Going green with envy
The latest variant of Porsche’s sedan combines eco credentials and a real lust factor
THE fastest and easily most desirable hybrid to hit Australia will be here within months. The Porsche Panamera S Hybrid arrives in August as the seventh version of the flagship four-door. So what does it have that other hybrids don’t? Snappy performance, sports handling, luxury fitout and fuel economy the government rewards.
VALUE You can knock more than $5600 off the $298,300 price by fitting $290 low-rollingresistance tyres that cut fuel consumption from 7.1L/100km to 6.8, beating the luxury car tax 7.0L/100km barrier.
Luxury equipment includes touchscreen communications, Bose audio, adaptive air suspension that adjusts height and firmness, dynamic cornering lights, leather trim, power-adjustable heated front seats and two-zone airconditioning. There’s no spare tyre— just a sealant kit.
The Aston Martin Rapide and Maserati Quattroporte are natural rivals but the hybrid system sets it apart. The Lexus LS 600hL hybrid limo is cheaper but thirstier and, in both looks and feel, pudgier. The much cheaper MercedesBenz S350 CDI has the technology, economy and luxury but not the sporty looks.
TECHNOLOGY The drivetrain is Cayenne S Hybrid. The 245kW/440Nm 3.0-litre petrol V6 is paired with a 34kW/300Nm electric motor powered by a nickel metal hydride (NiMh) battery that stores braking energy. The Panamera gets the Cayenne’s eight-speed sequential auto, with gear changes adapted for a hybrid.
It also includes a stop-start system and clutch that, at up to 165km/h, disengages the engine when you ease off the pedal, letting you sail (as Porsche calls it) without using fuel.
Its electric-only range is 2km on the flat: not far but enough for a guilt-free run to the shop.
However, the Panamera still has Porsche bloodlines under its greenish skin. Boost mode, when you hit the accelerator,
Familiar: It may be a hybrid but it is still a Porsche through and through