Porsche Panam­era 4 E-hy­brid

Mid-range op­tion

Auto Car (UK) - - CONTENTS - MATT SAUN­DERS @Thedark­stormy1

The lower end of the Porsche Panam­era range is al­ready a con­fus­ing place. There’s the en­try-level Panam­era, the Panam­era 4, the 4S and the 4S Diesel down here, sub-£100k op­tions all, pow­ered by no fewer than three dif­fer­ent en­gines be­tween them.

Into that mix en­ters the four­wheel-drive 4 E-hy­brid, adding V6 petrol-electric power to the ex­ist­ing choice of V6 petrol or V8 diesels – and that’s not counting the V8 petrol or V8 petrol-electric op­tions on of­fer if you spend up­wards of £100,000 on a Turbo. This hy­brid slots in be­tween the reg­u­lar Panam­era 4 and the pair of 4S mod­els, be­ing slightly slow­er­ac­cel­er­at­ing than both on pa­per de­spite hav­ing more power.

Given that you’re get­ting an ex­tra 22bhp and 110lb ft and free­ing up nearly £10k on what you might have spent on a 4S petrol, might this be the range’s sweet spot? Maybe. Real-world per­for­mance is bet­ter rep­re­sented by in-gear ac­cel­er­a­tion than stand­ing-start times, and in man­ual mode, pick­ing up from hum­drum speeds in a high-ish gear, the E-hy­brid is mus­cu­lar and brisk.

There are Electric, Hy­brid, Sport and Sport+ driv­ing modes, with a range of about 25 miles on a full charge in the first of them. Electric mode pro­vides plenty of per­for­mance for city mo­tor­ing. The con­trast when you move to Sport is a big one: the twin-turbo V6 growls an­grily and con­jures a dis­tinct per­for­mance flavour. When punt­ing around at ur­ban speeds, the eight-speed du­al­clutch gear­box can strug­gle to make the car feel at once re­spon­sive and smooth, but when you’re ac­cel­er­at­ing hard out of town, it works quickly and blends the dual sources of torque very well.

Another ad­van­tage over the more ex­pen­sive 4S petrol is adap­tive air sus­pen­sion as stan­dard, which makes the Panam­era ride and han­dle with an im­pres­sive mix of sup­ple­ness, iso­la­tion and body con­trol. The weight penalty of the hy­brid drive bat­tery presents un­der high lat­eral loads but isn’t a bar­rier to en­joy­ing the car at nor­mal speeds. It feels agile for a car of this size.

Few lux­ury GTS beat the Panam­era on out­right driver ap­peal, but this one still ranks be­hind a Turbo and a 4S Diesel for us. If you’re look­ing to make your money go far­thest, though, the E-hy­brid has plenty of ap­peal – and it’s vastly bet­ter to drive than its im­me­di­ate pre­de­ces­sor was.

Panam­era still ranks highly as a driver’s-choice GT, even in hy­brid form

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