DRIVEN: Porsche Panamera S E-Hybrid Review
Here is Motor Verso’s first drive review of the Porsche Panamera S E-Hybrid, and what a car it is!
What’s the Porsche Panamera S E-Hybrid all about?
This isn’t your normal Porsche sports car, to start it has 4 doors, and secondly it does 91mpg… How is this possible?
The Panamera range is designed to meet a demand that was outside Porsche’s normal specialism sports cars. The idea was to create a car capable of driving 4 people in compete comfort but still encapsulating the Porsche sports car dynamics, and then on top of that they have an added hybrid touch.
This is Porsche’s first ever production car that has a plug-in hybrid system. The Porsche Panamera S E-Hybrid is powered by a 3.0-litre V6 engine that creates 416bhp and 590Nm of torque and also an electric motor that will do 83mph on its own. The power goes to the rear wheels using an 8 speed tiptronic gearbox. This means the Porsche Panamera S E-Hybrid will do 0-60mph in 5.5 seconds and has a top speed of 167mph.
It’s worth mentioning the styling of the car as well. They have created a car that is very different from their traditional sports cars, but the Panamera still carries the same family styling characteristics. I think Porsche have done a great job making the car look this good.
How does it drive?
The Panamera S is somehow a super comfortable super-efficient sports car. Sitting in the Panamera you are nicely wrapped up by the driving controls and central console.
When you are moving, the experience has the typical Porsche feel of being well planted and having a great weight distribution. Driving the hybrid slowly you can drive around 22 miles running purely off battery power. In the cabin this creates and very relaxing and refined ride. When you run out of battery power the V6 cuts in, and using the E-Charge mode you can fully charge the batteries again straight from the petrol engine.
However, when you put the car into sport mode and open it up a little, you feel the full force of 416bhp, which reminds you that you’re not in a slow cruiser, but a high performing Porsche sports car with an added electrical boost. With both the petrol power and electric motor working together the driving experience has a lot of torque and makes the car very fast pulling out of the corners, and on the straights.
When you are testing the limits in the corners you can feel the added weight from the hybrid system, but it’s a fair price to pay for this innovative fuel saving green technology. The steering still feels very responsive and direct; the nice balance helps create a very enjoyable driving experience.
As with any Porsche, the Panamera stops on the button using its regenerative braking system that converts kinetic energy to electrical energy. The clever system does have a slight negative feel on the brake pedal, but it’s nothing that will ever effect the driving experience on the road, and I would much prefer to have these regenerative brakes, rather than conventional brakes, on the Panamera S.
What’s it like inside?
Porsche’s modern interiors are brilliant, and the Panamera S is probably the best of the bunch.
The model on test comes with very stylish Espresso natural leather, a BOSE surround sound audio system, four-zone climate control, and a SportDesign steering wheel with paddle-shift. All of these options give a premium look and feel to the cabin, which, as a result, looks amazing.
When you first get in the car you are a little bewildered by the number of buttons and switches in front of you, but all the controls are fairly logical and everything works pretty nicely together. I particularly like the bright green instrument needles, that work as a reminder that you are in a car with very special abilities. Whether you are sitting in the driver’s seat, or in the back of this super cruiser you know that you are in a high-end car from the quality of everything you see and feel.
The Panamera S E-Hybrid does have a custom fitted surprise for gadget lovers as well. You can link your car to your smart phone via an app that will tell you the remaining charge, battery charge status, and the electric range left on the car. It’s a nice feature to help people feel a little more comfortable running a hybrid car, and who doesn’t love gadgets.
How a car makes the driver feel is one of the most critical elements of any car. The Panamera S E-Hybrid is a very special car that emits very unique characteristics, which translate to a superior driving experience. Behind the wheel of the Porsche Panamera S E-Hybrid you do get the best of the super refined luxury car experience, and also a great taste of the sports car driving enjoyment. But the Porsche feels very exclusive compared to everything else on the road. It makes you feel as if you matured past wanting a 911, you still want a Porsche but with a little more sophistication.
Porsche have created a beautiful car that looks remarkable, and it’s a dream to drive on long journeys, perfect for impressing business clients, a devil on the country roads, and has a higher mpg rating that a Prius. The engineers at Porsche have really created both a soulful and technologically innovative car ahead if it’s time.
Porsche Panamera S E-Hybrid
Engine: 3.0-Litre V6 with electric motor
Transmission: 8-speed Tiptronic S
0-62mph: 5.5 Seconds
Top speed: 167mph
Economy combined: 91mpg
CO2: 71 g/km
Author: Paul Hadley