Porsche Panamera S Hybrid

What is it?

Porsche's cleanest car, with CO2 emissions of just 159g/km. That's deeply impressive and possible thanks to the mating of a supercharged V6 petrol engine with an electric motor. It's a full parallel hybrid system too, meaning near silent electric only running (at surprisingly brisk speeds) is possible. That means this is not only the cleanest Porsche available, but the stealthiest, too.

Is it any good?

As a demonstration of how advanced Porsche's hybrid systems are the Panamera S Hybrid is a very notable indicator. The way it manages to combine its 47bhp electric motor with the 333bhp supercharged V6 petrol engine is impressively smooth. Whether it's quietly gliding on electricity alone around town, or with the V6 firing up to add pace the operation is relatively seamless.

What's most impressive is the Panamera S Hybrid's ability to 'sail'. That is to glide along at motorway speeds (and above, it's actually possible to sail at up to 103mph) with the engine off and the electric motor maintaining the pace. It's an interesting, involving drive as a result, that's very different from the other Panamera models. That's particularly true of the brakes, which feel oddly inconsistent in operation. Push the S Hybrid hard and it still acts like a Porsche - with 62mph arriving in just six seconds - and the additional batteries actually give the S Hybrid the best weight distribution in the Panamera line-up.

Inside it's all very familiar, with only the 'E-Power' button and different trip computer graphics, which pertain to fuel economy and the hybrid system standing out. It's quiet inside, though when the V6 is audible it's not as sonorous as other engines in the Panamera range are. The boot space is reduced thanks to the positioning of the S Hybrid's batteries, but the losses are limited to under the floor and the side pockets - leaving a respectable boot with a flat floor.

Should I call the bank manager?

If you're in the market for one it's likely you've dined with your bank manager (on them), as the starting price is £86,476 before you've ticked a single option box. Running costs should be low (relatively) - Porsche quoting a combined economy figure of 41.5mpg. To achieve that you'll need to be saintly in your driving, though. That's also assuming you've gone for the fuel-saving low rolling resistance tyres - if not you'll get a bit less per gallon.

Summary

The Panamera S Hybrid is highly impressive, which will salve the conscience of buyers in petrol-dominant markets like the USA. It's a bit less relevant here though, as Porsche will be offering a diesel Panamera soon with even better fuel economy. That's not to take away from Porsche's achievement with the Panamera S Hybrid though, it boding extremely well for the company's future hybridisation plans.

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