At Porsche, the term “hybrid” is synonymous with not only sustainable mobility, but performance too – a fact proven by the victory of the 919 Hybrid in the 24 Hours of Le Mans race in 2015 and 2016. This philosophy is now also defining the Panamera 4 E-Hybrid.
The new Porsche plug-in hybrid always starts in purely electric mode and drives without generating any local emissions within a range of 50 kilometres and with a maximum speed of 140 km/h.
And yet, this Panamera is still a sports car among luxury saloons: the all-wheel-drive Porsche achieves a top speed of 278km/h and delivers a system torque of 700Nm from stationary without hesitation. The four-door hybrid sports car breaks the 0-100km/h barrier in just 4.6 seconds.
The torque is transferred to all four wheels, while the standard three-chamber air suspension ensures an optimum balance between comfort and dynamism at all times.
The superlative performance is no accident, because the new Panamera 4 E-Hybrid features a hybrid strategy never before seen in this segment – a strategy based on the 918 Spyder. The 887bhp 918 Spyder is the fastest series-produced vehicle ever to circumnavigate the Nürburgring Nordschleife. Its record lap time of 6:57 minutes can in part be attributed to the additional power provided by two electric motors.
As with the 918 Spyder, the power of the Panamera electric motor – 100kW (136bhp) and 400Nm torque – is made available as soon as the driver touches the accelerator pedal. On the predecessor model, the pedal needed to be pressed at least 80 percent of the way down to unleash the additional power of the electric drive. Now, the electric motor and petrol engine interact in perfect harmony from the very outset.
Like with the 918 Spyder, the electric motor is available to deliver additional power at all times. This, together with the performance characteristics of the new 2.9-litre V6 biturbo engine (with 330bhp and 450 Nm), generates an impressive boost scenario based on electric motor and turbochargers.
In the Panamera 4 E-Hybrid, the electrical energy is also used to increase the car’s top speed. At Porsche, this new type of “E-Performance” – more power, more driving fun, lower fuel consumption – is seen as the performance kit of the future.
Together with the V6 petrol engine decoupler, the electric motor heralds the new generation of the Porsche hybrid module. In contrast to the electro-hydraulic system of the predecessor model, the decoupler on the new Panamera is actuated electromechanically by an electric clutch actuator (ECA), resulting in even shorter response times.
As on the other second-generation Panamera models, a new, extremely fast and efficient-shifting Porsche 8-speed Doppelkupplung (PDK) dual-clutch transmission is used to transmit the power to the all-wheel drivetrain. This transmission replaces the 8-speed automatic torque converter transmission on the previous model.
The electric motor is supplied with power via a liquid-cooled lithium-ion battery. And despite the fact that the energy content of the battery (which is integrated under the luggage compartment floor) has been increased from 9.4 to 14.1kWh, its weight has remained the same.
The high-voltage battery takes just 5.8 hours to fully charge via a 230V, 10-A connection. If the driver chooses to use the optional 7.2kW on-board charger and a 230V, 32-A connection instead of the standard 3.6kW charger on the Panamera, the battery fully charges in just 3.6 hours.
Another highlight of the second-generation Panamera is the newly designed display and control concept in the form of the standard Porsche Advanced Cockpit with touch-sensitive panels and individually configurable displays.
Two 7-inch screens either side of the analogue rev counter form the interactive cockpit, and unlike the other versions in the model line, the Panamera 4 E-Hybrid features a power meter tailored to hybrid operation. The intuitive operating principle of the hybrid-specific displays is similar to that used in the Porsche 918 Spyder super sports car. The power meter provides data such as the amount of electrical energy currently being used as well as that recovered through recuperation.
A 12.3-inch touchscreen functions as a central PCM control and display unit. The driver can access various items of hybrid-specific information both here on the dashboard and in the instrument cluster. The boost assistant and hybrid assistant are both practical and informative. The boost assistant display shows the energy available for boosting, while the hybrid assistant provides various visual signals for regulating the electrical drive power.