Is this the dawn of the four-door hypercar?
This week, Porsche peeled the wraps off of its new and improved Panamera, an aluminum-bodied sedan that just one day into its lifespan has already accomplished quite a bit. It managed dethrone the Alfa Romeo Giulia as the fastest car around the Nurburgring while stealing hearts from the few who were holding out for a more visually attractive option to hit the market. However, the Panamera Turbo that ripped apart the record book may not even end up being the fastest version of the car out there.
Currently, there are three Panamera variants on the market, the 4S, the Turbo, and a diesel. Soon, a Turbo S model may hit the market with a 30 horsepower bump over the standard Turbo's 550 hp, but that won't be all. During the Porsche's unveiling in Berlin, Germany, it was casually mentioned that two plug-in hybrid Panameras would follow the current three cars. Naturally, we would assume that one of those would be geared towards the eco conscious buyers who gravitated towards the last generation hybrid. Interestingly enough, that may not be the case at all for the second hybrid. Instead, it may use its hybrid drivetrain to power high G launches and high-speed corner exits much in the same way that the Porsche 918 Spyder does.
Using electric motors to supplement the twin-turbo 4.0-liter V8 could harvest as much as 700 horsepower and 800 lb-ft of torque that would be split between all four tires. If you're thinking, "wow, that's almost a four-seat 918," then you're exactly right because that's how the car was described to Motor Trend. We've called for a four-door hypercar before, and it seems Porsche may have heard us. With a 150 horsepower advantage over the Panamera Turbo, we imagine that the hybrid would make that car's Nurburgring lap time of 7:38 look slow. It isn't clear when either of the hybrids will be announced, but given that the initial three variants will go on sale in January of 2017, we can expect the extra information in the coming months.