What is it?
Thanks to its growing acceptance in North America, it’s now got to the stage where hybrid drive is the rule rather than the exception in the luxury car ranks, as the Audi A8 e-tron, BMW 7-series Active Hybrid, Lexus LS600h and Mercedes-Benz S400 Hybrid all attest. No surprise, then, to see Porsche looking to get in the petrol-electric action with its new Panamera S Hybrid.
What’s it like?
Set to join Porsche’s local line-up in June, the big four door liftback, borrows its advanced driveline from the Cayenne S Hybrid. It pairs the 328bhp supercharged V6 petrol engine with a 47bhp electric motor that draws energy from a 1.7kW/h nickel-metal hydride battery mounted in the floor of the boot.
As a full hybrid, both can power the new Porsche depending on the driving conditions, with the electric motor claimed to provide zero emission capability up to 53mph in ideal conditions in eco power mode. 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 but 58lb ft more than the 4.8-litre V8 petrol-engined Panamera S.
The hybrid system favours electric propulsion from start up, resulting in an eerily quiet character as you set off. It requires a smooth driving technique and loads of patience, but be prepared to forego acceleration away from the lights for more leisurely progress in city conditions and you can eek out a reasonable range on the electric motor alone in city driving. Not that we managed to get anywhere near the 1.2 miles claimed by Porsche.