Featuring Porsche’s 2.9-litre, 440PS (324kW) V6 and an electric motor, the Panamera 4S E-Hybrid boasts a total output of 560PS (412kW) – that’s 10PS over the outgoing Turbo – and combined torque of 750Nm (553lb ft).
The result is a wonderful combination of performance, economy and environmental responsibility, with the E-Hybrid offering more than 30 miles (of a claimed range of 34) of pure electricity before the growling V6 cuts in. In all honesty, I found it more appealing than the Turbo S (which we tested recently) on the narrow, convoluted country roads of our test route, with the lower power lending a more relaxed drive. In electric mode, the acceleration is immediate, and it can comfortably cruise at motorway speeds – at the expense of range, of course.
Switching into hybrid auto (read: normal) mode, and the car intuitively and seamlessly switches between electric and combustion power, taking into account your driving, its immediate surroundings and the loaded satnav route – if there is one – to ensure the more economical and enjoyable drive. If it weren’t for the engine noise, or lack thereof, it would be easy to forget that it’s alternating at all. E-hold and E-charge add further economical benefits, while Sport and Sport Plus use the EV power to boost the combustion engine (particularly at low revs), before recuperating some through regeneration.
Despite a weight increase of 300kg due to the high voltage battery, which has been increased by 3.8kWh to 17.9kWh, the Panamera doesn’t shy away from a sprint off the line – whichever mode it is in – accelerating from 0-62mph in just 3.7seconds, hopping through the 8-speed PDK auto gearbox. And when it comes to stopping, optimised brakes and 20mm larger diameter front discs do the job admirably. It holds its 2,300kg weight well, feeling squat on the road and barely rolling through corners thanks to the optimised chassis systems, which includes improved damping control in Porsche Active Suspension Management system and PDCC Sport roll stabilisation.