Buyers typically go the hybrid rout to save on gas and because they have an environmental conscience. It is clear that hybrid powertrains have strongly evolved in recent years, offering more complex experiences that blend both fuel economy and tremendous amounts of power, all the while compromising less and less on drivability and refinement.
That said, we can’t ignore the fact that electric power can provide copious amounts of torque in an instant, therefore allowing hybrids to also cater to a specific demographic that doesn’t strictly focus on eco-friendliness and fuel economy.
Needless to say, hybrid doesn’t equal “underpowered”. Hybrid-powered hypercars from manufacturers like Koenigsegg, Ferrari and McLaren unveiled over the years certainly confirm that.
Between your hybrid econobox and a million-dollar hypercar lie high-end hybrids like the Porsche Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid. It’s not only the most expensive and exclusive Panamera you can get, but it’s also faster than most 911s.
The greatest asset with these luxury hybrids is that they use their hybrid technologies not only solely for the purpose of fuel economy, but also to dramatically boost performance, without compromising, well, anything…
With the 2018 Porsche Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid, you are getting hypercar technology from the Porsche 918 Spyder for a fifth of the price in a car that can hold four passengers and cargo. It is one of the most powerful vehicles in Porsche’s lineup with 680 horsepower and 626 lb-ft of torque supplied by a twin-turbo 4.0-liter V8 engine that is paired with a 136-horsepower electric engine that lies between the gas powerplant and the 8-speed, dual clutch PDK transmission. This enables the Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid to benefit from all of its torque at a mere 1400 rpm.
Drive modes that are more than just “moods”
Drive modes are a critical part of a vehicle of this calibre. They are the essence of the “no compromise” part of the deal. The Porsche Panamera Turbo S E Hybrid has Sport and Sport + modes like other Porsches, both of which affect the engine response, suspension, gearbox and so on.
But Sport + also has a unique feature in this particular case; it recharges the battery in order to keep that “boost” available at any time. Hybrid-specific modes are EV, Hybrid-Auto, EV-Charge and EV-Hold. Drivers may use that last feature that restricts the use of the electric power in order to be able to use it later. This slightly sacrifices the power, providing “only” 580 horsepower.
On the road, the Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid feels like a Panamera but has totally different power delivery; and the instant torque rivets you to your seat. It has all the bells and whistles from the Panamera Turbo, but with the added benefits from the hybrid system that saves, conserves, quiets and boosts the Panamera with an ability to plug in whenever you find an outlet.
And with a 50 km full-electric range, the E-Hybrid Turbo S can play the quiet, “green” card long enough to get you to work without needing any fuel. Our test route primarily included highway stretches, and considering our willingness to thoroughly feel the engine’s power; we chewed through the battery life pretty quickly.
Although this hybridized Panamera is heavier, it still feels very agile on the road, thanks to a precise chassis tuning and an adaptative suspension, and stopping is managed by massive carbon-ceramic brakes paired with 10-piston calipers in the front.
Inside, long distances are more than tolerable thanks to heated and ventilated seats with a massage function. Obviously, the front and back units offer extraordinary support for spirited drives – where massaging isn’t necessary.
In the end, the only compromise is the price. You guessed it, the Porsche Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid is not for everyone’s piggy bank. The base price sits at 209 900$. Considering the price of options at Porsche, that tag can easily escalate. In fact, our test vehicle carried a price tag of $230,440, It has quite a few gizmos, but still, that’s a lot of coin.
But at the same time you could argue that you get it all in the Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid. The ability to charge, run on 100% electric, and having that incomparable power boost from the innovative Porsche hybrid system in a spacious four-door is therefore worth something. Is it worth more than 200k? That’s for you to decide.