What is it?
A contradiction in terms, a sports saloon with the goal of combining unlikely bedfellows of high economy and performance. The battery- boosted Panamera uses a 3.0-litre V6 with a supercharger and full parallel hybrid system containing batteries and electric motors. It’s all terribly clever, though it’s a car that’s been built specifically for the diesel- denying US marketplace. That’s not to say it’s not fun, but in light of the diesel Panamera, it’s a bit pointless.
Porsche claims that the battery positioning along with the additional motors means the Panamera Hybrid has the best weight distribution among its relatives. that might be true, and certainly the hybrid paraphernalia doesn’t intrude on space, or upset the driving experience like it does on its Cayenne relation.
Combined, the drivetrain produces 380bhp and 428lb ft of torque – enough to allow the hybrid to reach 62mph in 6.0 seconds and on to a 167mph top speed. That’s irrelevant really, as it’s the 39.8mpg and 167g/km (41.5mpg and 159g/km on optional tyres) that counts here, and the ability to glide around silently on electric power alone. It’ll do so for around a mile, up to speeds of 52mph in perfect conditions. We’re thinking perfect conditions would be down a very steep hill with a favourable tailwind, but it’s fun trying to empty the battery. There are compromises: the 3.0-litre V6 isn’t the most soulful- sounding engine, and the brakes lack Porsche’s usual bite. the way it juggles two electric motors, eight gears and a petrol supercharged engine is pretty impressive, though.
On the inside
Has the usual Panamera cockpit features – with the high transmission tunnel running from the dash back through the rear passenger compartment – it’s comfy back there.
Being a battery-boosted model, there are more buttons to play with, the centre screen and info display among the dials showing what’s going on with the drivetrain. Key is the e-Power button, which allows the Panamera to drive on electricity alone. It’s refined inside, especially when it shuts down the engine and sails along on battery power at higher speeds. The boot loses a few litres, but otherwise it’s business as usual.
In europe, it doesn’t make any sense unless you crave the dinner-party green tokenism of owning a hybrid Porsche. it’ll not mark you out as clever, merely misguided, as the diesel gets better mpg, if not CO2, figures (fleet drivers will like the fact it is sub- 160g/km). It’s an impressive technical feat, though, as – leaden braking and strangled-sounding petrol engine aside – it’s fast and capable. certain to be a hit in the US, where diesel’s a dirty word and hybrids are seen as saintly, it’ll be perfect for cruising silently up the golf club’s driveway.