The flag­ship Panamera Sport Turismo model is a sports car, lux­u­ri­ous es­tate and high-tech hy­brid all rolled into one.


AT last count, the sec­ond­gen­er­a­tion Porsche Panamera is avail­able in no fewer than 15 vari­ants, which are spread across the reg­u­lar Panamera (fast­back), Panamera Ex­ec­u­tive (long­wheel­base) and Panamera Sport Turismo (es­tate) models. Buy­ers are se­ri­ously spoilt for choice. At the top of the Panamera Sport Turismo range is the Turbo S E-Hy­brid vari­ant. Although it is a sta­tion wagon, Porsche would rather that you don’t re­fer to it as such, or even call it an es­tate or shoot­ing brake, as these terms are used by other Ger­man car­mak­ers for their wag­ons.

In­spired by the 918 Spy­der hy­per­car, the Turbo S E-Hy­brid Sport Turismo has a twin­tur­bocharged 4-litre V8 with

550hp that’s paired to a 136hp elec­tric mo­tor. To­gether, they have an out­put of 680hp.

The elec­tric mo­tor is also ca­pa­ble of de­liv­er­ing 400Nm of torque al­most in­stan­ta­neously. When joined by the twin-turbo V8 en­gine, their com­bined torque fig­ure is 850Nm. These out­puts are why you won’t even no­tice that this es­tate has an ele­phan­tine kerb weight of 2325kg. That’s 290kg heav­ier than the Panamera Turbo Sport Turismo.

With all-wheel-drive as stan­dard, this pow­er­ful sta­tion wagon re­mains planted at any speed. The pre­cise electro­mechan­i­cal helm and op­tional rear-wheel-steer­ing fit­ted to the test car fur­ther en­hance its over­all sta­bil­ity and nim­ble­ness.

Still, it is more at home rock­et­ing down high­ways rather than charg­ing around moun­tain passes.

Help­ing to keep this Panamera’s size and power in check are the huge car­bon-ce­ramic brakes that pro­vide re­as­sur­ing stop­ping power. These are com­ple­mented by the adap­tive three-cham­ber air sus­pen­sion sys­tem, which de­liv­ers a taut but well-damped ride.

Porsche claims that this range-top­ping Sport Turismo model av­er­ages 33.3km per litre, a fig­ure that’s hardly be­liev­able. In­deed, when I drove the car through moun­tain roads with the drive mode set to Sport, I av­er­aged 5.6km per litre, or nearly six times worse.

How­ever, when I was cruis­ing on the open high­way in Hy­brid Auto mode, my fuel econ­omy im­proved to 10km per litre. That’s not too shabby when you con­sider that this es­tate de­liv­ers a su­per­car-quick cen­tury sprint time of 3.4 sec­onds (in Sport Plus) and has a po­ten­tial top speed of 310km/h. In fact, the Panamera Turbo S E-Hy­brid Sport Turismo even ex­ceeds the per­for­mance of ri­vals such as the Audi RS6 Avant and Mercedes-AMG E63 S es­tate.

This Sport Turismo is a plugin hy­brid, and when con­nected to a reg­u­lar socket, it takes six hours for its lithium-ion bat­ter­ies to be fully charged. When this is done, the es­tate sup­pos­edly has a max­i­mum pure elec­tric range of 49km. But I reckon 30km would be a more re­al­is­tic fig­ure for ur­ban com­mutes.

It’s a shame that 18 per­cent of the boot ca­pac­ity is oc­cu­pied by the ad­di­tional hy­brid com­po­nents. As a re­sult, there’s only 425 litres of space (rear seats up), or 95 litres less than a non-hy­brid Sport Turismo. For­tu­nately, fold­ing down the rear seats ex­pands this ca­pac­ity to 1295 litres. Porsche may be spear­head­ing a trend to­wards hy­brid per­for­mance cars. But I will def­i­nitely miss the glo­ri­ous sound­track of a big petrol en­gine. For although the Panamera Turbo S E-Hy­brid Sport Turismo is un­de­ni­ably the world’s fastest sta­tion wagon to date, it also sounds like my trusty vac­uum cleaner.

With 680hp and 850Nm, and equipped with op­tional rear-wheel­steer­ing, you wouldn’t think that this plugin petrol­elec­tric es­tate weighs over 2.3 tonnes.

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