Plug-in version of the Porsche Panamera

Style

The plug-in version of the Panamera is nearly identical to its gas-powered siblings. Auto reviewers, especially Porsche enthusiasts, describe the sheet metal as “sultry.” The Panamera has telltale dramatic 911 traits, but in the form of a five-door, four-passenger hatchback with wagon-like proportions. For automotive history buffs, you can place the Panamera in the category known as “shooting brakes,” a style that blends a sporty coupe with a station wagon. Critics say the Panamera’s visual effect is a bit too long and wide to be genuinely sporty.

Those aesthetic criticisms seem petty when you consider the Panamera E-Hybrid’s positive design attributes. It’s a comfortable, luxury sports sedan with easy egress for four passengers and a generous supply of cargo space. The abundant use of dark wood and soft leather is opulent. There’s a useful, full-length console between the front and rear seats. The fit and finish are impeccable.

Designers selected a day-glow green—what they call “acid green”—for the car’s signature accent colors. This works well with some colors, like white, but not so much with other color choices. The green on the brake calipers is especially dramatic. The color also jumps out on the instrument gauges and Sport Chrono dash clock.

There’s a more subtle distinction between the gas and plug-in variants of the Panamera: the addition of a charging port door on the left rear fender. Charging ports in the front are generally more convenient, but the Panamera plug-in’s port location is certainly workable.

Performance

Plug-in version of the Porsche Panamera

The Panamera 4 E-Hybrid provides a total output of 462 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque. That comes courtesy of a 2.9-liter twin-turbo V6 mated to a 136-hp electric motor. The smooth-shifting of gears is accomplished by Porsche’s PDK eight-speed twin-clutch automatic. With the Sport Chrono package, the all-wheel-drive Panamera 4 E-Hybrid can hit 60 miles per hour in about 4.4 seconds. Top speed on the track is 172 miles per hour.

The personality of the Panamera 4 E-Hybrid is modulated via driver-controlled modes. After a full overnight charge, the car starts in E-Power mode—nearly silent all-electric driving with an abundance of torque. The point of this mode is to operate purely on electricity. A kickdown switch on the accelerator pedal helps you avoid inadvertent use of internal combustion—unless you push through the kickdown to unleash a quick burst of power.

Use the knob on the steering wheel to switch into Sport or Sport Plus modes. Both of these performance modes require enough juice in the battery to simultaneously deploy the V6 engine and the capable electric motor.

In Hybrid Auto, the vehicle switches between gas and electric power for maximum efficiency. When coasting, the combustion engine is switched off—for emission-free gliding. Or for highway overtaking maneuvers, the system uses all the available torque from electricity and internal combustion.

Some reviewers complain about a spongy feel on the brake pedal. The E-Hybrid’s regenerative braking system is also blamed for a noticeable transition between regenerative and friction braking.

Those qualms notwithstanding, the 5,000-pound luxury sedan is surprisingly agile. When equipped with rear-axle steering, a $1,620 option, it provides a deft and engaging ride on twisting country roads. While traveling at low speeds, the rear wheels steer in the opposite direction to the front. But when the pace picks up, all the wheels steer in the same direction. When combined with adaptive air suspension, the ride firms up. Reviewers believe the large Porsche sedan provides excellent control in any mode.

Efficiency/Range

The Panamera 4 E-Hybrid is rated by the EPA to provide 14 miles of all-electric range. Considering that it carries a 14.1 kilowatt-hour battery pack, the plug-in Panamera is not exceedingly more fuel-efficient than its gas-powered sibling. The EPA says the Panamera provides the equivalent of 51 mpg, as long as there’s still charge in the battery.

But after those first 14 miles, the E-Hybrid gets 23 miles per gallon compared to the convention Panamera 4’s 22-mpg rating. More than a few auto reviewers say the Panamera 4 E-Hybrid is more about high mph than stellar mpg.

Total driving range from both the 21.1-gallon gas tank and the battery is 490 miles.

Plug-in version of the Porsche Panamera

Charging

You can plug the Panamera 4 E-Hybrid into a conventional 120-volt household outlet to get a full overnight charge in about 12 hours. Or use the optional 240-volt portable charging cord stored in the hatch—and 7.2-kilowatt onboard charger—to increase the flow of electrons. This setup cuts down the charging time of the 14.1-kWh battery to about 2.5 hours.

Passenger/Cargo Room

The Panamera 4 E-Hybrid is a comfortable four-door, four-passenger, all-wheel-drive vehicle. Visibility is excellent. The body of the four-door sedan has a coupe-like profile and a power liftgate, rather than a typical trunk. The liftgate provides greater access to the luggage area.

The Panamera consistently earns praise as one of the best interiors in the luxury vehicle space. With the rear seats up, the cargo volume is a decent 14.3 cubic feet—expanding to 44 cubes with the rear seats down. Making room for the battery eats up a few feet of cargo capacity, which is 47.3 cubic feet in the conventional vehicle.

Head- and leg-room is generous and spacious in the second row, even for taller passengers.

The short list of blemishes with the Panamera’s interior is a lack of sufficient cupholders and storage spaces for a family-oriented car.

Apple CarPlay is standard along with a 12-inch center display touchscreen.

Safety

Official safety ratings are not available for the Porsche Panamera E-Hybrid. The all-wheel-drive vehicle’s standard safety features include 10 airbags, full LED headlights (steering adaptive standard on Turbo) with LED daytime running lights, rain-sensing wipers, full LED rear lighting, a rearview camera, four belt pretensioners, and electronic traction and stability control.

Plug-in version of the Porsche Panamera

Price

The base Panamera 4 E-Hybrid starts at $103,800. The Turismo body style adds a couple of additional feet of rear cargo room and a lower, rear lift-in height under the hatch. It also means that you can more comfortably carry three adults in back. The Turismo bumps the base price to $107,800.

The Panamera’s Executive badge is applied when the wheelbase is stretched by nearly six inches for even more rear-seat legroom. This limo variant boosts the price by at least a few thousand dollars.

Given the outrageous list of design, luxury, and performance packages, it’s nearly impossible to convey the sticker price until you have visited Porsche.com, and used its “build and price” tool. Start clicking on goodies like a “Cohiba brown club leather interior” for about six grand, the similarly priced Sport Design pack, or a $4,000 drive-assist tech offering—and you’ll see how quickly the price jumps to $150,000 or higher.

These prices are before incentives. The federal tax credit for the Panamera 4 E-Hybrid is $6,712. State and local incentives will further reduce the price.

Porsche Panamera 4 E-Hybrid specifications

Availability: Now
Base MSRP: $104000
Est. tax credit: $6700
Technology: Plug-in Hybrid
Body type: Sedan
Seats: 4
EPA Range: 14 miles electric + gasoline
Battery size: 14 kWh
Charging rate: 7.2 kW

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