Go­ing green with envy

The lat­est vari­ant of Porsche’s sedan com­bines eco cre­den­tials and a real lust fac­tor

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Prestige - KARLA PIN­COTT karla.pin­cott@cars­guide.com.au

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

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