German brand builds on new Panamera range with high-tech plug-in hybrid variant.
Porsche has wasted little time building upon its initial three model strong second-generation Panamera line-up.
Just two months after the unveiling of the 4S, 4S Diesel and Turbo, the German car maker has now unveiled the 4 E-Hybrid ? the fourth and most technically advanced of the new 2017 Panamera models to date.
One of two petrol-electric hybrid models planned to join the new Panamera line-up, the four-wheel drive Panamera 4 E-Hybrid is set to make its public premiere at the 2016 Paris motor show later this month prior to the start of Australian deliveries in 2017.
Priced at $242,600 (plus on-road costs), it succeeds the earlier 4 S E-Hybrid with a claimed 50km electric range, combined consumption of just 2.5L/100km on the European test cycle along with an official 0-100km time of 4.6sec and 278km/h top speed.
At the heart of the Panamera 4 E-Hybrid is a newly developed petrol-electric drivetrain also set to appear in next year’s Cayenne E-Hybrid. It uses Porsche’s recently unveiled twin-turbocharged 2.9-litre V6 petrol engine tuned to 243kW and 450Nm of torque in combination with an electric motor mounted in the front of the gearbox capable of delivering up to 100kW and 400Nm of torque.
Together, the combustion engine and electric motor provide a combined system output of 340kW and sturdy 700Nm. This provides the Panamera 4 E-Hybrid with 34kW and 110Nm more than the first-generation Panamera S E-Hybrid it replaces in the Porsche line-up.
It is also 16kW and 150Nm up on the second-generation Panamera 4S, which is powered by a more heavily tuned version of Porsche’s twin-turbocharged 2.9-litre V6 engine, albeit without the assistance of an electric motor.
Significantly, Porsche has altered the programming of the electric motor to provide greater emphasis on performance. It now kicks in the moment the throttle is depressed. Previously, the throttle needed to be 80 per cent engaged before the reserves of the electric motor were combined with those of the combustion engine in an earlier strategy aimed at optimizing economy.
According to Porsche, the new programming is based on that originally developed for the 918 Spyder. It allows the driver to call up additional power from the electric motor at all times.
The result is a 0.9sec reduction in the 0-100km/h time along with a 8km/h increase in top speed over the superseded Panamera S E-Hybrid at 4.6sec and 278km/h respectively. The official fuel economy figure of 2.5L/100km on the European test cycle also makes it more economical than its predecessor, which was rated at 3.1L/100km.
As on other second-generation Panamera models revealed to date, drive is channelled through a new eight-speed dual clutch gearbox and multi-plate clutch four-wheel drive system. The earlier Panamera S E-Hybrid, on the other hand, used an eight-speed torque converter-equipped automatic gearbox.
Altogether, there are six different driving modes. They include the Sport and Sport Plus modes of other new Panamera models equipped with the Sport Chrono package, along with the E-Hybrid specific modes of E-power, Hybrid Auto, E-Hold and E-Charge.
As with its predecessor, Porsche’s latest hybrid model is programmed to start in E-power mode. With a fully charged battery, it is claimed to provide a pure electric range of up to 50km at speeds limited to 140km/h.
Power for the Panamera E-Hybrid’s electric motor is provided by a liquid cooled lithium ion battery. Despite boasting a 4.7kWh increase in energy storage at 14.1kWh, it is claimed to weigh no less than unit used by the older Panamera S E-Hybrid.
Porsche says the battery can be charged in 5.8 hours using a standard 3.6kW charger, while an optional 7.2kW charger is claimed to reduce the charging time to 3.6 hours. Charging can be started via the Porsche Communication Management infotainment system or remotely via the Porsche Car Connect app. An auxiliary air conditioner also now allows the cabin to be cooled during charging.
A so-called power meter allows the driver to keep tabs of the operation of the hybrid driveline via a standard 12.3 inch touch screen display. Similar to that found on the 918 Spyder, it provides detailed data on energy storage, including the amount of electrical energy being used in real time as well as that recovered through recuperation. There is also a boost assistant that displays the energy available for boosting performance via the electric motor as well as a hybrid assistant that provides information on how to regulate the electric drive for maximum economy.
The Panamera 4 E-Hybrid rides on a standard air suspension. The newly developed underpinnings use a three chamber design in combination with electronic damper control and dynamic chassis control that supports torque vectoring and active roll stabilisation.