Last year I drove the face-lifted Porsche Panamera GTS and it was an incredible machine, but there was another version of the Panamera I was very keen to try, the Panamera S E-Hybrid.
If you think this is a boring Hybrid with barely any range, power or appeal, you are wrong. Very wrong.
It has a combined 416 horsepower, 5.5 seconds 0-100kmph time, 270kmph top speed and an electric drive range of 36kms on a full battery.. for starters.
Special Thanks to Al Nabooda Automobiles, Porsche Centre Dubai for letting me borrow their Panamera E-Hybrid!
This might just be the future of cars, the ability to save fuel, drive in electric mode, and when you need more resource, you park at a petrol station and be on your way in 5 minutes. The best of both worlds!
Porsche Panamera E-Hybrid Introduction
The looks remain the same as last year but the E-Hybrid has a lot of differences, most of which underneath the standard Panamera experience.
The E-Hybrid comes with two engines (Not engine options, it actually has two engines), a supercharged 3.0 litre V6 generating 333 horsepower at 5,500 rpm and at this speed the electric engine supplies an additional 83 horsepower – creating a total of 416 horsepower. When driving at low speeds, the electric engine is capable of supplying 95 horsepower from the lithium-ion batteries.
All this power combined power from both engine equates to a 0-100kmph time of 5.5 seconds and a top speed of 270kmph. Porsche claim an average fuel economy of 3.1L/100km but we’ll get to that later. All this efficiency sets a new standard at Porsche with a CO2 emission of 71 g/km.
All this punch comes through an 8-speed tiptronic transmission powering the rear wheels, after all, this is a performance Porsche! Practicality has not been hindered as the Panamera E-Hybrid still fits 4 adults with a reasonably sized trunk.
Before we get to the E-Hybrid technology and how it drives, lets talk a bit about the exterior and interior of this beast, which hasn’t changed much from the GTS I reviewed last year.
The Panamera E-Hybrid on the outside
The car has a clear bold statement to make, it is big, it is powerful and it is expensive. It makes sure you know it.
This E-Hybrid came with a Balsalt Black Metalic paint finish with gorgeous LED headlights and every bit of kit you’d expect the exterior to have; a lot of modern looks and LEDs.
The car, with with every E-Hybrid the brand makes, comes standard with lime green brake calipers and badges.
Stopping the vehicle is a job handled by 6 aluminium pistons on the front and 4 pistons at the back, and the braking feel is too good for a car of this size. Surely, the GTS had better brakes, but this did not shy away from a hard braking when needed!
Not everyone will know the kind of technology is behind these lime green badges, but if you explain it, you’ll wow them!
As with before, the rear is my least favorite part of the Panamera, but it is miles away from its predecessor which to my eye was the most unappealing looking rear end of any Porsche. The extendable rear spoiler does help the car look better though.
With 5,015mm in length the Panamera is definitely a large car, but with all the technology built it, it is a very maneuverable car and with the driving dynamics, it certainly doesn’t feel like it has the bulk. The wheelbase is 2920mm in length which definitely aids the “planted” driving feel.
Typically, I would discuss drunk space but I will need to discuss that at a later stage for a little surprise in the boot.
Can you spot the similarity between both sides of the Panamera E-Hybrid? No? Give up?
There is a petrol filler cap on either side! Well actually there is just one, on the right. The one on the left is for you to charge your car. Yes! You heard that right, the Panamera E-Hybrid is also a plug-in hybrid, but more on that soon.
The Panamera E-Hybrid on the inside
Nothing has changed much between the E-Hybrid and the GTS except for a few special buttons and the instrument panel.
The cabin is full of beautiful and soft leather, exquisite metals and it is soft-touch, all round!
This particular model came with a special wood trim, too..
It is called Birch Anthracite and it is absolutely stunning!
Everything is standard stunning Panamera so lets talk about what’s different in the E-Hybrid model..
First of all, the instrument panel is different with a few added gauges;
The RPM, digital display and temperature/fuel gauges are the same towards the right but on the left there are two new ones, a power read out and battery capacity read out.
