The world’s fastest es­tate blasts off

FIRST DRIVE Flag­ship Turbo S E-hy­brid is the world’s fastest, most pow­er­ful es­tate

Auto Express - - Contents - Kyle For­tune

THE Turbo S badge is re­served for the fastest, mad­dest mod­els in Porsche’s line-up, and it’s just been added to the back of the Panam­era Sport Turismo.

That means Porsche has in­creased the power of the 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 that sits in the stan­dard Turbo to cre­ate the car you can see here by adding a par­al­lel hy­brid pow­er­train. Of­fi­cially, it’s called the Turbo S E-hy­brid Sport Turismo, but the badges sim­ply say ‘Turbo S’ – with an acid-green out­line high­light­ing the fact that this Panam­era is also elec­tri­cally charged.

Porsche isn’t afraid to ad­mit that this car’s hy­brid mod­ule is all about per­for­mance. Yes, there are some ef­fi­ciency ben­e­fits to pop­ping a 136bhp, 400Nm elec­tric mo­tor be­tween the V8 and eight-speed PDK trans­mis­sion. But the lofty com­bined out­put of 671bhp is enough for the brand to lay claim to the ti­tle of the world’s most pow­er­ful es­tate car. The fact the Sport Turismo will drive up to 30 miles on bat­tery power is merely a con­science sav­ing bonus. There is a trade-off with all the hy­brid tech­nol­ogy, how­ever. The Turbo S E-hy­brid loses 95 litres of boot space over a con­ven­tional Sport Turismo, while also adding a 215kg weight penalty. Proper es­tate ri­vals of­fer su­pe­rior prac­ti­cal­ity.

In spite of this ex­tra bulk, the num­bers as­so­ci­ated with the Turbo S are cer­tainly de­serv­ing of the flag­ship Sport Turismo. With four-wheel drive, all that ad­di­tional grunt and wider rear tyres, it’ll cover 0-62mph in 3.4 sec­onds – two-tenths quicker than a Sport Chrono-equipped Turbo. Keep the ac­cel­er­a­tor pushed to the floor and it’ll dou­ble that in 11.9 sec­onds and go on to a higher 192mph top speed.

The weight of the hy­brid sys­tem does lit­tle to blunt the car’s agility, be­cause Porsche has added al­most ev­ery avail­able chas­sis en­hanc­ing sys­tem as stan­dard. There’s adap­tive, three-cham­ber air sus­pen­sion with Ac­tive Sus­pen­sion Man­age­ment, Porsche Dy­namic Chas­sis Con­trol Sport and Porsche Torque Vec­tor­ing Plus, as well as PCCB ce­ramic brakes.

All that wizardry is man­aged by Porsche’s 4D Chas­sis Con­trol, and the only op­tion you can add is rear axle steer­ing. It’s in­con­ceiv­able that any buy­ers at this price point won’t do so, be­cause it does won­ders in be­ly­ing the Panam­era’s size.

The steer­ing of­fers fine weight, if not masses of feel, and the sus­pen­sion rides with a sup­ple­ness that’s limo-like in its Com­fort set­ting and taut and con­trolled in its more sport­ing modes. Only the odd ridge up­sets the car’s com­po­sure. The brakes do a great job of haul­ing back all that mass, even if the pedal feel isn’t quite as in­ci­sive as in non-hy­brid Panam­eras. There are

“On the au­to­bahn the Turbo S E-hy­brid Sport Turismo ac­cel­er­ates with seem­ingly end­less urge”

ac­tive aero­dy­nam­ics to help should you chance upon a high-speed run on the au­to­bahn as well. Here, the Sport Turismo ac­cel­er­ates with seem­ingly end­less urge.

That’s fa­cil­i­tated by the huge 850Nm of torque – pro­duced from 1,400rpm to 5,600rpm. And it’s that which de­fines the per­for­mance. The elas­tic­ity of re­sponse from that hy­brid pow­er­train brings al­waysavail­able pace, in fact. But with that come some unusual and not en­tirely wel­come traits. There’s plenty of force, but lit­tle drama. The or­di­nary Panam­era Turbo of­fers vivid ac­cel­er­a­tion that’s backed with an un­ruly sound­track, while the noise of a Mercedes-amg E 63 Es­tate or Audi RS 6 Avant will also leave you tin­gling in com­par­i­son.

Yes, the Turbo S E-hy­brid has the abil­ity to read­just your in­ter­nals in Sport or Sport+ modes, but it loses a vis­ceral edge. The force it gen­er­ates is more lin­ear, yet less un­hinged, and the ac­tual ad­van­tages it brings are ar­guably negated. A sim­i­larly equipped Turbo will be just as quick in the real world, need less man­age­ment of its pow­er­train and, thanks to its re­duced bulk, make more from the chas­sis.

For those in­ter­ested in run­ning costs, and bizarrely many will be, the Turbo S E-hy­brid emits just 69g/km of CO2, while promis­ing to re­turn nearly 100mpg. You’ll need a rel­a­tively short com­mute and reg­u­lar ac­cess to a charge point to re­alise those num­bers, but com­pany bosses look­ing to min­imise tax bills will be pleased to see it sits in the same 13 per cent BIK bracket as a Toy­ota Prius.

NEED TO KNOW Turbo S E-hy­brid is the fastest es­tate car in the world, hit­ting 62mph even quicker than an MERC-AMG E 63 S

Dig­i­tal cabin al­lows you to end­lessly ad­just the hy­brid and chas­sis sys­tems

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