Porsche Panamera 2014 Update and S EHybrid Launch Review Porsche …

18 Апр 2014 | Author: | Комментарии к записи Porsche Panamera 2014 Update and S EHybrid Launch Review Porsche … отключены
PORSCHE Panamera – 3.0 S E-Hybrid Tiptronic S

There’s a lot that’s familiar about the updated Panamera,

What we liked:


Clever plug-in hybrid system

Beautifully executed interior

Sporting prowess despite size and weight

Not so much
:

Size and weight

Looks

Rear side airbags optional

OVERVIEW

You can’t ignore its sales success


The Panamera luxury liftback is one of those Porsches that purists love to hate – just like they hate the Cayenne SUV and will hate its little bother, the Audi Q5-based Macan too.

When Panamera was launched back in 2009, the five-door copped it for being too big, too ugly, too expensive and too heavy. And with some justification too! Despite all that, however, it has proved a success for Porsche.

Around 100,000 have been sold since it started rolling off Porsche’s dedicated Leipzig production line.

That success has been built on the back of the car’s popularity in China, which accounts for roughly one third of annual production. By contrast, in Australia it is the slowest seller in the range, averaging about 100 sales per year.

Almost exactly four years into Panamera’s life, Porsche has rolled out the first major facelift. Included in the line-up are a vastly overhauled parallel hybrid with startling good fuel economy; a 3.0-litre biturbo V6 S with startlingly good performance and a new long wheelbase Executive model that is, erm, startlingly long.

PRICE AND EQUIPMENT


Same, same, but slightly different


There’s a lot that’s familiar about the updated Panamera, including the look, pricing, the model line-up and the equipment levels, which mostly stay unchanged.

Australia won’t get the 15cm longer Executive, which is a left-hand-drive-only proposition and aimed primarily at China.

Instead, the headline act is the new plug-in S E-Hybrid, which is a significant technical and performance leap.

The other major technical news is the replacement of the old 4.8-litre naturally-aspirated V8 in the S and all-wheel drive 4S with a new 3.0-litre biturbo V6 that improves performance and fuel economy.

All the other models in the range have carry-over drivetrains – albeit improved in terms of both performance and economy (see MECHANICAL below). They are the Panamera (3.6-litre V6 petrol), Panamera 4, Panamera diesel (3.0-litre V6 turbo-diesel), Panamera GTS (naturally-aspirated 4.8-litre V8) and the range topping Panamera Turbo.

Porsche Cars Australia has held the line on pricing, resisting pressure from Germany to add a few percentage points. Normally we’d be surprised and pleased by that, but given the recent substantial price cuts for 911, Cayenne, Cayman and Boxster, it’s almost disappointing. PCA argues there’s no downward pressure on pricing because the Panamera is competitive with its rivals such as the Mercedes-Benz S-class and BMW 7 Series.

So pricing still starts at $196,700 for the Diesel and tops out at $382,400 for the Turbo. The significant exception in all this is the new plug-in S E-Hybrid, which dips in price by $3600 compared to its predecessor courtesy of a luxury car tax exemption provided by its ultra-low fuel consumption rate. The RRP is still a hefty $296,900.

One reason pricing should be held static is no big ticket equipment items are added. So the highlights remain Bi-xenon headlights, BOSE 14-speaker surround sound, hard drive sat-nav, a powered sunroof, part-leather interior trim and climate control. A new app that enables car functions to be activated remotely by mobile phone will not be available in Australia.

Arrival dates of models are staggered reflecting production start-ups. The Diesel, S, 4S all-wheel drive and Turbo officially go on-sale July 27. The Panamera follows in September with the Panamera 4, while the S E-Hybrid and GTS are due in November.

Next year a new 200kW Diesel (currently 184kW) arrives while the awesome Turbo S will be added to the top of the range.

MECHANICAL

Big and small changes


The S E-Hybrid is the big ticket item here, trading in its predecessor’s 34kW electric motor and 1.7kWh nickel-metal hydride battery pack for a 70kW motor and 9.4kWh lithium-ion battery pack. It also adds plug-in recharging (a first in the luxury class) while retaining the Audi-sourced supercharged 3.0-litre petrol V6.


The combined power output is 306kW, while there is an ability to run on electrical power for up to 36km (and just maybe a frag more) and 135kn/h. Performance is impressive with a 0-100km/h acceleration time of 5.5 secs (combining petrol and electric), a top speed of 270km/h and a stunning fuel consumption claim of 3.1L/100km – for a car that weighs in at 2095kg! The old car averaged 7.1L/100km.

