Hybrid drive extends the Porsche saloon s appeal
Provides V8 petrol engine-like performance, V6 diesel-like economy and superb refinement.
Thanks to hybrid drive’s growing acceptance in North America, Porsche is looking to get in on the petrol-electric action with its new Panamera S Hybrid. The big four-door liftback borrows its driveline from the Cayenne S Hybrid; it pairs an Audi-sourced 328bhp supercharged V6 petrol engine with a 47bhp electric motor that draws energy from a 1.7kWh nickel-metal hybride battery.
As a full hybrid, both units can power the new Porsche, depending on the driving conditions, with the electric motor claimed to provide zero emissions up to 53mph. For full performance potential, the two pool their reserves to provide a total of 375bhp along with a sturdy 427lb ft of torque 19bhp shy of the V8 Panamera S but 58lb ft to the better.
The system favours electric power from start-up, while at higher speeds there’s a more regular interaction between the petrol engine and electric motor, but the transition from one to the other is seamless. Push hard and you’re rewarded with an impressive turn of speed. At 1980kg a good 80kg more than the Panamera S there’s a lot of mass to shift. But with all that torque developed at just 1000rpm, the Hybrid possesses solid in-gear performance, as revealed in a 50-75mph time of just 3.9sec.
The Panamera S Hybrid uses a different gearbox from the rest of the line-up, save the soon-to-be-launched Panamera S Diesel. With automatic stop-start, brake energy recuperation and an advanced clutch arrangement to disengage the engine on a trailing throttle, the big four-seater is claimed to return 39.8mpg on the combined cycle, for an overall 167g/km. Go for low-resistance tyres and economy improves to 41.5mpg and 159g/km.
You can feel the Hybrid’s extra weight in challenging roads, with more roll than the Panamera S and more of a tendency for the front end to run wide when you enter a corner too fast. Ride quality on the sophisticated air suspension (an option in the UK) is nicely controlled, though.
Porsche is hopeful the new four-door will ake an impact here, even at a steep 86,146 Pounds. Our advice? Wait until the Panamera S Diesel arrives later this year before making any firm decisions.
- Seamless operation
- Solid performance
- Excellent economy
- Added weight
- Uninspiring engine sound
- High price
Price: 86,146 Pounds
Top speed: 169mph
Economy: 39.8mpg (combined)
Kerb weight: 1980kg
Engine: V6, 2995cc, petrol/electric
Power: 375bhp at 5500rpm
Torque: 427lb ft at 1000rpm
Gearbox: 8-spd automatic