster.

Give me the hybrid lowdown

Plug-in hybrids have been a part of the Panamera line-up since 2013, and there are two electrified versions launching now – the 4 E-Hybrid and 4S E-Hybrid. 

Each uses a twin-turbo 2.9-litre V6 engine in an individual state of tune combined with a new, more powerful electric motor. On the 4 E-Hybrid, the combined outputs are 464bhp and 479lb ft of torque, with the 4S’s more powerful ICE helping to generate 537bhp and 553lb ft. Accelerating from 0-62mph takes 4.2 seconds and 3.7 seconds respectively. 

2024 Porsche Panamera 4 E-Hybrid

Porsche has also kitted the new Panamera out with a larger 25.9kWh battery with 45 per cent more capacity than before, with a claimed electric range of up to 59 miles. 

These new versions join the Turbo E-Hybrid announced at the Panamera’s reveal in November 2023. This features a mighty 4.0-litre V8 engine, which when combined with an electric motor, serves up 671bhp. That equates to a dazzling 3.2-second 0-62mph time and 196mph top speed. 

Doesn’t this new Panamera look similar to the old one?

It does, and we likely share your sentiment that it looks almost identical to the previous model. Despite that, Porsche’s VP for the Panamera model line, Thomas Friemuth, says it’s ‘a totally new Panamera.’

Emphasising the point, he adds: ‘The new front design is mainly characterised by being more athletic with more sharp lines. The side view you will see we have the option of centre-lock wheels, which is the first time here,’ adds Friemuth. And he’s right – Turbo models now feature centre-lock wheels that ape the brand’s various GT models elsewhere in the range.

New Porsche Panamera - third-generation, centre-lock wheel and brake detail

There are new colours available, too, including this tasty orange pictured. ‘We’re working on our customers!’ Friemuth tells us when we discussed the expansion beyond sober blacks, greys and silvers usually seen with the Panamera; ‘we will try to learn to give our customers the opportunity to show some colour, not always grey.’

Friemuth also says that Porsche wants to do more to separate those who buy the hotter Turbo models. As well as those centre-lock wheels, Panamera Turbo models benefit from a more aggressive bodykit and the return of the triple-panel fold out rear wing. ‘The real big issue is what we call ‘Turbo differentiation’, this is new for Porsche,’ says Friemuth. ‘Our Turbo customers are special customers, and we now offer them differentiation which is not available for all the other customers.’

Part of that is the new ‘Turbonite’ colour scheme; a satin grey hue trimming various bits of the bodywork, as well as the interior. On top of that, Porsche has coloured its crest in Turbonite.

New Porsche Panamera - third-generation, rear, orange

The cockpit has subtly evolved, too. The new ‘Porsche Driver Experience’ control layout might look rather familiar on first glance. Porsche’s classic GT steering wheel can be seen in the supplied pictures, and details directly in front of the driver include a curved instrument display and a shifter that’s been cloned from the Porsche Taycan.

A high centre console remains, complete with physical climate controls and volume dial – as well as what look like touch panel controls similar to the last generation. Again, like the Taycan, a passenger display can be seen inset into the dashboard – affording the front passenger more infotainment functionality for themselves.

A filter on the passenger screen that blocks the driver from seeing it, as with the latest Cayenne. A head-up display is an option, and the cockpit is filled with ambient lighting.

New Porsche Panamera - third-generation model, driving position

Porsche says that, as well as the gentle evolution of technology inside, the Panamera benefits from upgraded seat foam materials and additional upholster customisation options available when the car launches. A leather-free Race-Tex upholstery will be available for the first time in the Panamera, too.

On top of that, Porsche has confirmed the return of the Executive model available in certain markets that features a more spacious second row with newly-contoured seating. Rear passengers also benefit from a small touchscreen that runs along the centre console, too.

What if I don’t want a hybrid?

Fear not, as Porsche continues to sell a Panamera without any of this hybrid business, though it is the entry-level version. 

Of course, Porsche doesn’t do ‘entry-level’ in the same way other carmakers do, with a 348bhp 2.9-litre twin-turbo V6 petrol engine being used in both the Panamera and Panamera 4. It’s essentially the 4 E-Hybrid but without the electric motor.

New Porsche Panamera - third-generation, black and orange

New Panamera models also benefit from two-chamber air suspension with two-valve dampers and a semi-active anti-roll bar (called PDCC Sport in Porsche code). You can also choose another, entirely different suspension system for E-Hybrid models: Active Ride.

What is Active Ride?

‘It’s a game-changer,’ Friemuth tells CAR.

The technology uses hydraulics and those two-valve dampers, and allows those models to tilt into corners or maintain an equilibrium when accelerating or braking hard. When you pull on the door handle (when getting in or out), the car’s ride height jumps up by 550mm for easier access.

New Porsche Panamera - third-generation, side, orange

Naturally, it’s about stepping up the Panamera’s handling characteristics and improving the ride quality over the standard setup. So much so that Porsche says the system manages to be more comfortable, more refined and deliver unparalleled athleticism all at the same time.

Read our Panamera prototype review to find out what we think of Active Ride in action.

How much is a new-generation Porsche Panamera?

The range starts with the £79,500 Panamera, and it’ll be £3000 more if you want it as a ‘4’.

If you want the Panamera as a PHEV, the new 4 E-Hybrid and 4S E-Hybrid start from £90,300 and £102,100. The Turbo E-Hybrid, not surprisingly, commands quite the premium at £141,500. 

Friemuth confirmed to us that the Turbo S E-Hybrid will return as the Panamera’s flagship. Other variants, like a GTS spec, are likely to follow. After a Sport Turismo? Don’t count on it – our intel suggests the body style has been canned.

By Jake Groves

CAR's deputy news editor, gamer, serial Lego-ist, lover of hot hatches