PORSCHE PANAMERA 4 E-HY­BRID

The Panamera 4 E-Hy­brid is a fast­back with plenty of green tech­nol­ogy and equally plen­ti­ful sporti­ness.

Torque (Singapore) - - CONTENTS - STORY JEREMY CHUA LO­CA­TION CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA

MOST car­mak­ers pro­duce petrol-elec­tric hybrids to meet emis­sion reg­u­la­tions and demon­strate their ecofriendly tech­nolo­gies.

Toy­ota is a per­fect ex­am­ple of this. The brand’s Prius model is the bench­mark when it comes to green mo­tor­ing.

Man­u­fac­tur­ers such as Porsche, on the other hand, cre­ate hybrids for the sole pur­pose of demon­strat­ing that they can cre­ate green cars with dev­as­tat­ing per­for­mance.

In­deed, Porsche’s halo model is the lim­ited-edi­tion 918 Spy­der – a hy­brid hy­per­car ca­pa­ble of lap­ping the Nur­bur­gring in less than seven min­utes. Six min­utes and 57 sec­onds, to be ex­act. So when Porsche says that their in­spi­ra­tion for the new Panamera 4 E-Hy­brid is the 918 Spy­der, you’d bet­ter be­lieve that they’re dead se­ri­ous.

Walk up to this fast­back sa­loon and you’ll im­me­di­ately no­tice that it has more road pres­ence than its pre­de­ces­sor, the Panamera S E-Hy­brid.

See­ing this, I be­gan won­der­ing how Porsche was go­ing to make this size­able all-wheel-drive fast­back con­sume even less fuel than the older model, which has a rear-wheel-drive lay­out.

Per­haps this would be ac­com­plished by the slightly smaller en­gine. The Panamera 4 E-Hy­brid has a tur­bocharged 2.9-litre V6, whereas its pre­de­ces­sor has a su­per­charged 3-litre V6. But when I read how much more mus­cle the new E-Hy­brid has, I re­ally be­gan doubt­ing the car’s green cre­den­tials.

With its en­gine and elec­tric mo­tor at full tilt, the Panamera 4 E-Hy­brid will de­liver 462bhp of power and 700Nm of torque. Those fig­ures eclipse the Panamera S E-Hy­brid’s by 46bhp and 110Nm. And with the Sport Chrono Pack­age in­stalled, this petrol­elec­tric plug-in hy­brid will fin­ish the cen­tury sprint in 4.6 sec­onds. That is as quick as the 911 Car­rera with a 7-speed man­ual gear­box.

That should be enough to elicit a “wow”. But when you con­sider that this fast­back weighs 2.1 tonnes (700kg more than the 911), that zero-to-100km/h time looks even more im­pres­sive.

Just as com­pelling is how this Panamera feels when you’re be­hind its steer­ing wheel.

De­spite its size, the car never feels large. In the pre­vi­ous-gen Panamera, you had to drive it rea­son­ably quick in or­der to feel the car “shrink” around you. With the new Panamera 4 E-Hy­brid’s more mus­cu­lar pow­er­train, go­ing quickly is all too easy.

The car starts in the fully elec­tric E-Power mode, pro­pelled by its 14.1kWh lithium-ion bat­tery, which is sub­stan­tially more pow­er­ful than the pre­ced­ing model’s 9.4kWh bat­tery.

Un­for­tu­nately, the bat­tery in my test-car had been emp­tied by the pre­vi­ous pair of jour­nal­ists who drove it. So, I had no choice but to drive it mostly in Hy­brid Auto mode.

In this set­ting, the Panamera au­to­mat­i­cally chooses whether to use the V6, elec­tric mo­tor or both pow­er­trains to drive the car, whilst also charg­ing the lithium-ion bat­tery.

Again, since said bat­tery was flat, the elec­tric pow­er­train couldn’t take over from the V6 for more than a few mo­ments. I set the car to E-Charge and man­aged to juice up the bat­tery just a tad.

But it didn’t take long for all my eco-friendly in­ten­tions to fly out the win­dow. With 462 ponies and

700Nm un­der my right foot, it was dif­fi­cult to re­sist over­tak­ing and blast­ing past slower cars at ev­ery op­por­tu­nity.

It doesn’t help that Porsche con­fig­ured this fast­back for on-de­mand power de­liv­ery.

Ev­ery prod of the throt­tle un­leashes the power of both pow­er­trains, whereas in the pre­ced­ing model, the ac­cel­er­a­tor has to be de­pressed 80 per­cent of the way be­fore the elec­tric mo­tor kicks in.

Be­fore long, I glee­fully se­lected Sport, and later, Sport Plus us­ing the dial on the steer­ing wheel. Th­ese set­tings, how­ever, should just have been called F (Fast) and RF (Ridicu­lously Fast). In­deed, the Panamera 4 E-Hy­brid feels more at home rock­et­ing down open roads and con­quer­ing cor­ners than be­ing driven in an eco-friendly man­ner. And my test-car, which was in­ex­pli­ca­bly shod with op­tional 21-inch wheels (two sizes larger than stan­dard), en­abled me to eas­ily tackle tight bends that would have up­set lesser limos. Dur­ing the fi­nal 20km of my 60km drive, I de­cided to take it easy and at­tempted to eke out a de­cent fuel econ­omy fig­ure.

Alas, the com­bi­na­tion of the flat lithium-ion bat­tery and huge wheels took their toll. De­spite my ef­forts, I only av­er­aged 8.6km per litre – much worse than Porsche’s stated av­er­age fuel con­sump­tion for the car.

But I shouldn’t com­plain. After all, Porsche did say that this ex­ec­u­tive rocket is in­spired by the 918 Spy­der and ex­ists to prove that green cars can have dev­as­tat­ing per­for­mance, too.

IT FEELS MORE AT HOME ROCK­ET­ING DOWN OPEN ROADS AND CON­QUER­ING COR­NERS THAN BE­ING DRIVEN IN AN ECOFRIENDLY MAN­NER.

PG58 GREEN EXEC ROCKET PORSCHE PANAMERA 4 E-HY­BRID

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