by John Tallodi
The redesigned Panamera range arrived in 2016 and has already received a number of additions and updates. Among them is the range-topping Turbo S-E Hybrid which is all-new for 2018 and offers well-heeled shoppers the opportunity to embarrass supercars while still being capable of zero-emission city driving.
The interior has received a welcome upgrade with the redesign and now features all of the latest technological and design elements found in the new generation of Porsches. Material quality is exemplary and the majority of controls are laid out logically around the driver. The sheer number of electronic systems fitted does necessitate a row of buttons along each side of the shifter but the majority of functions can be controlled via the large centrally mounted touchscreen.
There is comfortable seating for four and if additional rear passenger space is required the Executive model offers a lengthened wheelbase. Cargo space is decent and loading items into the trunk is made even easier through the rear hatch of the available Sport Turismo body style.
The most powerful Panamera in the range is also the heaviest yet despite this the standard adaptive air-suspension and advanced electronic stability systems provide it with the kind of handling and road-holding usually reserved for much smaller and nimbler sedans.
Ride quality too is good and the Turbo S E-Hybrid transitions effortlessly between boulevard cruiser and backroad hooligan.
Whereas the previous Panamera Turbo S featured a boosted version of the standard Panamera Turbo drivetrain, the latest version adds an electric motor to the standard engine to increase power levels instead.
The 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 pumps out 550 horsepower and 567 lb-ft of torque while the electric motor provides an additional 136 hp and 295 lb-ft. This combines to give maximums of 680 hp and 626 lb-ft which is transmitted to all four wheels through an 8-speed dual-clutch transmission.
Despite weighing an additional 500 pounds over the standard Turbo, the Turbo S E-Hybrid out-drags it to 60mph with a time of 3.2-seconds. It provides the kind of instantaneous acceleration that is familiar to EV owners with the sustained top-end power that only a powerful gasoline engine can provide.
Fuel economy figures should also shade the standard Panamera Turbo and a claimed all-electric range of 31 miles should make for a fuel-efficient daily commute.
The Porsche Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid is available in one trim level that includes just about every option fitted to the lesser models in the range. It can also be specified in Executive extended wheelbase or Sport Turismo hatchback body styles.
Notable standard equipment includes 21-inch alloy wheels, adaptive air suspension, 14-way power front seats with leather and heating all-round, 12.3-inch touchscreen with integrated navigation and smartphone compatibility.
Available options include the Premium Package Plus (Lane change assist, front seat ventilation, LED dynamic headlights and soft close doors) and the Assistance Package (Adaptive cruise control, traffic jam assist, lane keep assist and night vision assist).
While there are a myriad color and interior detail options, notable individually selectable extras include a sport exhaust system, 18-way adaptive sport seats, rear axle steering and a Burmester audio system.
Silent but violent, although not at the same time. That about sums up the latest Porsche Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid, it is perhaps the ultimate mass-production example of performance enhancing hybrid technology.
Its real-world efficiency levels will depend largely on how it is used. As a technological showcase of what we can expect from Porsche in the future, the Turbo S E-Hybrid is a real eye-opener and its dynamic abilities place it at near the top of the luxury performance sedan pile. Its biggest challenger comes from within its own ranks in the form of the significantly cheaper and still eminently capable Panamera Turbo.