Is it possible for one of the world most glamorous purveyors of high performance sport car to produce a hybrid Luxury grand tourer than can be fast, furious, yet be also fuel miserly?
Well, Porsche has a car that does indeed go like a rocket and yet sips fuel like a stingy Scotsman nursing a drink in a bar. The 2016 Porsche Panamera S e-Hybrid is indeed the answer to slightly ease the thoughts of using precious fuel being wasted.And wait for it…Porsche Canada announced in late 2015 that it has lowered the starting price of the Panamera S E-Hybrid for 2016 model year. The first plug-in hybrid vehicle in the luxury segment will now be offered at a starting price of $106,600 – a reduction of $3,400 compared to the 2015 model year.
Porsches big, luxurious four-door Panamera S e-Hybrid uses a V6 engine with an electric motor and plug in rechargeable 9.4 kWh Lithium battery and can run on the gasoline engine, the battery, or a combination of both. It uses an eight-speed Tiptronic S transmission.
The four-door Panamera comes as the base Panamera and Panamera 4, with 3.6-litre V6; the Panamera S and Panamera 4S offer a 4.8-litre V8; and Panamera Turbo and Turbo S, ups the ante with a twin-turbocharged 4.8-litre V8. True gearheads will opt for either the Turbo making 500 horsepower, or the full-on Turbo S with 550 horsepower, thanks to faster-responding turbochargers and unique engine management. The 4, 4S and Turbo are all-wheel drive.
Remember,this is a Porsche, so the interior is just wonderfully detailed and with four doors so you can squeeze the family or some pals in. Everything in the interior is of simply fantastic quality, fit and finish. There is of course top class; leather, aluminum and wood trim. All four seats are also superbly sculpted to your body- firm yet comfortable – both front and rear. Rear passengers are equally cosseted with their own HVAC controls and offer lots of room to stretch out.
Now to the meat, the fuel economy figures for the e-hybrid ring in officially at a stunning 4.7 L/100km City on electric consumption and 9.4 L/100km using gasoline power…on par with many fuel efficient mid- size V6 sedans from mass automakers.
Canadas official Energuide fuel consumption guide estimates a fuel saving of over b$2,070 over five years and an annual fuel cost on$2,212 with average mileage And don’t think to speed and acceleration is comprised either as; the big sleek Grand Touring sedans 270 km/hour top speed, and 6.0-second 0-100 km/hour dash are still trademark Porsche.
The V6 gas engine is rated at a healthy 333 hp, the electric motor at 97 hp, and the combined output is still an eye-watering 416 hp, with 435 lb-ft of torque. And it’s dead clever is the Panamera Hybrid, operating as a “parallel hybrid” – meaning it can run on gas alone, electric power or some combination of both. Sophisticated computers and sensors also allow the twin power sources to be switched off and on in “coasting” or “sailing” mode to further maximize fuel economy.
You can also drive a couple of kilometers on batteries alone. In bumper-to-bumper traffic you can run mostly on battery power. Best of all you can fully recharge the lithium ion battery via a plug in charger from your home garage or the increasing number of public electric charging stations being built.
However drive the hybrid hard and you are still rewarded with adrenalin induced stupor typically experienced by lucky Porsche owners. Stab the throttle and the big sedan just thrusts forward with an urgent whoosh. There is no howling V8, but more of a smoother, turbine -like rush. And of course the Panamera hybrid is totally and eerier silent when using just electric power on starting and in low power conditions when the engines switches off to use battery power.Use the eight-speed Tiptronic transmissions manual paddles and you can orchestrate a wonderful series of up and downshifts. 7th and 8th gear basically become overdrive gears and promote smooth transitions. Handling, steering and traction are all superb with the heavy, solid tactile feel so beloved and unique. The big sedan also stops on a dime thanks to the amazing brakes.
The fuel economy figures is an incredible feat for Porsche even if they are not important to someone who can afford to spend over $106,000 for a hybrid car. However, what is commendable is that Porsche, despite offering performance cars few can afford is being both socially and environmentally judicious in its policy. Porsche may have gone green, but have done it with typical Teutonic style and efficiency, with no compromise. This new hybrid is a simply breathtaking guilt-free car to drive and own.
2016 Porsche Panamera S e-HybridMSRP $106,280
Auto Review by Veeno Dewan