Porsche Panamera: Should You Get the Hybrid?

Porsche's second-generation Panamera 4 E-Hybrid is a technological powerhouse. But can it beat a regular 4S?

Máté Petrány / Road&Track

Right now, Porsche's got three news for you: the 2019 Cayenne, their crazy fast new cruise control system called InnoDrive, and the 2018 Panamera 4 E-Hybrid. Which – now that we've mentioned it – is also available with their crazy fast new cruise control system, 462 hybrid horses. But is that enough against 440 regular ones?

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Porsche's new hybrid setup is a huge step forward from the first generation. It pairs a detuned, 330 hp version of the twin-turbo 2.9 V6 with a 136 hp electric electric motor, providing you with 516 lb.-ft. of combined peak torque in the process. More importantly, it doesn't use the electric power solely as a booster anymore. Previously, you needed 80 percent throttle to engage the motor, but now, the system is always on. And while the pure electric range has been upgraded to 31 miles, in Sport and Sport+, more aggressive (and 3-way adjustable) energy regeneration makes sure you won't drain the 14kWh battery pack.

Máté Petrány / Road&Track
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All this makes the E-Hybrid quicker than the standard Panamera 4, without sacrificing too much practicality. Thanks to the well hidden battery and the DSG gearbox cut shorter by 16mm, the electrified four-door can have a flat floor at the rear, while it only loses 3.3 cubic feet of luggage space compared to the regular car, as well as 2.8 gallons in fuel capacity. In return, Porsche claims a 10 percent gain in efficiency.

What's remarkable about the E-Hybrid's drivetrain is how seamlessly it switches from pure electric to the most responsive Sport+ mode, or back, any moment you choose. There's no jerking or any sort of vibration. The car just pushes forward, only informing you about your actual means of transport by dropping the tachometer's needle to zero from time to time. And even then, there's fake engine noise pumping from the stereo, maximizing confusion.

The new hybrid is also quick, but not Turbo quick, that's for sure. In fact, it speeds up more like a battlecruiser, always having enough in reserve to move its reassuringly rigid chassis to whatever speed you may desire. As long as it doesn't exceed 172 mph.

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Off the top of his head, Porsche's Dr. Gernot Döllner told us that the electric upgrades add 595 lbs. to the Panamera's curb weight. The problem is that according to the internet, that figure is more in the 666 lbs. ballpark, and that's a whole lot of dead bodies in the trunk. Not to mention what bodies do to the weight distribution of Porsche's sedan.

Máté Petrány / Road&Track

Driving a 4123 lbs. Panamera 4S after a 4787 lbs. 4 E-Hybrid feels like day and night in terms of driving dynamics. It's just a more exciting car to throw into a corner, despite the fact that on paper, it's the less powerful of the two. The Panamera 4 E-Hybrid only starts to drive like a Porsche should in Sport+ mode, which then completely defeats the purpose of driving a hybrid.

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Still, there are two major points landing on hybrid island. For one, the greener Panamera starts at $99,600, while the 440 hp 4S is actually a $103,000 affair. You get the more versatile car with an equally posh interior and very high build quality for slightly less, which is nice. Perhaps more importantly, I find that wasting fuel in an endless traffic jam is one of the huge pains of urban commuting. The hybrid will eliminate that problem flawlessly.

That has to be a huge , even knowing that until major cities start banning internal combustion from entering their centers, only those should take on the weight penalty who really don't care all that much about driving. That's still a lot of people.

Máté Petrány / Road&Track
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