Porsche has unveiled the fourth model in its Panamera luxury saloon line-up: the Panamera 4 E-Hybrid. The second-generation plug-in hybrid model follows the launch of the Panamera 4S, 4S Diesel and Turbo two months ago. One of two petrol-electric hybrid models planned to join the new Panamera line-up, the 456bhp, four-wheel-drive E-Hybrid is set to make its public debut at the Paris motor show later this month. Priced from £79,915, it succeeds the earlier S E-Hybrid with a 31-mile electric range and combined economy of 113mpg, along with a 4.6sec 0-62mph time and a 173mph top speed.
At the heart of the Panamera 4 E-Hybrid is a newly developed petrol-electric powertrain that is also set to appear in next year’s Cayenne E-Hybrid. It uses Porsche’s recently unveiled twin-turbo 2.9-litre V6 petrol engine, which produces 325bhp and 332lb ft, in combination with a gearbox-mounted electric motor capable of delivering upto134bhpand 295lbft, for combined system outputs of 456bhp and 5161b ft. This provides the Panamera 4 E-Hybrid with 46bhp and 811b ft more than the first-generation Panamera S E-Hybrid it replaces.
It is also 22bhp and 111 lb ft up on the second-generation Panamera 4S, which is powered by a more highly tuned version of Porsche’s twin-turbo 2.9-litre V6, albeit without the assistance of an electric motor. Significantly, Porsche has altered the programming of the electric motor to provide greater emphasis on performance. It now works in tandem with the petrol engine the moment the throttle is depressed. Previously, the throttle needed to be 80% engaged before the electric motor combined with the combustion engine.
The result is a 0.9sec reduction in the 0-62mph time, along with a 5mph increase in top speed over its predecessor. Despite this, the new model’s average C02 emissions are just 56g/km on the European test cycle. As on other second-generation Panamera models revealed to date, drive is channelled to the road through a new eight-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox and multi-plate clutch four-wheel drive system, The earlier Panamera S E-Hybrid used an eight-speed, torque converter-equipped automatic transmission.
There are six driving modes, including the Sport and Sport Plus settings of other new Panameras equipped with the Sport Chrono package, along with the E-Hybrid-specific modes of E-power, Hybrid Auto, E-Hold and E-Charge.
As with its predecessor, Porsche’s latest hybrid is programmed to start in E-power mode. With a full battery, it is said to provide an electric range of up to 31 miles at speeds limited to 87mph. Power for the Panamera E-Hybrid’s electric motor is provided by a liquid-cooled lithium ion battery.
Despite offering a 4.7kWh increase in capacity at 14.1kWh, it is claimed to weigh no more than the unit used by the previous hybrid Panamera. Porsche says the battery can be charged in 5.8 hours using a standard 3.6kW charger, while an optional 7.2kW charger is claimed to reduce the charging time to 3.6 hours.
Charging can be started via the Porsche Communication Management infotainment system or remotely via the Porsche Car Connect app. Additionally, an auxiliary air conditioner now allows the cabin to be cooled during charging. A so-called power meter allows the driver to keep tabs on the operation of the hybrid powertrain via a standard 12.3in display. Similar to that found on the 918 Spyder, it provides detailed data on energy stores, including the amount of electrical energy being used in real time as well as that recovered through recuperation.
There is also a “boost assistant’, which displays the energy available for boosting performance via the electric motor, and a “hybrid assistant’, which provides information on how to regulate the electric drive for maximum economy. The Panamera 4 E-Hybrid rides on a standard air suspension. The newly developed system uses a three-chamber design in combination with electronic damper control and dynamic chassis control that supports torque vectoring and active roll stabilisation.