Porsche Panamera 4S E-Hybrid test: the superlative hybrid





 Among luxury manufacturers, Porsche has a serious head start over its competitors since it has been offering hybrids since 2010. An experience that it uses in a revised and revised version of its Panamera limousine, which seeks to play on all the tables: luxury, sport, autonomy and 100% electric driving.

Even though plug-in hybrid technology is expensive, it is paradoxically not in the most luxurious categories that it has gained most traction. Of course, Ferrari and McLaren did offer their hybrid supercars, but these are very limited production models. Bentley and Rolls-Royce still do not offer them, while the more luxurious BMWs and Mercedes have been slow to convert.


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 Successful electric turn for Porsche



The situation is very different at Porsche, whose Cayenne and Panamera are now selling more than 90% in electrified version on the French market, not to mention of course the famous 100% electric Taycan that Clubic has already taken in hand. The sports car manufacturer has even completely removed its diesel engine offer since 2018. This craze only concerns “family” models for the moment, including the Panamera, competing with the Mercedes S-Class, Audi A8 and other BMW 7 Series. A limousine that belongs to the world of very great luxury, the prices of which can greatly exceed € 150,000 depending on the version. A certain idea of ​​the automobile that only Bentley, Rolls-Royce and to a lesser extent Maybach are capable of overtaking.




Following its restyling, the second generation of the limousine, launched in 2016, does not offer one but three rechargeable versions, including a new 4S E-Hybrid which fits between the 4 E-Hybrid and the Turbo S E -Hybrid. Like all its sisters in the range, it receives a new battery which goes from 14.1 kWh to 17.9 kWh while maintaining the same size. It powers an electric motor located in the eight-speed transmission, mated to a petrol V6. The difference from the entry-level 4 E-Hybrid lies in the heat engine, which powers up from 330 to 440 hp, for a total cumulative power of 560 hp. What to fill the hole which existed compared to the Turbo S E-Hybrid V8, which now claims 700 ch in total ... Figures that make you dizzy. It remains to be seen how this translates behind the wheel.





An Airbus-style cockpit



When you get behind the wheel of the Panamera, what strikes you first of all is the quality of the materials, especially in our test model with the extended leather interior in Marsala Red, electric sports seats adjustable in 18 positions and the carbon decoration pack, little jokes billed respectively € 3,588, € 3,268 and € 1,644. The full screen is in order, but the Panamera uses the principle of the central analog tachometer framed by two instrumentation panels.

Fluid in operation, the multimedia interface is controlled by the imposing 12.3-inch touch screen, the size of which has not changed. The Porsche-designed 'PCM' operating system, on the other hand, has been updated and offers all of today's connected refinements, from real-time traffic to internet radio to Apple Music. Note that Porsche is as usual resistant to the Android auto interface, although this will, it seems, change soon. Either way, the menus of the Porsche system have plenty to keep the tech-savvy busy. Each of them offer an impressive number of features, useful or unnecessary. For example, the one concerning journeys, of course allows you to display the mileage since departure or reset, but also to select configurable hourly or weekly slots.




A profusion of possibilities that allows you to think of yourself as the pilot of an Airbus or the Enterprise spacecraft but which appears to be a real flaw when you want to quickly access a feature while driving. We therefore appreciate that Porsche has retained a battery of haptic buttons allowing direct access to the most essential sections. Unfortunately, their location does not always make sense. A long period of habituation is to be expected in order to master the ergonomics of the car. In this case, there are better elsewhere, for example at Tesla.

You'd almost forget it, but the Panamera isn't just a Porsche, it's also a limo that appreciates in the back. Comfort is royal there even if the legroom is perhaps not quite what you would expect from a car over five meters. It is true that it is also available in an extended 'Executive' version. The three-seater rear configuration of our model should only be considered in the event of a breakdown as the middle position is limited by the transmission tunnel. The trunk offers an acceptable capacity and is not burdened by the battery ... except that there is no storage under the floor for the charging cables. Suddenly these take the place of a travel bag. Pity. Note, however, that the car is available in a Sport Turismo version which can be likened to a station wagon, although of course the manufacturer does not utter that word.



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The limousine that can do it all




Even when it prides itself on playing local cars, a Porsche remains a Porsche, and is judged first at the wheel. It is also at the level of the running gear that the restyling of the Panamera had the most consequences: it received a new steering inspired by that of the 911, new tires and an evolution of its three-chamber air suspension. . Our model was additionally equipped with the rear wheel steering option at € 2,100. We’re going to take it easy: in this configuration, it offers a comfort / sportiness ratio that is quite simply from another world, which neither the BMW 7 Series nor the Audi A8 can achieve. This is all the more a feat as the hybrid system weighs its weight: this Porsche admits 2,230 kg on the scale!

This does not prevent her from playing ballerinas on the small roads of the Nice hinterland, where she seems to ignore her pounds and even her bulk, thanks to the rear steering wheels. And despite its authentic sporting capabilities, it offers impeccable comfort, despite its huge 20-inch rims. Even when the sport mode is activated, the level of filtering appears remarkable. If there is one area where it justifies its price and demonstrates the technological know-how of its manufacturer, this is it.






