With Porsche’s four-door sedan looking less and less like the Hunchback of Notre Dame, the Paris Motor Show will see Porsche unveil the fourth model in the Panamera line: a plug-in E-Hybrid with all-wheel drive and an electric range of 31 miles (that’s 50 kilometres for the rest of us).
More than just a luxury sportscar with green overtones, Porsche’s new plug-in packs a grab-bag of technology that other Volkswagen Group brands will want to get their hands on.
The Panamera E-Hybrid will be advertised with a net output of 462 horsepower and 516 pounds-feet of twist. This number is achieved courtesy of a 2.9-liter twin-turbo V6 producing 330 hp/331 lb-ft and an electric motor making 136 hp/295 lb-ft. Power is sent to all four wheels through an eight-speed PDK transmission.
As with the 918 Spyder supercar, the power of the Panamera electric motor is made available as soon as your toes touch the accelerator pedal. In the past, the pedal needed to be pressed at least 80 per cent of the way down to unshackle those additional electric horses. This means drivers can leave their math set at home from now on.
Of interest are a couple of new drive modes outlined by Porsche. This Panamera will always start in the purely electric “E-Power” mode. “Hybrid Auto” mode is reportedly a completely new development. When this mode is selected, the Panamera automatically combines the gasoline and electric drive sources, selecting one or the other (or both) for greater efficiency. In “E-Charge” mode, the battery is charged by the V6 engine. To achieve this, the gasoline engine generates more power than is actually needed for driving (speak for yourself, Porsche; I’ll take all the power I can get while driving).
The boffins at Stuttgart saved the highest level of drive performance for the wholly unoriginally named “Sport” and “Sport Plus” modes. The V6 biturbo engine is alive and kicking continuously in these two modes. In “Sport”, the battery charge is always maintained at a minimum level to ensure there are sufficient e-boost reserve capacities when needed. “Sport Plus” mode is all about maximum performance and allows the Panamera to reach its top speed of 278 km/h (173 mph). This mode also recharges the battery as quickly as possible with the help of the V6 biturbo engine. I’ll take Sport Plus, thank you very much.
Acceleration from 0-60 is pegged by Porsche at about 4.6 seconds. It’s worth speculating whether this hybrid technology might find its way into other Volkswagen Group vehicles. Any thoughts on that, B&B? In any case, this model bears little familial resemblance to the first hybrid vehicle developed by Ferdinand Porsche and, sadly, does not include the epic hats sported by drivers of that period.
The first units in Europe will be delivered from mid-April. Deliveries in all other continents follows in 2017.[Images: Porsche AG]