The Hybrid offers four modes. E-Power tries to use electrical power at all times its sensible, Hybrid is when the petrol engine takes over after battery depletion and enthusiast-oriented Sport speaks for itself. The fourth is E-Charge, which diverts engine power to recharge the battery to full capacity on the run.

This costs about two-to-three litres in extra fuel burn and takes about 50 minutes. There is no other hybrid we can think of that can do this. The rest hold charge, rather than rebuild it.

The new DOHC direct-injection biturbo V6 in the S is recognition of the need for performance engine downsizing (as BMW, Audi and Benz have already done). It is derived from the 4.8-litre V8 so it has a 90-degree vee-angle rather than the 60 degree angle usual for a V6. This allows the engine to sit lower and further back in the chassis, improving weight balance and centre of gravity.

The first Porsche vee engine with variable exhaust cam timing, with the help of dual turbochargers it pumps out 309kW (+15kW over the V8) and 520Nm (+20Nm), accelerates from 0-100km in 5.1 secs and averages 8.7L/100km/h (the 4S is just slightly slower and thirstier). The outgoing V8’s claims were 5.4 secs and 10.5L/100km.

There are performance and economy improvement claims made across the rest of range. For instance the base model V6 adds 8kW and subtracts 0.9L/100km, while the Turbo adds 14kW and drops 1.3/100km.

The transmissions are seven speed dual clutch PDK for all bar the diesel and the hybrid, which get eight-speed ZF torque converter autos. The PDKs add ‘virtual intermediate gears’ (GTS misses out on this feature) which cut revs when cruising up to 80km/h. Other fuel saving features are extended stop-start and a coasting modes.

Underneath all of this the core rear-wheel drive/all-wheel drive Panamera platform is retained along with the fundamental double wishbone front and multi-link rear suspension, although there has been some fine tuning of chassis hardware and software. Base model V6s get conventional springs while the rest get air springs.

Brakes are 360mm or 390mm front discs and six piston monobloc callipers sitting inside 18- or 19-inch alloy wheels.

The Porsche Traction Management all-wheel drive system, which has an electronically controlled multi-plate clutch at its core, is standard fit for 4S, GTS and Turbo.

This update does not extend to a substantial exterior redesign – that comes in two years with the all-new Panamera. For now there are tweaks including new headlights, intakes, side sills and a wider rear windscreen.

PACKAGING


Never mind the space enjoy the luxury

The Panamera is a massive car, measuring up at 5015mm long, 1931mm wide and 1418mm high. It rolls on a 2920mm wheelbase. And yet it only seats four people (as a lot of these super-expensive luxos do) and its boot space is a little bit disappointing at 445 litres.

It’s a long but pretty narrow space under the power opening tailgate.

Inside, the amount of storage is also limited. There are small door pockets (the fronts flip-out) and a single cup holder in the centre console. Two rather rickety bottle holders clamber out from behind a panel above the glovebox (itself quite small) and prove themselves only semi-effective. Otherwise the interior is a beautiful pace to behold.

Exquisite quality, flush panel fitment and high quality woods, metals and leathers abound.

The driver faces the traditional five Porsche instrument dials, although the tacho is replaced by a power meter in the hybrid. There is also a choice of comfortable and supportive seats, all of them heated.

The biggest pain for the driver is seeing out. The rear view is minimal (especially when the wing is deployed), the side view is limited by the fat B-pillar and even looking forward is compromised when cornering by A-pillars that outdo the Holden Commodore for size and unhelpful placement.

In the back there is more than enough leg and head space, but you do sit very deep down, something accentuated by the tombstone front seats and upward sweep of the window line.

SAFETY


Something is missing


PORSCHE Panamera – 3.0 S E-Hybrid Tiptronic S

Porsche gets the thumbs down for making rear-side airbags optional. Tyre Pressure Monitoring is also optional in the base models despite no spare tyre.

The airbags that are fitted include front, front-side, front-knee and curtain. Stability and traction control and an active bonnet system are all standard, as is front and rear park assist with visual and audible warnings.

COMPETITORS


All big and expensive


The obvious competition for the Panamera are the Mercedes-Benz S-class, BMW 7 series and Audi A8. But you can also throw the Jaguar XJ and Lexus LS into that mix.

There are two important new additions just down the road, with the W222 S-class due in September and the latest Maserati Quattroporte from around the same time.