The way the E-Hybrid power is rated is as follows, between 0-30 the car would drive on electric only, between 30-100 it would drive on petrol only and when fully floored, it would drive in Boost, which utilizes both the petrol and electric engine for maximum attack.
The battery gauge keeps you informed of how much juice is actually available for your disposal.
On the left side of the gear lever sits the regular controls to engage the sport mode, adjust suspension, ride height and to turn off the traction control but on the right, you will find the unique E-Hybrid modes:
E-Power, this is by default how the car drives off every time, on the batteries
E-Charge, is used to drive the car using the petrol engine while charging the batteries – mainly used when on highways before entering a city (More on this soon)
The cabin is gorgeous and there is no doubt that you’re still driving an uber expensive car every time you sit in it, although being absolutely silent will be a new thing to adapt to.
Rear space is limited with the slopping roofline and large seats but definitely not an uncomfortable place to be. Getting in and out is a bit of a challenge but not a big deal, it is a Porsche after all and they had to stick to their coupe look and feel.
The E-Hybrid system and the drive
The E-Hybrid is the latest piece of efficient technology that Porsche has introduced into its road cars and is now available on the Cayenne, Panamera and of course, the 918!
The basic idea of having this system is the ability to shuffle driving situations to maximize vehicle efficiency.
In electric mode, the Panamera is capable of driving up to 135kmph on the batteries which makes it one of the most usable hybrids, and with a range of around 35kms it makes it actually practical. When in electric mode, the car is powered completely by the batteries, while in combustion mode the car is powered completely by the petrol engine and in boost both engines are used to drive the wheels. The system has three ways of charging up the batteries: While in E-Charge, the engine will power the wheels and charge the batteries, while coasting the turning of the wheels will charge the batteries and while braking the friction will charge the batteries.
The theory behind this is, in a city like Dubai, there is a good mix of highway driving and in-city driving and Porsche designed the car to drive on petrol and charge the battery while on highways, and once the vehicle is in city (which is the most energy consuming driving) the car can drive on electric, thus resulting in the most efficient driving style.
In addition to the automatic driving and charging modes, the vehicle can actually be charged from a wall socket too!
You can use any wall socket to charge the batteries (which have a range of about 35kms) in roughly 2 and a half hours. If you live in your own place, you can install Porsche’s wall mount charger which will charge the car even faster.
Think of it this way, you can drive to work (if 35kms away or less) using the batteries, arrive and plug the car in and when you go back home, you again drive home using the batteries using nearly no fuel what so ever!
Personally I had only 2 days with the car so my tests were very limited but I managed to drive from Dubai Silicon Oasis, on to Mohammed Bin Zayed road all the way to the end of Motor City and parked using no fuel at all. The batteries were still at 25%! This is an incredible machine!
What’s more impressive is that Porsche has perfected how the car drives with all this technology. It is not intrusive, although slightly complicated but so intuitive!
The accelerator pedal is so well weighted and active that you know while driving when you’re at the max of electric power and when you go into petrol mode and when you go into boost, so it helps you drive more efficiently and do not have to constantly look down at the gauges.
dedicated screens on the system provide you with information your drive and fuel economy, in real time and recorded
you have the ability to have several trips and of course it reads out all your usage
The above readings includes a long highway drive and I am sure without a doubt that within city and highway driving, efficiently switching between electricity and petrol, the car can do 4.5 L/100kms with little effort. If you charge the car at your destination, this would easily come down even more! What a machine!
Driving the car itself, aside from the technology is a dream. The Panamera is super smooth, quick, light and nibble (Although not as nibble as the GTS) and the technology does not interfere in the driving experience. You could completely let the car handle the tech side of things for you while you enjoy the luxurious drive of the Panamera.
The lime green calipers and badges may not appeal to everyone, but I am sure if you are customizing this car, you can opt for standard colors too. What a machine! If this is the future of Porsche, sign me up for one!