The second generation of the Panamera has been hitting the headlines as Porsche's first plug-in hybrid, which can be charged using a household electrical socket. The Panamera S E-Hybrid's battery stores five times as much power as its predecessor. And, at 70 kilowatts, its electric motor is more than twice as powerful.
Our reviewer says the Panamera E-Hybrid is quiet as a mouse: all you hear is the tires rolling and the wind blowing. The car has a range of 36 kilometers in pure electric mode -- though, if driven prudently, it can travel more than 50. Reinhold says that's a quantum leap compared to its predecessor, which managed just 2 kilometers in electric mode.
Even when the battery has run down, the Panamera doesn't have to be plugged into a socket. Pressing the "E-charge" button turns the electric motor into a generator. Then the gasoline engine drives not only the wheels: its energy is also used to produce electricity. Long drives on the highway can charge the battery for short, emissions-free jaunts around the city.
Reinhold is impressed by the way the E-Hybrid switches almost imperceptibly between gas and electric mode. The boost function packs the 95 horsepower of the electric motor onto that of the combustion engine. This makes for 416 horsepower altogether, allowing the car to rocket from 0 to 100 kilometers an hour in 5-point-5 seconds and hit a top speed of 270.
The new hybrid model delivers 306 kilowatts of power and generates a hefty 590 Newton meters of torque. But thanks to the added electric motor, fuel consumption is just 3-point-1 liters per 100 kilometers. In electric mode, the S E-Hybrid can reach 135 kilometers an hour.
Not everyone likes the Panamera's design. But those who do like it a lot. The rest tend to opt for a classic 9-11. Under the hood is a 3-liter V6 engine that works in tandem with the electric motor. Striking lettering and the Porsche emblem on the wheels round off the exterior. The battery can be recharged at home, thanks to some special equipment....
In Germany, regular household electrical sockets have between 8 and 10 amps of current, explains Porsche's Robert Kähle. So it takes around 4 hours to charge the battery fully. But if you have access to high-voltage current, you can use that, too. Then a full charge takes 2 to 3 hours.
The back end of the E-Hybrid is also a sight to behold and features LED taillights.
The trunk can be opened by pressing a button on the rear windshield wiper. It offers 335 liters of cargo space -- or 1153 liters with the rear seat bench down. Like the Panamera GTS, the S E-Hybrid uses Porsche's Active Suspension Management system, or PASM. It continuously regulates the damping force for each wheel according to the road conditions. Inside the hybrid looks just like the regular Panamera, save for one tiny detail:
The writing on the rev counter ....
The S E-Hybrid is fitted with an 8-gear Tiptronic S automatic transmission. The leather seats are comfortable and ooze quality workmanship -- the ultimate in luxury.
Clearly the S E-Hybrid Porsche isn't an eco-friendly car for the masses. Its high price tag means it out of reach for most. The sedan can be had for 110-thousand euros in Germany, but only if you resist the many tempting optional extras.