Porsche’s new hybrid Panamera can run 20 miles on a single charge – and hit 168 mph flat-out. Road Test Editor Howard Walker reckons it’s an Ohm-run!
Chances are if you can afford the $99,975 asking price for Porsche’s latest eco-offering, the Panamera S E-Hybrid, you won’t be too concerned about saving a few bucks at the gas station. But if you’re keen on doing your bit to help the environment, and you like the thought of piloting a more socially responsible, smoldering-hot sports sedan, this latest Porsche could be for you. And who wouldn’t want to drive a Porsche with Kermit-the-Frog, psychedelic 

lime green brake calipers?

Perhaps the coolest feature of this new Panamera is the fact that it can cruise on a full charge of ions for close to 20 miles. And at speeds up to 83 mph. For most of us, that means Monday-to-Friday commutes – either to the office or mall – can be done with zero emission, electric-only power. When you get Ohm, sorry home, or to the office, just plug it into the socket – preferably the 240-volt one you installed – and you’ll get a full re-charge in just two and a half hours.

So what happens when you hit 20 miles and run out of juice? Nothing. The supercharged 3.0-liter 333-horsepower Audi-based V6 gas motor seamlessly kicks in you’re good to keep going. Of course, with the batteries nicely charged, the V6 Pamamera will perform just like a V8 Panamera, the 95-horse electric motor juiced by a big 9.4kWh lithium-ion battery working with the V6 to give a total 416 horses.

Pedal-to-the-metal and Al Gore be damned, the Porsche will whizz from standstill to 60 mph in just 5.2 seconds and not quit until the speedo needle is showing 167 mph. And driving the E-Hybrid like a regular Panamera, you should see 26 mpg in the city and an impressive 33 to
the gallon on the highway.

I just spent a morning driving this new eco-Porsche and really came away er, juiced. There’s something delightful about cruising around town in near total silence, with just the distant hum of tires to give the impression of speed.

Off the line in electric mode, this hybrid Panamera is no slouch, squeezing you back into
the seats with none of those soaring engine revs. Talk about a conversation piece
with new passengers. And what young kid in the back seat isn’t going to adore
this rolling science project?

And this being a Porsche, it does tend to handle itself pretty well. With nicely precise electro-hydraulic steering and meaty 245/50-18 front and 275/45-18-rear rubberware to grip the asphalt, the Panamera is a fun drive.

As for letting the neighbors know you’re driving a green machine, visual cues include those lime green brake calipers, plus a new front bumper design with re-shaped air ducts, aero-style side sills beneath the doors and unique alloy wheels.

If you seem to remember there was a previous Panamera hybrid, you’re right. But the old Panamera S Hybrid was pretty hopeless, with its meager 1.2-mile electric-only range from its nickel-metal hydride batteries.

Of course this new S E-Hybrid won’t be for everyone. Great fuel economy isn’t too high on the list of qualities most buyers are looking for in a Porsche. But this is a splendid way of doing your bit for the environment and still driving a Porsche.

For more information about the latest luxury-performance vehicles from Porsche, please visit http://www.porsche.com/