Regular carwow readers will know that we recently flew to Germany to check out the new, second generation Porsche Panamera. In truth, it’s more of a nip and tuck operation than a wholesale overhaul, but we couldn’t help but be mightily impressed with the all-new Panamera S E-Hybrid.
OK, so it’s not cheap. And if you’re not a fan of the current Panamera, you’re unlikely to be won over by the refreshed styling. But, we happen to think that the S E-Hybrid is arguably the most relevant Panamera you can buy. Especially if you live or work in London.
By emitting just 71g/km of CO2, the Porsche Panamera S E-Hybrid just creeps under the new 75g/km London Congestion Charge, meaning you can drive this £88,967 premium hybrid without paying a penny to Boris and his chums.
Not only that, it’s free of road tax and could, theoretically, achieve 91mpg on a combined cycle. Don’t believe it? Well let us tell you that – under admittedly torturous conditions – we achieved the equivalent of 2,825mpg.
OK, so this done at snail-pace and with virtually all accessories and climate control switched off, but even so, we managed to drive the best part of 32 miles on electric power. Don’t worry, if we weren’t there, we wouldn’t believe us either.
Explaining just how the Panamera achieves such remarkable results would be tricky within the confines of a 500-word review, but it’s all down to the 3.0-litre supercharged V6 engine, which is mated to a 95hp electric motor, to provide a total output of 416hp.
Unless the battery levels are depleted, the Panamera S E-Hybrid will automatically start in electric mode, with energy drawn from a new 9.4kWh lithium-ion battery.
In electric E-Power mode, the Panamera will accelerate to 31mph in 6.1 seconds and go on to reach a top speed of 84mph.
In full-fat, high-caffeine Sport mode, the Panamera will pass 62mph in just 5.5 seconds before going on to a top speed of 167mph. Naturally, there’s a middle ground – with Hybrid mode offering the best of both worlds. At 435lb ft of torque, only the flagship Panamera Turbo offers more punch. Saving the planet has never been more fulfilling.
And this is very much the point of the Porsche Panamera S E-Hybrid. If you’re fortunate enough to be in the position to own an apartment in London and a weekend hideaway in the country, the Panamera S E-Hybrid might just be the perfect car for you.
It retains the Panamera’s glorious interior, which remains a paragon of good taste and quality. But beware, the Panamera is strictly a four-seater, so anyone with more than two children need to look elsewhere. Or leave one of the children at home.
Porsche will supply a charging point free of charge, but you’ll need to arrange for the installation. From a domestic supply, you can expect to see a full charge in about four hours. Porsche estimates that this will equate to a real world range of between 11 and 22 miles which, given our experience, seems rather conservative.
So what are the catches?
Well, at 2,095kg, the Panamera S E-Hybrid is not exactly lightweight and you can certainly feel the extra weight of the batteries when accelerating. The ride is also a little more jittery than the standard Panamera, plus the brakes are short on feel – a common problem with electric or hybrid vehicles.
Price as tested: £88,967
Combined MPG: 91.1
But given that most people won’t be buying the Panamera to experience the best B-roads at 6am on a Sunday morning, we think these are small prices to pay.
Talking of which, there’s the issue of cost. At £88,967, the S-E Hybrid is some £26,000 more than the 44.8mpg Panamera Diesel. In the real world, we sense that this is still the sensible choice for the rare few who wish to run a Panamera on a budget.
But such is the wonderment associated with the Panamera S E-Hybrid, we can’t help but get excited about it. A technical masterpiece.