Having transformed the Panamera from an ugly duckling into a beautiful swan, Porsche has decided to improved its environmental credentials as well. The Panamera 4 E-Hybrid packs a sledgehammer punch, but can dial back the insanity and quietly run on pure electric power.
Forget about underwhelming hybrids, the all-wheel drive Panamera 4 E-Hybrid is more 918 Spyder than Prius. The sprint to 100 km/h (62 mph) flies past in just 4.6 seconds, and it doesn't stop pulling until 278 km/h (173 mph) is showing on the speedo. The impressive performance comes from the combination of a biturbo 2.9-liter V6 pumping out 243 kW (330 hp) and 450 Nm, and an electric motor with 100 kW (136 hp) and 400 Nm of torque.
Perhaps more impressive than the overall power output is the way the two power sources integrate. In the last Panamera Hybrid, the electric boost only kicked in when the throttle was dipped past 80 percent. Sure, it was useful at full speed, but there was no real benefit to having the electric power in most circumstances.
Now there are four hybrid modes on offer: E-Power for emissions free city running, Hybrid Auto for an automatic combination of petrol and electric power, E-Hold to conserve the battery charge for later and E-Charge when you want to V6 to filter charge into the battery.
With electric power to help out, Porsche has managed to eke out some seriously impressive official fuel efficiency figures. On the combined New European Drive Cycle it returns 2.5 l/100 km (113 MPG) and emits just 56 g/km of CO2. Sure, it's unlikely an owner will ever be able to get anywhere near that in the real world, but it's an impressive headline figure nonetheless.
Plugging into the wall using the inbuilt 230-V charger will recharge the battery in 5.8 hours, while upgrading to an optional 32-A connector cuts that time to just 3.6 hours.
Even though it's significantly more efficient than the rest of the petrol-powered range, Porsche hasn't done a heap to set the outside of the Panamera 4 E-Hybrid apart from its siblings. Sure, there are unique five spoke wheels and green brake callipers, but otherwise it's business as usual. Good thing, too, because the standard car is seriously handsome.
It's a similar story inside, where the traditional Porsche instrument binnacle has been tweaked to include more information about the hybrid system. Beyond that, the 12.3-inch central touchscreen and touch sensitive center console are unchanged.
There's no information on pricing for the new Panamera Hybrid, but we'll be on the ground to check it out when it launches at the Paris Motor Show later this month.
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