Porsche’s E-Hybrid technology is designed for performance first.
Base price for the least expensive Panamera 4 E-Hybrid is $117,800 in Canada.
The E-Hybrid is rated for a full-EV range of 49 km.
I’ve felt much joy blasting most plug-in hybrid vehicles I’ve reviewed over the last few years. With the possible exception of one such type of vehicle, all have proven to be inefficient or nearly when driven. Yes, it’s that simple. The Porsche Panamera 4 E-Hybrid Sport Turismo falls in the same category as the others, that is unless you remember that E-Hybrid is part of Porsche E-Performance.
It’s called Porsche E-Performance, because that’s what it is. And that’s truly what this Panamera is all about. If you’re looking for a highly efficient, near as green as can be a luxury car, this is not it. If that’s what you truly want then consider the non-E-Hybrid Panamera. If you want a high-performance electrically-boosted luxury car, then you’ve come to the right place.
Before I go on, the indicated 2019 model year is not a typo. Porsche Canada offered me the car for review, something to which no mortal responds to with a “no”, and they ensured me that the 2020 model year car is identical save for pricing. On that topic, this Canadian-spec Panamera 4 E-Hybrid Sport Turismo was priced from $121,800 for 2019. The 2020 is $1,000 more. It also happens to retail for $11,100 more than the Panamera 4 Sport Turismo.
Beautiful, inside and out
Let’s dive into styling and conclude with the fact that this is the most attractive Panamera, the tested unit, that any of us have ever laid eyes on. The Sport Turismo makes the regular look, well, regular, and the optional Chalk colour is incredibly rich. Add to the mix the optional SportDesign Package painted in gloss black (bumpers and skirts), the mega 21-inch Exclusive Design wheels with gloss black accents, the Sport Exhaust System with gloss black tailpipes, black “Porsche” and model designation, tinted LED-Matrix headlights in black, black mirrors and door handles and you have yourself a car that’s as exotic, or nearly as a Koenigsegg Gemera. And it’s much less expensive!
With all nearly all the optional visual upgrades in the catalog, the Premium Package Plus (soft close doors, lane change assist, rear heated seats and more), a head-up display, interior accents painted in exterior colour and a few other bits, this Porsche Panamera 4 E-Hybrid Sport Turismo retails for $170,000, or about $75,000 less than a Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid Sport Turismo with the same options – but no one could tell the difference.
The car’s a visual event. Period. Oh, and the roof rack fits perfectly. The cabin is also quite an attraction. The materials, fit, and finish are laser-perfect and extremely nice to the touch. The multi-way adjustable seats are incredibly supportive and comfortable. This is a 4-seater that works out perfectly for my crew – the kids and their seats were plenty cozy in the rear.
This is a wonderful place to be, with one exception. The extreme amount of glossy piano-black surface, in the center console especially, becomes distracting and blinding when the sun hits just right. If you watch my video, I demonstrate what it looks like. The only other complaint in relation to the Panamera’s interior is the truck that, although useful, is about 25% down in volume compared to the non-E-Hybrid.
The PHEV Penalties
In order to be a PHEV, the Panamera must haul about a battery, a 14.1 kWh unit to be precise. It is the reason why the trunk’s volume is reduced. The battery feeds an electric motor, which produces an impressive 134 horsepower and 295 lb.-ft. of torque. These two elements, along with other hybrid components, are responsible for a 700 lb weight penalty, when compared to the Panamera 4 Sport Turismo.
The EV range is rated at up to 49 km of electric propulsion. My best efforts produced 36 km but even so, it could be argued that this is enough range to get to and fro work, or to get from A to B. I ask you: Does the Panamera strike you as an A to B car? As such, the non-E-Hybrid Panamera is rated at 10.7L/100km or 22 mpg, while the E-Hybrid is rated at 10.5L/100km, or 23 mpg. So no, it’s not about efficiency or being green.
It’s about E-POWER
The twin-turbocharged 2.9-litre V6 and the electric motor team up to generate a total of 457 horsepower and 516 lb.-ft. or torque. This is a huge improvement over the Panamera 4’s 330 horsepower and equal torque. With this kind of power, the E-Hybrid Sport Turismo hits 100 km/h from a standstill in only 4.6 seconds (0-60 mph in 4.4 seconds) compared to the other’s time of 5.3 seconds (5 seconds). And here’s the reason why one selects an E-Hybrid.
The electric boost kicks in almost instantaneously like a big turbocharger and delivers speed in almost no time. Certainly, it can be “fun” to see how fast or how long one can drive in EV mode only. Porsche says the battery and electric motor will take you up to 140 km/h but after that, you’ll need petrol.
There are a dizzying number of ways to manage the power and nearly as many ways to access them. By either using the drive mode wheel on the steering wheel, some controls on the center console, or through the superb 12-inch touchscreen, it is possible to control almost every aspect of the drive, including the adaptive air suspension incl. Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM).
The Hybrid drive mode is of interest in this car and I found that Hybrid Auto, as boring as it sounds, is the best way to attempt to drive this car “green”. Otherwise, it was “Sport”, dampers in Sport, the ride height set too low, and off I went. In a few words, the Panamera drives with such precision and powerful confidence thanks to the endless amount of available grip. As well, with the chassis set in medium and dampers in normal, the ride quality is nearly big luxury sedan like.
I’ll have a Porsche Panamera 4 S Sport Turismo
While I get the appeal of having a PHEV car that can cover 40 km straight without using a drop of fuel, that is if you remember to plug it in (6 hours on a 10A 230V connection or less than half with the optional 7.2-kW on-board charger), I’ll spend the money on a 440 horsepower Panamera 4 S. And Sport Turismo, of course.
According to Porsche, its combined fuel economy is of 11.8L/100 km (20 mpg), it’s about the same price as the 4 E-Hybrid, you get a full trunk, save 700 lbs and it’s 0.2 seconds quicker to 100 km/h and 60 mph. Everything else though would be the same. Or, maybe Papaya Metallic, Mamba Green Metallic, or possibly Carmine red…