Porsche Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid review – 200mph could be on the cards

A brief spell behind the wheel of the potent hybrid Panamera promises good things; we can't wait for a proper drive

Price
from £137,140
  • Barely believable performance and dynamic security
  • Weight, still looks better on the inside

With Tesla rolling out ever-more ‘ludicrous’ acceleration stats for its steadily evolving Model S saloon, it would be hard to imagine Porsche sitting back and letting Elon’s boys wrap up the future of high-performance four-door motoring as an electric dream. No sir. But it’s taken the 550bhp 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 from the Panamera Turbo and 136bhp-worth of plug-in hybrid tech – informed by that used in the 918 Spyder hypercar - to produce a Tesla alternative that serves-up Porsche’s customary cushion of superiority.

The car is called the Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid and marks the first time in Porsche’s history that a plug-in hybrid tops a range. With four-wheel drive and 680bhp supported by 627lb ft of torque available from just above idle, few are going to complain about that. The flipside of the hybrid coin is just as compelling: 81.1mpg and 66g/km for the new Euro driving cycle and a range on up to 31 miles running on battery power alone underlines Porsche’s belief that hybridisation, rather than pure electric, is the way to go. And go the £137,140 Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid most certainly does. 

Porsche Panamera 4 E-Hybrid review - The diesel does it better

Technical Highlights?

Famously conservative Porsche claims a 0-62mph time of 3.4sec and 193mph top speed for its new flagship saloon. Expect lower and higher when the V-Boxes blink into life. But it isn’t just standing start acceleration that defines this Panamera’s performance. Porsche’s most impressive boast is the way the hybrid powertrain sustains the initial burst of energy to deliver the sort of roll-on punch internal combustion by itself struggles to match and pure electric struggles even more. The acid test is 100km to 200km (or 62mph to 124mph), an increment the Turbo S E-Hybrid covers in a claimed 8.5sec. The figure speaks for itself.

As with the ‘junior’ Panamera 4 E-Hybrid, the Turbo S, the decoupler in the hybrid module is worked electromechanically by an electric clutch actuator (ECA) for the shortest response times. Like other second generation Panameras, an eight-speed PDK transmits power to the adaptive all-wheel drive system. The electric motor draws from a 14.1 kWh, liquid-cooled lithium-ion battery which takes six hours to charge with the standard 3.6 kW charger or just 2.4 hours with the optional 7.2 kW charger. The timings can be controlled with the Porsche Connect app (smartphones, Apple watch), as can the auxiliary air conditioning unit to heat or cool the cabin during charging.

Air suspension is standard and the Turbo S E-Hybrid also gets ceramic composite brakes, Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control Sport (PDCC Sport), Porsche Torque Vectoring Plus (PVT Plus), 21-inch alloy wheels from the 911 Turbo and a steering rear axle like the 918 Spyder’s.

What’s it like to drive?

Good question. Hang on, we said that when Porsche gave us a passenger ride at Nardo in the car earlier this year. You see, we have driven the Turbo S E-Hybrid - but only for four-laps of a race circuit, following a rather conservatively driven pace car. And while we have driven the car on the road, like the rest of the world's press we were limited by British Columbia's blanket 60km/h speed limit (or 90km/h if you take a wrong turn). The autobahn blast and unmonitored track time will have to wait.

For now there are a few keys areas of note regarding how the Turbo S E-Hybrid drives. One is that when the batteries are fully charged you have full access to pure EV driving in all its serene and calming glory. You can accelerate at a decent pace without waking the twin-turbo V8 and hold a charge long enough to complete short journeys with little to no compromise to performance, up to, say 15 miles. All of that without burning a single drop of unleaded. And when you do decide that eight cylinders and two turbos are your preferred choice of power, the S E-Hybrid is happy to oblige, rearranging your perception of what a fast limo is capable of. 

How the Panamera S E-hybrid maintains its performance is otherworldly, that initial force of thrust when you first launch the car at the horizon an instant reminder of what 680bhp and 627lb ft is capable of. But whereas with similar set-ups in rival products, (including Porsche’s Panamera 4 E-hybrid) that accelerative thump of electric power soon fades leaving the IC engine to carry the load. But in the Turbo S E-Hybrid the electrical forces are sustained for longer, delivering a feeling of neverending energy being at your disposal. 

Porsche Panamera review - The best luxury sports saloon?

From apex to the next braking point on track that combined EV and IC surge is enough to give the PTM system something to think about out of third gear corners. It’s no 918 or GT2 but the way this four-door, four-seat saloon compresses distances while flowing it all together is to be admired.

Crucially the added weight of the hybrid powertrain does very little to the dynamics or the ride qualities of the car on which it is based, which means days of driving hundreds of miles won’t be a problem. And hopefully soon enough Porsche will allow us to do just that.  

Rivals?

