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