The Tatler Test Drive: Porsche Panamera S E-Hybrid
Porsche ups the ante of environmentally friendly motoring with its Panamera S E-Hybrid, an updated member with many dimensions in the brand’s luxury sedan lineup, writes Tien Chew.
More and more car manufacturers are adapting a greener stance as they attempt to develop better sustainable technologies and although the next big bet is electricity, a mix of current technological limitations, feasibility and cost have prohibited many car builders from making electric cars as commonplace as conventional petroleum cars.
While many automakers continue to search for a formula that would usher in widespread changes, Porsche’s current solution is in the form of the Panamera S E-Hybrid.
The electric hybrid luxury sports sedan is a plug-in hybrid vehicle, utilising the best of both worlds in an effort to minimise carbon footprint while maximising on performance efficiency. This integration positions the car as a vehicle that caters to an individual seeking to restore a balance in the environment, all while having the option of driving a very capable sports sedan.
Upon introduction, the electric hybrid Panamera test unit that I spent the day with looked aesthetically clean, thanks to its all-white paint visuals. Take a closer inspection and you will begin to see subtle ‘acid green’ styling cues spread throughout the vehicle in its word decals, brake pads, the speedometer dials and more.
The green hue is a nice touch that brightens up the Panamera, making it approachable and light-hearted and doesn’t take itself too seriously as compared to other eco-friendly focused cars. Despite not being as sleek as the sporty 911, it still manages to maintain a presence worthy of business executives or young jet-setters.
If you want to help the environment, you might as well look good doing it.
Those familiar with Porsche will instantly feel at home with the manufacturer’s quality leather interior build. My test unit came replete with black leather, appearing sleek and easily appealing to a wide range of tastes. The Panamera’s seats are also as comfortable as they appear and have excellent comfort options like seat cooling that can be really beneficial in a hot tropical nation like ours.
Car purists might be adverse to the interior straddling the middle ground between sporty and luxury at the same time but those interested in the Panamera will choose it for its unique appeal in most cases. This four-seater sedan also features a decent amount of seating space for both the driver and passenger all while maintaining a comfortable ride.
Porsche positions the S E-Hybrid as a top contender in its Panamera series in both efficiency and sportiness and it is hard to argue when it performs both tasks fairly well.
Fire up the start/stop button and the car hums quietly to life in ‘e-power’ mode, the vehicle’s default electric mode that runs on its lithium-ion batteries. The car’s electric motor has the power output of 96 horsepower and is capable of achieving an all-electric top speed of 135km/h if need be.
It has a 36km electric range and is mostly suitable for having enough juice to produce a day’s worth of urban hybrid driving. Cruising around in this mode is ideal for city use since it emits zero emission.
However, let’s face the fact, having 36km worth of driving range won’t exactly cut it for most individuals, especially when many current electric cars have over a hundred kilometres or more worth of juice. But this isn’t exactly an all-electric car and drivers are able to switch to the car’s hybrid mode as the electric battery wanes off.
Of the many hours I spent driving Porsche’s green Panamera, I found myself spending most of the time cruising around the city and highways on hybrid mode, pleasantly surprised that the mode produces decent acceleration while maintaining a fuel consumption of 3.1 litres for every 100 kilometres.
Motor enthusiasts savvy enough to warrant better control over the car can switch to tiptronic mode and utilise the car’s eight gears for greater performance and fuel efficiency. On top of the standard speedometer, the driver’s dashboard also features a wealth of meters to keep drivers informed if the car is running efficiently, on charge mode or even provide multimedia interactive functionality such as song selection and navigation.
The third mode that you will find is the ‘e-charge’ mode, which would be beneficial when the batteries start to reach its low point before the day’s end. Porsche envisions drivers utilising this mode when on the highway to charge up the batteries for later use in an urban setting for zero emission driving, which is actually advantageous in not only preventing energy wastage but also to ensure optimal eco-friendly driving.
Although the different buttons to change modes is situated near the gear shift, alternating between modes to ensure efficient driving will become second nature the more time you spend with the Panamera, something that I quickly became accustomed to as I spent the day with the car and got to know its ins and outs.
This article has previously appeared in the June 2015 issue of Malaysia Tatler. To read the rest of it, buy the digital copy of the magazine here.