2018 Porsche Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid Review: The Future Is Awesome

5 days ago by Steven Ewing 11

2018 PORSCHE PANAMERA TURBO S E-HYBRID

A plug-in hybrid hatchback with 680 horsepower? That’s so Porsche.

– Victoria, Canada

Like it or not, electrification is the way of the future. But it’s not just about soul-sucking hybrids like the Toyota Prius.  Several automakers are using electricity to offer supplemental power, making fast cars even faster. Drool-worthy supercars like the LaFerrari, and McLaren P1 all use electric assist via the plug, not to mention Porsche’s own 918 Spyder. In fact, the plug-in hybrid tech found in the 918 is what brings me to the car you see here, the incredibly powerful Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid.

For the first time, Porsche is positioning a plug-in hybrid model as the flagship of its range; no other Panamera bests the Turbo S E-Hybrid in terms of power, or price. With 680 horsepower and 626 pound-feet of torque, this certainly isn’t your traditional hybrid car. But if this is what Porsche’s vision of the electrified future looks like, then I, for one, welcome our new plug-in hybrid overlords.

2018 PORSCHE PANAMERA TURBO S E-HYBRID

Pros

Wait, how much power? Batteries on their own are only good for so much juice. And while most automakers combine this electric power with a small, efficient engine, Porsche goes the other route. On its own, the biturbo 4.0-liter V8 – the one from the Panamera Turbo – makes 550 hp and 567 lb-ft. To that, Porsche adds a 14.1-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery, and a motor good for 136 hp and 295 lb-ft. So yes, this is a hybrid with Hellcat levels of output, able to sprint to 60 miles per hour in 3.2 seconds and reach a top speed of 192 mph. Screw your Prius, this is electric thrust I can get behind.

Best of both worlds. The Turbo S E-Hybrid isn’t an always-on monster. Dial the drive setting to E-Power and you can run on only electricity for up to 31 miles (NEDC – think 22-23 miles real world/EPAish). Leave it in the default Hybrid setting, and the engine will mix turbo-gas power and EV thrust as needed, smoothly and effortlessly. Or to hell with it all, click over to Sport Plus mode and have max power available at all times. Mash the throttle and this thing is a rocket: it’s not just the initial acceleration that’s impressive, the 50-80-mph run is suck-you-into-the-seat quick.

2018 PORSCHE PANAMERA TURBO S E-HYBRID

Drives like a Porsche.  None of that is lost in the Turbo S E-Hybrid, with great steering, oodles of oomph, and wonderful balance, even in this heaviest (5,093-pound) example of the Panamera. After a long drive on both road and track, it’s clear the Turbo S E-Hybrid is a true performer. It grips for days, roars like the non-hybrid Turbo, and goes like hell.

Comes with everything. Granted, it ought to, considering the $184,400 starting price. But it’s nice to see Porsche treating its flagship Panamera as such. Porsche, the king of à-la-carte options, throws everything at the Turbo S E-Hybrid: carbon ceramic brakes, rear-axle steering, the Sport Chrono kit, 21-inch wheels, full leather interior, upgraded sound system, and more are all standard. You won’t have to pore over the options list to get a nicely equipped example of this Panamera.

2018 PORSCHE PANAMERA TURBO S E-HYBRID

Cons

Weird brakes. This is the one issue I have with the driving experience. In all driving modes, there’s a weird mushiness to the brake pedal with soft initial bite, like you have to push through a sponge to get to the meat of the carbon ceramic stopping power. It’s largely because of the regenerative braking, I know, but it’s a noticeable demerit in an otherwise brilliantly driving machine.

Choose your paint wisely. This is a nitpick, but one worth mentioning: those neon green accents come on every Turbo S E-Hybrid, regardless of exterior color. That’s fine if you get white, black, or bright blue like you see here. But on a beige-ish color – like this “Chalk” hue – those colors can really clash.

Who’s it for? I understand a lot of people will buy this car simply because it’s the best, the range-topping Panamera. But honestly, good as it is to drive, I’d rather just have the Turbo most of the time. It’s barely slower, offers all the same performance and luxury amenities, and is so, so, so good to drive. Even if you like the idea of a hybrid, try the Panamera 4 E-Hybrid, which mates the same battery and motor to a 2.9-liter biturbo V6. It’s still a ton of fun, with 462 total horsepower, and it’s eighty-five thousand dollars cheaper. Plus, you can get the Turbo and 4 E-Hybrid in ultra-cool Sport Turismo guise. For now, anyway, the Turbo S E-Hybrid can’t be had as a wagon.

Competitors

Audi RS7 Performance
Mercedes-AMG S65
Tesla Model S P100D

 

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11 responses to "2018 Porsche Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid Review: The Future Is Awesome"

  1. Terawatt says:

    I’m sure plugin hybrid is an excellent technology for hypercars, where sustainability and cost hardly matters. Electric motors and ICE complements each other, with the electric motor adding serious low-rev torque and the ICE delivering a lot of power at the top end.

    But they are just irrelevant. And they should get much less space on this site – along with every drag race involving a Tesla, by the way, even though it was fun for a long time watching cars with so much utility trounce so-called supercars at (one of) their own discipline(s).

    1. trackdaze says:

      Dont let perfect be the enemy of good.

      Anything that can substantially reduce fuel use has its place.

      1. Someone out there says:

        True but what happens when gas stations close all over the place because of lack of demand? Then you will sit there with 31 mile EV that you paid through your nose for! Granted, it probably won’t happen until about 10 years or so. I’d guess the second hand value of this car will be much less than can be expected of a Porsche.

  2. Bill Howland says:

    Seeing as Porsche, and the rest of the German car companies are so sparse with specifics on their websites and brouchures, you’d think even a glowing ‘whatever this is’ would at least spell out some details which are not listed in the brouchures, namely options, specific pricing, charging rate, wall box capacity and cost (of both North American and European variants), along with explaining exactly how the regeneration of the ‘weird’ brakes as he states, is energized, and whether it changes in differing modes.

  3. Samwise says:

    Who wrote this rubbish.
    Acting all shocked that a car with an electric motor has power is just nonsense when we have electric or electrically assisted cars holding the top two spots around the Nurburgring it’s like it was written 5 years ago.
    Likewise the nonsense about the brakes, pretty sure you can program regenative braking any old which way you want, it doesn’t even need to be on the brake pedal.

    1. zikzak says:

      I fully agree!
      “Like it or not, electrification is the way of the future. But it’s not just about soul-sucking hybrids like the Toyota Prius.”
      “Comes with everything. Granted, it ought to, considering the $184,400 starting price.”

      If the guy really want to compare one car against eight prius. Unless he sold his soul the article is indeed rubbish.

    2. GSP says:

      +1

      No information on performance in EV mode, and no information on charging equipment and rates.

      GSP

  4. pjwood1 says:

    “Weight 5,093 Pounds”. Porsche is becoming Cadillac.

    Tesla is at the point of putting 75, not 14, KWh in their *lower* priced car. The one that weighs 3,800 Pounds. In that respect the Model 3 shares more with the 918.

    Weren’t electric cars supposed to be heavy?

  5. floydboy says:

    Why get this thing? You’ll likely be burning almost as much gas as any other big gas guzzler. Make the Mission E and sign on to the supercharger network.

    1. john Doe says:

      These customers don’t give a flying f*** about gas prices or how much it use.

      They want an image, and a car that is fun to drive and has great handling and speed.

  6. GSP says:

    This article looks like it was copied from an ICE website, and not one that provides any real info, but more “lifestyle” oriented.

    Not up to the usual standards at Inside EVs.

    GSP

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