28.12.2018Porsche Panamera E-Hybrid Sport Turismo
Porsche is going through the process of electrifying much of its model range. We have the Panamera E-Hybrid and Cayenne E-Hybrid plug-in hybrids already, plus the pure-electric Taycan on its way. This time however, it is the turn of the Panamera Sport Tourer. Given the E-Hybrid treatment, it shares much of its set-up with the hatchback Panamera. However, with complaints of a lack of estate / large practical options often aimed in the way of the electric car market, the Panamera Sport Turismo E-Hybrid looks to challenge that view. NGC tests the plug-in hybrid estate from Porsche.
Review by Chris Lilly
The model tested was the Porsche Panamera 4 E-Hybrid Sport Turismo; hardly the snappiest title, but it include all the key information. There are two plug-in hybrid options within the Panamera Sport Turismo range, the same as the conventional Panamera line-up. These are the 4 and the Turbo S, with the latter consderably more powerful than the former. Not that the Porsche tested is lacking in oomph at all. Beneath the surface is a 330hp 2.9 litre twin-turbo V6 petrol engine, which works with a 100 kW electric motor for a combined maximum of 462hp and 700 Nm of torque. It's not the 680hp available from the Turbo S, but it's far from shabby. The traditional 0-62mph sprint is completed in just 4.6 seconds, before reaching a top speed of 170mph. Sluggish it certainly ain't. The performance manages to blend the best traits of electric motor and internal combustion too. The motor takes up the slack at low revs for an instant shove forward. As it begins to run out of puff, the engine hits its sweet spot, and the Porsche continues to surge forward at pace. Anyone who 'needs' more pace in real-world conditions is kidding themselves - though the Turbo S is available remember for those that convince themselves otherwise. It lops 1.2 seconds off the spint time. It's a surprisingly easy car to drive in just about any situation. As a cross-country tourer - either on a/b-roads or motorways - it excels, but it can also deal with town traffic easily too. The automatic gearbox and electric motor make light work of ottering about, while the performance from the motor and petrol engine make for refined and rapid progress at just about any speed. It's an extremely versatile powertrain, and helps make a case for the Panamera E-Hybrid SportTurismo being all the car you need.
The coments above on the Porsche's performance are made all the more imoressive considering the Panamera E-Hybrid Sport Turismo's weight. It tips the scales at more than 2.2 tonnes, but it manages to disguise its weight pretty well. Don't get me wrong, this is no pin-sharp lightweight sportscar like Porsche's 718 Cayman - but it certainly matches up the expectations as to how a Porsche should behave in the corners. It's best as a long-distance grand tourer, with the suspension able to soak up the miles easily and keeping four adults in comfort. The steering is as sharp as you want in a sports estate, and the precision is excellent for this type of machine. You can genuinely have a good time driving the Porsche as a sportscar, and then settle back in the commute, the run to the shops, or any other myriad daily chores you need from a wagon.
This Panamera Sport Tourer is the first time we've seen an estate in the Panamera line-up. It's a handsome one too, with plenty of restrained style to proceedings. The lines certainly hint at the sporty capabilities, and as such the Panamera Sport Tourer isn't particularly practical for fast estate. By comparison, the Panamera hatchback is very practical amongst its saloon rivals and will comfortbly deal with most owners' needs. The Sport Tourer is still more than a match for a long holiday's worth of luggage, or assorted baby kit for example. Likewise, those with a medium- to large-sized dog will find that the hound will be happier with the added head space the taller roof line allows. It also makes for slightly more head space for rear passengers, but the Panamera in either guise does not stint on occupant space.
COMFORT & CONTROLS
Porsche has matched the cabin to the car's natural characteristics, with the seats extremely comfortable, even after a fair old time in the saddle. They're supportive over long trips, and have enough lateral support for hard cornering. The driver in particular will be very happy, with the interior beautifully designed. There is a high transmission tunnel where most of the controls are housed behind a large glass panel. Above that is widescreen infotainment system, and everything looks like a high-end tech system. The driver also gets a set of instrument binnacles, with one central analogue system and two flanking digital systems that can show customisable displays. Porsche has set a small dial and button on the steering wheel - which is itself a great size, an often ignored aspect of driving comfort. This dial allows a quick switch between driving modes and a push-to-pass button to deliver all of the car's power in one go for a few seconds. There are neat little touches too such as the steering wheel heater button hidden on the central steering wheel spoke. It's all ergonomically designed, with great style, and using lovely materials throughout.
MPG & RUNNING COSTS
Fuel economy is notoriously difficult to write about when testing plug-in hybrids, since use case makes a huge difference to real-world figures. Porsche quotes a figure of 100.9 MPG with CO2 emissions of 64 g/km for the Panamera 4 E-Hybrid Sport Turismo, but that can either be bettered comfortably or prove almost unattainable. What I can say is that the Panamera Sport Turismo's trip computer displayed 23.8 MPG after a 214 mile trip with no charging - effectively a worst case scenario for drivers. Before this trip, it was easy to see fuel economy considerably better than that, and when driving on electric power only, 'infinite' fuel economy. What can be said is that the E-Hybrid system works well, and provides genuine fuel economy savings for drivers - particularly those that regularly only cover short trips.
The E-Hybrid system is the greenest part of the Porsche range, and in this specification will cover 32 miles in electric only mode according to official figures. In reality, that's closer to 25 miles, but still plenty to complete many trips without the engine firing, or at the very least allowing for a 50 mile round trip with power modes split 50:50. The Porsche will start in electric mode by default, and will run in electric or hybrid modes when using the electric powertrain. It's charged via a Type 2 inlet on the near-side rear flank. This will accept 3.6 kW as standard, or a 7.2 kW on-board charger is available as an option. Either charges a 14 kWh battery, though whether that's in around four hours or two is down to the options picked. According to our calculations, the model tested has a Next Green Car Rating of 41.
The Panamera E-Hybrid Sport Turismo comes very well equipped, though there are plenty of options available from Porsche. Fitted as standard are 19-inch alloys, acid green brake callipers and E-Hybrid badging, active aerodynamics with adaptive roof spoiler, automatic tailgate, park assist, cruise control, keyless access and start, navigation with 10-speaker audio system, smartphone connectivity, & remote services, LED lights, dual-zone climate control, pre-conditioning, multi-function steering wheel, and heated front seats. This all costs £83,288 as standard, though the test car had a few options added. These included the 7.2 kW on-board charger, 21-inch alloys, rear privacy glass, leather interior, full LED headlights, four-zone climate control, adaptive cruise control, Bose stereo, park assist with surround view, and panoramic glass roof. All told the options took the price to £102,736
Porsche has made a case for the Panamera Sport Turismo to be all the car you need. It's got the pace of a sportscar, the space of an estate, the electric powertrain of an EV, and the versatility of a plug-in hybrid. It drives beautifully and is an extremely versatile machine. It's expensive, but for many prospective buyers could replace two or three cars and combine all the benefits of each.
Model tested: Porsche Panamera 4 E-Hybrid Sport Turismo
Body-style: Executive saloon
Engine / CO2: 2.9 litre twin-turbo petrol and electric motor / 64 g/km
On-road price: From £83,288. Price as tested £102,736
Warranty: Three years / unlimited mileage
In the showroom: Now
Review rating: 4.0 Stars