Higher Calling

Is the new 2018 Panamera 4 E-Hybrid Executive a respectable performer?

August 3, 2017
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Originally introduced on the first-generation Type 970 Panamera at its 2013 facelift, primarily for China, the long-wheelbase Executive version was soon made available in other markets due to growing demand for an even roomier rear compartment. As before, the long-wheelbase Executive specification for the new 2018 971-gen Panamera adds 5.9 inches to the wheelbase, 4.7 inches of which benefits backseat legroom, and 1.2 inches goes towards allowing the rear seats to recline. Meanwhile, the longer door openings also make access to the rear easier.

In terms of sheer panache, the new Panamera cabin strikes the perfect balance between modern architecture, superb ergonomics, and classic materials. It is also beautifully finished, with no sign of the nasty plastics that can trip up the apparent veneer of perfection in some luxury cars. Here, however, we have to remember that while the Panamera Executive’s chief rivals are the Audi A8, BMW 7-Series and Mercedes S-Class, its lower ride height, standard all-wheel-drive (AWD) system and the fact that it is a Porsche, immediately make it a car for a different minded buyer.

Tech Brief

Open the Panamera 4 E-Hybrid Executive’s big aluminum hood and, apart from the neat molded plastic engine cover with a “2.9-liter V6 e-hybrid” badge, those in the know will see that the E-Hybrid’s engine bay is spanned by the same front shock tower brace found on the new Panamera Turbo. With its combined system output of 462 hp and 516 lb-ft of torque comparing favorably with the 550 hp and 568 lb-ft developed by the twin-turbo V8 engine in the Turbo, this structural brace is necessary. This is especially true considering the electric motor’s 136 hp at 2,800 rpm and 295 lb-ft of torque is produced between 100 and 2,300 rpm.

Although the hybrid’s system output is not an addition of the two power sources, but rather the maximum where they cross over on their respective journeys, the instant rush of power and torque added to the twin-turbo V6 engine’s 330 hp and 331 lb-ft is impressive. Where its predecessor was lumbered with a torque converter automatic gearbox and rear-wheel-drive only, the new Panamera E-Hybrid has a snappy PDK dual-clutch transmission that delivers power to an all-wheel drive system.

The stopwatch declares the 0-60 mph sprint over in just 4.4 seconds for the 4,784-lb Panamera 4 E-Hybrid, and 4.5 seconds for the longer 4,960-lb Executive version. An all-out acceleration run brings these cars to 100 mph in 10.7 and 11.1 seconds respectively, both eventually topping out at 172 mph. In parenthesis, the 4,398-lb Panamera Turbo covers the 0-60 mph sprint in just 3.4 seconds, with the 4,630-lb Executive variant taking 0.1 seconds longer. The key distinction here is that the hybrids are more fuel efficient.

Being able to run in electric drive mode for up to 32 miles takes the Panamera 4 E-Hybrid into a whole new world of zero emissions driving. Its consumption of 2.5L/100km (94 mpg) and CO2 emissions of just 56g/km give it license to do things mostly non-performance cars can do. For example, the new Panamera hybrid can travel into places like Central London free of the notorious Congestion Charge. This is a significant improvement on the 3.1L/100km (76 mpg), with 71g/km of CO2 emissions claimed for the outgoing model.

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