The new V8 saloon comes at a high price, but does it live up to its cost?
When the Panamera launched in 2009, Porsche enthusiasts were sceptical. After all, it was 50 years since the birth of the legendary 911 Carrera.
But the brand successfully reinvented itself with a front engine, four door saloon and heavyweight body. In the US (the model’s biggest market), over 50,000 units were sold in the years between 2012 and 2017.
Still, Porsche had to maintain its high performance vehicle. So it did, by combining a hypercar with a luxury saloon and a family vehicle. The result? The Panamera Turbos S E-Hybrid.
A decade ago, the technology and performance behind Porsche’s newest release would have been unthinkable. But today, the motorcar boasts 310 kmh top speed and the ability to go from 0-100 kmh in just 3.4 seconds, all thanks to its V8, four litre twin turbo engine capable of 550bhp plus another 136bhp from the electric unit. Let us not forget the incredible 850Nm of powerful torque.
The E-Hybrid continues the technology introduced in the 918 Spyder hypercar, though the new model can work on electric and gas combined or separated.
The system is thought to be autonomous in the sense that the gas engine is constantly charging the batteries while driving. Of course, the batteries can also be charged in your garage with a regular home socket. Moreover, the Panamera has a very sophisticated Kinetic Energy Recovery System that transforms the heat coming from the brakes into electric energy.
Furthermore, the claimed fuel consumption as a combination of electric and gas power units is only 2.9 litres for 100 km. Porsche claims that the new E-Hybrid can also travel up to 50km solely on batteries – impressive.
While the Panamera feels like a travelling lab (the amount of technology dedicated to the safety, dynamics, entertainment and navigation is truly impressive), there is still space for the driver to be in charge.
The newly designed cabin is a gem. All its commands are perfectly positioned to facilitate easy access.
Personally, I was happy to have finally found a saloon where I can sit really low, the way I like, yet position the steering wheel high enough to keep my hands at the height of my shoulders. Seats are also firm and beautifully designed to hold the body in a seamless position even when the car is driven hard.
Back seats are a mix of sport and comfort; fully adjustable with their own cooling and heating systems, with the leg room comparable to the best saloons of the same segment.
But we would rather be in the front seat of this Porsche. While the Panamera weighs nearly 2,400kgs, nearly 200 more than the “normal” turbo version due to its hybrid system, it is quite light on the roads thanks to its stiff chassis and incredible air suspensions.
As you can imagine, stability is its forte. Once in mid-corner, it can carry some absurd speed, while the corner exit is as exciting as a supercar. This is, of course, due to the immense torque and traction given by the four-wheel drive system.
The new Porsche Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid is not as thrilling as a dynamic sports car, but it does not want to be.
It aims at being an incredible compromise of exhilarating performance, environmental friendliness and luxurious everyday use. I say the target has been hit, even if at a high price, starting at a whopping $221,000 in the UAE.For all the latest car news & reviews from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.