Of course, the powertrain has all the energy it needs to exploit its capabilities. You could even say it's already too much for the open road: it pushes all the time, at all revs, in all eight gears of the dual-clutch transmission. Note that you can take advantage of this going in any mode: a small button in the center of the steering wheel allows you to enjoy maximum acceleration for 30 seconds, the time to overtake, including in electric mode . Smart.

We can still blame it for its not very demonstrative character: the sound is not unpleasant but appears very muffled. Even Porsche struggles to make a turbo engine with a particulate filter sound good. Finally, it should be noted that we did not notice any notable difference in performance when the battery announces 0% charge.

Comfortable on small roads, the Panamera is obviously on motorways, but of course a little less in town, where its size and poor visibility to the rear affect its versatility somewhat.




Who can do the most can do the least?




Dynamically, this Porsche fulfills its contract. It remains to be seen whether its hybridization fulfills its own, that is to say, reducing fuel consumption and offering satisfactory range in electric mode. When the latter is activated, the Panamera does not use its heat engine: the electric power is sufficient to allow it to travel on roads and motorways at a 'sufficient' pace.

Difficult to establish a record of autonomy on our course with a lot of vertical drop. However, as an indication, we have drained the battery after 40 km on a road trip between 50 and 80 km / h. A figure which is not a record, but which seems logical given the size of the battery and the mass to be towed. On the other hand, it should be noted that even when the battery is discharged, the Panamera often continues to run on electric power thanks to fine management of energy recovery under braking.




Contrary to the fashion of the moment, it uses every favorable moment to recharge the battery and does not prefer coasting. This has repercussions in terms of consumption: we recorded 8.3 l / 100 km on the computer on a road and urban route and 12.5 l / 100 km in active driving on mountain roads. Figures which have nothing to do of course with those of a Toyota Prius or the 2.8 l / 100 km announced in the WLTP cycle. This remains reasonable, however, given the performance and services offered.

The 80-liter tank allows a reasonable total autonomy to be envisaged, while the recharging of the battery can benefit from an optional 7.2 kW recharge (€ 720), which is not very common among hybrids. It reduces the recharging time by 100% of the battery to 2:40 compared to 8:40 on a conventional outlet.





A luxury that pays off




Unsurprisingly, the Panamera 4S E-Hybrid is paid at an elite price: the base price is set at 132,316 €. It is not absolutely certain that the additional cost of 17,040 € compared to version 4 E-Hybrid which already offers 462 hp in full health and the same battery is justified. However, we know that rationality is not the first reason for buying a Porsche, which probably explains the length of the options catalog. For example, the total price of our test model was € 170,608!

And unlike Mercedes and BMW, the sports car specialist has not given up on his sense of stinginess. You must therefore add € 1,104 for hands-free access, € 840 for the five-seater configuration, € 1,416 for the front and rear parking sensors with panoramic camera. As much refinement as is found in series on certain high finishes of cars less expensive 100,000 €.

The Panamera Hybrid owes its success not to its sense of economy but rather to the leniency of the State regarding this type of engine. Despite its power, it completely escapes the ecological penalty and the TVS for companies. A privilege that will be partially called into question from 2022 with the weight penalty.



Porsche Panamera 4 S E-Hybrid review



Some proponents of the tradition accuse electrification of causing a leveling of performance in the automobile. The Panamera Hybrid shows that it is not. It offers dynamic qualities inaccessible to common manufacturers and a truly exceptional comfort to agility ratio for such a car. While less spectacular and may be less sporty than the electric Taycan offered at a similar price, it is much more versatile and easy to use on a daily basis, especially for those who roll on long journeys.



Porsche Panamera 4S E-Hybrid tech. Sheet

  • Dimensions L x W x H in meters: 5.05 x 1.94 x 1.42.
  • Wheelbase: 2.95.
  • Boot space: From 403 to 1,242 liters.
  • Empty weight: 2,225 kg.
  • Number of seats: 5.
  • Thermal engine: Six cylinders in V gasoline turbo.
  • Displacement: 2,894 cc.
  • Power: 440 ch.
  • Electric motor: A synchronous electric motor.
  • Power: 136 ch.
  • Battery capacity: 17.9 kWh.
  • Charging time on mains: 8.40 hours.
  • Total cumulative power: 560 hp.
  • Total cumulative torque: 750 Nm.
  • Propulsion: Integral.
  • Steering: Electric rack and pinion.
  • Front suspension: Double wishbone, air springs.
  • Rear suspension: Multi-link, air springs.
  • 0 to 100 km / h: 7.01 seconds.
  • Maximum speed: 220 km / h.




Prices and equipment

  • Porsche Panamera 4S E-Hybrid: 132,316 €.
  • Ecological bonus: 0 €.
  • Standard equipment.
  • Extended leather upholstery.
  • Alloy rims (20 inches).
  • Navigation.
  • LED headlights.
  • Optional equipment.
  • Metallic paint: From € 1,248 to € 3,588.
  • Head-up display: € 1,476.
  • Reversing camera: 564 €.
  • Keyless entry and start: € 1,104.
  • Adaptive regulator: € 2,352.
  • Panoramic roof: € 2,124 .


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