New Panamera gets plug-in power

The second generation of Porsche’s ugly-duckling Panamera sedan includes a model that Porsche claims is the world’s first plug-in luxury hybrid car, the Panamera S E-Hybrid, with 307kW of system power.

The 10-strong Panamera range will also include two luxurious Executive versions – the long-wheelbase Panamera 4S and Panamera Turbo (which will be available only in left-had drive markets) and an all-new three-litre biturbo V6 engine in the Panamera S and 4S.

Porsche has tightened up the car’s lines using the same design language as on the new Boxster and the 991, making the 2013 Panamera a lot less blobby than its predecessor, with sleeker LED headlights and a wider rear window in a new, flatter tailgate.

E-HYBRIDThe E-Hybrid system, developed from the previous conventional hybrid system, brings in a more powerful electric motor – 70kW versus 35kW – a new lithium-ion battery with more than five times the capacity of the nickel metal hydride unit it replaces (9.4kWh, compared to 1.7kWh) and, of course, the ability to be charged using external electrical power, which takes about two and a half hours when connected to three-phase industrial power and four hours using a 220-volt domestic outlet.

Porsche boast that the Panamera S E-Hybrid is not only quicker (135km/h) and more fuel-efficient than the parallel hybrid version (3.1 litres pr 100km in NEDC testing, compared to 7.1) but also that it achieved a pure-electric range of 36km.

However, they concede that NEDC testing is unrealistic in that it’s done under ideal conditions with the air-conditioning and heating switched off. Nevertheless, says Porsche, the plug-in Panamera should be good for between 18 and 36km on battery power in the real world.

USING GRAVITY TO RECHARGE THE BATTERY

Mash the pedal to bring in both petrol and electric power, and the E-Hybrid will sprint to 100km/h in 5.5 seconds – half a second quicker than before – and top out at 270km/h.

It’ll also coast on long downhills with both clutches open and petrol engine shut down, using gravity to recharge the battery.

Using a smartphone app, the owner can check the battery charge status, turn on pre-heating or pre-cooling, check the remaining driving range – or find his way back to wherever it’s parked!

FLY BUSINESS CLASS

The Executive models add an extra 150mm of wheelbase (all of which is in the rear footwell) as well as standard air suspension, for exceptional rear-seat passenger comfort.

An entirely new twin-turbo, three-litre V6 replaces the naturally aspirated 4.8-litre V8 in the Panamera S and 4S, delivering 15kW and 20Nm more than the V8 while using up to 18 percent less fuel.

Most Panameras come with a seven-speed double-clutch gearbox, but the diesel and E-Hybrid have an eight-speed Tiptronic S auto transmission.

First deliveries of the new Panamera are expected from July 2013, with a Turbo S and a long-wheelbase Turbo S Executive, as well as an all-new 220kW diesel, to follow in 2014.