This is the Porshe Panamera S E-hybrid, which uses a production-ready version of the powertrain featured in the 2012 Panamera Sport Turismo concept. It costs a chunky £88,000, but promises to offer the economy of a city car and the performance of a super-saloon, depending on your mood and the selected on-board modes. Is it a confused compromise, or the most roudned Panamera package yet? Read on for the full CAR review.
Every Porschephile knows that red brake calipers mean standard steel discs, and yellow, a car with the optional ceramics. But now there’s another hue for the geeks to spot: a lurid lime green, denoting the wearer as a Panamera Hybrid.
The old Hybrid’s terrible brake feel and an electric mode capable of no more than 53mph, with a range of 1.2 miles, meant we’d have the cheaper diesel every time. The new E-Hybrid though, is a very credible car indeed. A productionised version of the drivetrain in 2012’s cool Sport Turismo shooting brake concept, the £88,967 E-Hybrid retains the old car’s 328bhp 3.0 supercharged Audi V6, but swaps the 1.7kWh nickel metal hydride batteries for lithium ion cells with five times the capacity, and the new 94bhp electric motor produces almost twice as much poke as before.
The combined total of 410bhp makes light work of pushing 2095kg of limo through the air: 0-62mph takes 5.5sec, 0.5sec better than the old car could manage, and the top speed is a suitably Porsche-like 168mph. Try the same trick without calling the petrol engine up πand you’re offered an 85mph top speed, which is more than enough to cut it with motorway traffic, and a range of 22 miles. But the 6.0sec 0-30mph time means you better watch out for well-driven Tata Nanos.
You lose a little agility compared with the 285kg lighter standard Panamera, but the E-Hybrid still feels impressively entertaining by luxury saloon standards, with crisp, responsive steering and strong body control. More feel from the steering and brakes wouldn’t go amiss, but exemption from VED, the London congestion charge and tiny company car tax bills resulting from an incredible 71g/km CO2 rating would certainly take your mind off the problems.
As will the prospect of 91.1mpg, although it’s worth pointing out that this figure is achieved when the batteries are fully charged. That takes 2.5 hours using a quick charger, or less using the E-charge function, which diverts unneeded engine power to charge the battery when cruising. On short trips between time spent tethered to the mains, economy will no doubt impress; on long journeys it’s unlikely to be so clever.
Other changes to the Panamera range include a long-wheelbase model requested by the Chinese market, but not coming to the UK, 10bhp power tweaks for the base V6 and Turbo, 20bhp for the GTS, and a brand new turbocharged V6 engine for the Panamera S. Though two cylinders and 1800cc down on the 396bhp V8 it replaces, this one produces 414bhp and is 20% more economical. The 384lb ft of torque it makes is only 15lb ft greater than the old V8 could eke out, but on hand much lower down the rev range. The bottom line is this new S feels vastly quicker where it counts, but sorely lacks the character of its predecessor. None of which changes our opinion on the two best Panameras for British buyers: the sensible diesel and sensual GTS.