Porsche Panamera Sport Turismo hybrid engines, drive & performance
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The Porsche Panamera Sport Turismo hybrid is one car, but it houses a remarkable cast of characters – all of them brilliant. The sheer breadth of ability offered as you toggle through the modes, from comfortable and silent, to lavishly effortless long-distance cruiser, to sports-car thrills (the Turbo S notches this up to the delightful, frothing mania of a supercar), it does it all without ever feeling out of its comfort zone.
Porsche Panamera Sport Turismo hybrid engine, 0-62mph and acceleration
We’re going to start with the Turbo S, because if you’re going to discuss performance in a Panamera, that’s where you should begin. This car is off-the-charts berserk, with a 0-62mph time of 3.4 seconds courtesy of a mammoth 671bhp power output and the standard launch control (part of the Sport Chrono package included on the Turbo S).
You just twist the steering-wheel-mounted drive mode switch around, through E-Hybrid, e-Power, Sport and finally to Sport Plus, and your suave GT takes out the hatchet and turns into a frothing lunatic. And it sounds extravagantly brilliant, too, with the V8 blaring away in the background.
Toggle back to Hybrid Auto and everything calms down: the three-stage adaptive dampers ease off to the cushy setting, the V8 engine switches off or occasionally kicks in with a muted roar, and you can potter about making calm, hushed progress.
The system isn’t flawless, in that you can feel the odd hesitation as it flicks to petrol power, but the fact that you can also stick it in pure EV mode for all-electric running at up to 84mph is a boon – and in this state the car feels faultlessly smooth and punchy.
It’s great for about-town driving, other than you having to be conscious of its hefty size and width. You can also choose to hold the battery charge for later in your journey should you wish, and you can charge the battery up with the engine as well – admittedly at a cost to your fuel efficiency.
The 456bhp V6 engine is rather less overtly naughty and encouraging in both soundtrack and power delivery, but it’s still a hooligan if you want it be – just a less raucous one.
Such a smooth, punchy engine is a joy to use in any kind of driving and is perfectly suited to the general suaveness of the Panamera Sport Turismo, so unless you really want the most mental of Panameras, the V6 is every bit as good as the Turbo S for a lot less cash. And a 0-62mph time of 4.6 seconds is hardly tardy.
There aren’t as many optional extras for the Panamera as there are for a lot of Porsches – it gets adaptive air-suspension as standard across the whole range. However, you can add rear-wheel steering, which comes with an upgrade to the power steering for lighter car park manoeuvring and is worth considering if you regularly park in torturous multi-storeys.
Being four-wheel drive, with big tyres and a low stance, the Panamera has monster grip that comes into its own if you want to drive it with purpose. It’s a great system that shuffles power about in just the right fashion, to make the car feel adjustable and playful, without making it feel frightening.
The steering is well judged and has a lovely, build of weight that’s as satisfying in normal, unhurried driving as it is in more enthusiastic use, and the whole car feels precise and tightly controlled yet comfortable. Even the brake feel is good; oddly, better in the Panamera than in the Cayenne.
Sure, a non-electrified Panamera or any of the other top-notch alternatives has better brake feel, but by electric car standards the Panamera E-Hybrid is very good, with predictable brake regeneration and pedal response that makes smooth stopping easy.