First drive Porsche Panamera S EHybrid

5 Июн 2014 | Author: | Комментарии к записи First drive Porsche Panamera S EHybrid отключены
Porsche Panamera Electric Cars

First drive: Porsche Panamera S E-Hybrid

Porsche; that’s not a name often seen around these parts.

You don’t need an encyclopaedic knowledge of the brand to know that Porsche isn’t exactly renowned for its low-emitting vehicles.

The cleanest 911 emits 177g/km while the cleanest Macan SUV, due in the UK this April, boasts a combined fuel economy of 46.3mpg at 159g/km CO2. Considering its rivals — the BMW X3 and Audi Q5 emit 149g/km and 140g/km CO2 in their least eco-form, you’d think environmental impact were still pretty low on Porsche’s priority list.

However after speaking with Porsche recently, the brand made no secret of its desire to push into the company car market, albeit the very upper echelons.

They know there won’t be an influx of fleet drivers swapping their 320d for a Boxster but if the Range Rover and Mercedes S-Class appear on company car user-chooser lists, then why shouldn’t the diesel Cayenne (137g/km) or Panamera S E-Hybrid (71g/km)?

That’s correct; for a fee, you can drive a VED-exempt, C-Charge-dodging, sub-75g Porsche.

No compromise

The Panamera S E-Hybrid represents Porsche’s first attempt at a plug-in vehicle, building on progress made with the original Panamera Hybrid from 2011.

On a combined cycle, the luxury four seat, four door saloon can return 91.1mpg – which is the same as the new Peugeot 308 and more than double that of the first Panamera Hybrid (39.8mpg) – with CO2 emissions of 71g/km, similarly more than half that of its predecessor (167g/km).

“There’s a catch somewhere surely,” says the cynic in you. “I bet it’s slower than granny down the shops in the snow.”

Wrong, performance has been improved given plug-in facilities, dashing to 62mph in 5.5 seconds, which is half a second faster than the previous Panamera Hybrid.

By the end of 2014 though, it will have some fierce competition in the shape of Mercedes’ S-Class plug-in hybrid, which claims to offer 94.2mpg and 69g/km with an identical 0-62mph sprint.

Price tag

That doesn’t mean there isn’t a snag though, and it’s easily summed up: price.

The Panamera S E-Hybrid will set you back just short of £89k in its most basic form, while the model we drove cost nearly £102k, fitted with 20” wheels, cruise control, metallic paint, leather interior, surround sound system, soft close doors amongst other goodies.

That kind of money could buy you two Tesla Model S or three Toyota Prius Plug-Ins. Everyone knows hybrids come at a premium but ouch!

Behind the wheel of the Panamera, the throttle pedal feels stiffer than many would anticipate, as is the steering, but it’s nothing that can’t be adapted to quickly. After the first couple of bends, you’re acquainted enough to appreciate its sharp handling and authoritative acceleration.

The interior has enough ‘wow factor’ but considering the S-Class’ reputation for luxury cabins, it seems unfathomable that many will prefer the Panamera’s insides over the Mercedes’.

Modes

The Panamera S E-Hybrid can drive in three modes: the all-electric E-Charge mode, E-Power, which flits between electric and petrol motoring, and Sport, which combines the electric motor and petrol engine for optimum performance and acceleration, delivering its all 416hp of its might.

Tailpipe emissions are completely cut-out in the E-Charge setting, which can provide up to 22 miles of motoring purely on electric power. That’s what Porsche says; we managed to squeeze out around 10 miles before running the 9.4kWh lithium-ion battery flat and switching over to the three-litre petrol engine.

The car will recuperate charge on the go like conventional hybrids but a full charge from a domestic three-pin plug will take four hours, or approximately two and a half hours when connected to a 240V power source.

The big question

Recently, we questioned whether a car with an £88k price tag really benefit from the government’s plug-in car grant. If someone can lay down that sort of money for a car, do they really need any help from the taxpayer?

As it stands, the government thinks they should, but that doesn’t change the fact that in the UK, this car will only find a slim number of buyers.


Almost all of those people will be London-based highfliers, keen to drive something sporty but benefit from all the tax and efficiency benefits of a plug-in hybrid: no road tax, no C-Charge, £5k from the government, phenomenal fuel economy, but wrapped up in a neat flash exterior.

Porsche Panamera S E-Hybrid at a glance:

Length: 5015mm

Width: 1931mm

Height: 1418mm

Wheelbase: 2920mm

Boot space: 432 / 1250 litres

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