Mercedes’ £87,745 E63 AMG S claims an identical 0-62mph of 3.4sec. But the only saloon really capable of getting the drop on the Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid away from the lights comes from the Tesla stable, perhaps most embarrassingly in the shape of the £121,835 PD100S which is claimed to hit 60mph from rest in 2.5sec in Ludicrous Mode which, indeed, is ludicrous. Once the Tesla’s launch advantage is used up, however, we have little doubt the Porsche is the quicker car – not just in a straight line but, more emphatically, on any fast, challenging road or circuit.

Most Popular

MAT Stratos 2021 review – Lancia’s iconic Stratos reborn
MAT Stratos – front tracking
Lancia

MAT Stratos 2021 review – Lancia’s iconic Stratos reborn

It’s been a long time coming, but this Ferrari F430-based reimagining of the Lancia Stratos is finally here
11 Jun 2021
Ford Mustang Steve McQueen Bullitt Edition 2021 review – a 720bhp tribute act
Ford Mustang Steve McQueen Bullitt Edition – slide
Ford Mustang

Ford Mustang Steve McQueen Bullitt Edition 2021 review – a 720bhp tribute act

Immense performance from about the coolest modern muscle car out there. It’s expensive, but there’s nothing else quite like it
12 Jun 2021
BMW M5 CS 2021 review – a class act that reaffirms the M division’s brilliance
BMW M5 CS – front cornering
BMW M5 saloon

BMW M5 CS 2021 review – a class act that reaffirms the M division’s brilliance

Nonsensical on paper, but sublime in practice. Never has a modern supersaloon been more tactile or more engaging
14 Jun 2021
Tesla Model S Plaid deliveries begin – 1006bhp super saloon now reaching customers
Tesla Model S Plaid
Tesla Model S

Tesla Model S Plaid deliveries begin – 1006bhp super saloon now reaching customers

The long-awaited Tesla Model S Plaid has finally come to fruition, with first US examples hitting the road
11 Jun 2021
2021 Audi RS3 Sportback and saloon previewed – will it finally match Mercedes-AMG A45 S?
Audi RS3 manufacturer spy 1
Audi RS3

2021 Audi RS3 Sportback and saloon previewed – will it finally match Mercedes-AMG A45 S?

Audi Sport is putting the final touches on its new RS3 hot hatch and saloon
10 Jun 2021
2021 Maserati GranTurismo to go EV-only – IC option ditched
2021 Maserati GranTurismo spy – track
Maserati

2021 Maserati GranTurismo to go EV-only – IC option ditched

GranTurismo coupe and its soft-top GranCabrio sibling to be reborn later this year, but controversially without the proposed combustion alternative...…
11 Jun 2021
Posaidon’s 217mph Mercedes-AMG E63 RS is faster than a Porsche 918 Spyder
Posaidon Mercedes-AMG E63
Mercedes E63 AMG

Posaidon’s 217mph Mercedes-AMG E63 RS is faster than a Porsche 918 Spyder

Three new Posaidon power upgrades are now available for Mercedes-AMG’s E63 S, bringing hypercar numbers to the four door supersaloon
9 Jun 2021
Used car deals of the week
Used car deals 11 June 21
used cars

Used car deals of the week

Here's what caught evo’s fancy this week on the second hand car market
11 Jun 2021
Updated in-line six Mercedes-AMG GT 4-Door revealed – hybrid V8s still to come
Mercedes-AMG GT53 MY22 – front tracking
Mercedes

Updated in-line six Mercedes-AMG GT 4-Door revealed – hybrid V8s still to come

GT43 and GT53 4-Doors receive a refresh while we await the arrival of the V8 hybrid GT73
14 Jun 2021
Best small cars 2021 – pocket rockets reviewed and rated
Best small cars 2021
Best cars

Best small cars 2021 – pocket rockets reviewed and rated

You don’t need 200bhp or more in a small hatchback to have fun – these ‘warm’ small cars are the proof
7 Jun 2021
Ferrari F8 Tributo replacement mule spied – will it emulate the McLaren Artura?
Ferrari F171 spy 2021 – front
Ferrari

Ferrari F8 Tributo replacement mule spied – will it emulate the McLaren Artura?

Ferrari’s going hybrid and V6 for its next mid-engined supercar
9 Jun 2021
HKS in development of a supercharger kit for new 2021 Toyota GR 86
HKS Toyota GR 86
Toyota

HKS in development of a supercharger kit for new 2021 Toyota GR 86

Japanese tuner HKS is in development of a supercharger upgrade package for the new GR 86
9 Jun 2021
BMW announces entry into LMDh class from 2023 – to fight Audi, Porsche and other big names
BMW Le Mans header
BMW

BMW announces entry into LMDh class from 2023 – to fight Audi, Porsche and other big names

The 2023 LMDh class is shaping up to be a big one, with BMW getting back in on the action with its own racer, but only in the USA
11 Jun 2021
Can the Renault Clio Trophy beat a modern supersaloon for daily transport?
Jethro opinion header
Opinion

Can the Renault Clio Trophy beat a modern supersaloon for daily transport?

The boot struts have gone saggy and the hatch slams onto my head three times a week, but the Clio Trophy is hard to resist
8 Jun 2021