We’d argue that BMW, Benz and Audi’s four-door ‘coupes’ are also Panamera classmates. The latest CLS, 6 Series Gran Coupe and A7 will all be available in both standard and M/AMG/RS form Down Under before long.

ON THE ROAD

Big on everything


The impression the Panamera delivers from the driver’s seat is universal, whether you are in a turbo V6, hybrid, naturally-aspirated V8 or turbo V8 (and we drove them all). And, it is that this is a big car that is bloody quick and steers with precision that no mainstream over-sized luxo-barge could hope to match.

So really, it’s Ms and AMGs and their ilk that need only apply to take on the Panamera when the going gets enjoyable.

But on the other hand all Panameras we drove displayed at least some tyre roar and consistently inconsistent transmission thump and/or shudder (across both PDK and conventional auto). That suggests refinement is still a work in progress at Porsche.

To be clear, tyre noise on low profile optional 20s was the most obvious intrusion and more so in the back than the front, where exhaust drone also became audible (remember this is a hatch not a sedan).

Yet the ride, even in the stiffly suspended GTS remained liveable. In the less aggressively tuned S and hybrid it was almost relaxed and definitely comfortable, with some obvious, albeit controlled, float from the air springs on undulating and choppy roads.

That said, a standard S-class, or a 7 (or especially an LS Lexus) are more quieter and peaceful. If less exciting.

In the case of the GTS, much less exciting. With the Sport Plus mode engaged, it was a gripped up, backfiring, sharp shifting animal that sounded mean from the inside and quite brutal standing roadside while it blatted past. Some will love it, others will prefer the overwhelming urge of the Turbo. When too much is never enough look in its direction…

But the S and the S E-Hybrid are really the main story and they present a less intense if still thoroughly enjoyable and involving drive experience.

The S engine’s main strength is the broadness of its power delivery with all 520Nm available from 1750-5000rpm. It whooshes up to speed rapidly, with terrific response and no sense of lag or mushiness. Still, after driving the GTS it was clear that emotionally at least it’s hard to replace a naturally-aspirated bent eight.

What became more apparent in the S as it was rear-wheel drive and running less aggressive 19-inch rubber was how less stuck-on it felt. In the tight mountain passes of the Bavarian Alps it would push its nose, wiggle its rear and generally adjust and adapt as it was pushed along.

The Hybrid was a different experience, especially as the idea was to drive on electricity as long as possible. Some took the job very seriously and managed to keep the V6 idle for as long as 39km and record fuel consumption as low as 1.1L/100km at a checkpoint about 50km along the route.

Driven normally, however, the hybrid dropped out of E-Power mode and fired up the engine at 32km and recorded 2.7L/100km at the checkpoint. Still pretty good. By the time the full loop was completed and having employed E-Charge to get some juice back into the battery pack, overall consumption had risen to 5.8L1/00km.

The most obvious benefit of the Hybrid is its range. This car can be commuted without engaging the petrol engine, especially if you can charge up at work during the day and overnight at home – a process that should take less than four hours to complete.

It’s easy to stay in electric mode when driving in E-Power because the graphics in the instrument panel are informative and the throttle becomes quite resistant and wooden as the threshold approaches. Yet it is not so delicate that the car has to be mothered or driven slowly. It hangs in traffic really well and accelerates briskly.

In the end it was this technology that impressed most. It will be a hit when it transfers into Cayenne and eventually Macan – especially as the asking price will be a lot cheaper.

And the Panamera overall? Well, it’s certainly improved as all Porsches generally do through their evolution, but some of those flaw criticised when it first arrived are still in evidence. It won’t be winning over the traditionalists any time soon.

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Editorial prices shown are a “price guide” only, based on information provided to us by the manufacturer. Pricing current at the time of writing editorial. Pricing prior to editorial dated 25 May 2009 may refer to RRP. Due to Clarity on Pricing legislation, RRP for those editorials now means “price guide”. When purchasing a car, always confirm the single figure price with the seller of an actual vehicle.

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PORSCHE Panamera – 3.0 S E-Hybrid Tiptronic S
PORSCHE Panamera – 3.0 S E-Hybrid Tiptronic S
PORSCHE Panamera – 3.0 S E-Hybrid Tiptronic S
PORSCHE Panamera – 3.0 S E-Hybrid Tiptronic S
PORSCHE Panamera – 3.0 S E-Hybrid Tiptronic S
PORSCHE Panamera – 3.0 S E-Hybrid Tiptronic S

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