CAR tech: why Porsche needs hybrids

Published: 16 September 2013

At the launch of the 997-generation 911 Turbo in 2006, Porsche faced a daunting future. Anti-car chatter from EU legislators proposed banning anything that produced more than 241g/km of CO2 and exceeded 101mph. ‘We’ll have to close if the European Commission decides that every carmaker must reach [these targets],’ a Porsche exec told CAR.

Yet Porsche is not a company to take things lying down. It responded with the hybrid Cayenne and Panamera, and with the tech-laden 918 Spyder that’s waiting in the wings. Now there’s another model tasked with keeping the brand’s overall CO2 emissions down: Porsche’s first plug-in, the Panamera S E-Hybrid.

The Porsche Panamera S E-hybrid's petrol-electric heart

Porsche’s 410bhp Panamera S E-Hybrid is powered by the 3.0-litre supercharged V6 used in the previous Hybrid, but now has 328bhp and a water-cooled electric motor-generator. The new electric motor-generator produces 94bhp and a handy 229lb ft torque – 47bhp more than the unit used in the existing Panamera Hybrid. In EV mode, the E-Hybrid’s capable of 84mph and a range of 22.4 miles.

The combo meets 2014 EU6 emissions regs, yet is still good for 0-62mph in 5.5-seconds, only 0.4sec behind the Panamera S, and its 167mph top speed is only 11mph down. Where the E-Hybrid wins is efficiency, of course: official figures of 91mpg and 71g/km of CO2 (helped by the battery charge) are far better than the S’s 32.5mpg and relatively whopping 204g/km.

Multi-mode electrified driving

There are three driving modes: E-Power, E-Charge and Sport mode, selectable via the Panamera’s centre console. The E-Hybrid will move off the mark in electric mode, with E-Power prioritising electric-only drive unless the driver accelerates hard or battery charge diminishes. E-Charge mode tops up the battery fully, which is a great way to set this car up for an indulgent session of Sport Mode, which switches the Panamera’s character back to ‘full-on Porsche.’

With none of the above selected, the Panamera runs in Hybrid mode, balancing use of the electric motor against battery charge. There are no surprises when it comes to driving manners: this is still pure Porsche.

>> Click here for CAR’s full story on the Porsche Panamera S-E Hybrid

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