The refreshed 2014 Porsche Panamera will debut later this month at the Shanghai Motor Show, and the biggest news is the addition of a new plug-in hybrid version that can drive for 20 miles on electricity alone. The car also trades its mid-range V-8 for a twin-turbo V-6, and adds three new long-wheelbase models.
The mild facelift begins with new headlights, a new liftgate with a wider rear window, a more steeply angled rear window, and a more rounded rump. The electrically operated rear spoiler is larger, too. Still, only the most devoted Porsche Panamera fan will notice the visual update at a glance.
The most intriguing new powertrain choice is the Porsche Panamera S E-Hybrid, an updated version of the previous Panamera S Hybrid. It is a plug-in hybrid with a larger battery pack (9.4 kWh versus 1.7 kWh) and a more powerful electric motor (95 hp versus 47 hp), improving acceleration and fuel economy. The lithium-ion battery pack can be charged in under three hours from a 240-volt charger, allowing the S E-Hybrid to travel about 20 miles on electrical power alone. With 416 hp combined, Porsche claims a 0-to-60-mph time of 5.2 seconds and a top speed of 167 mph, improvements of 0.9 second and 15 mph compared to the old S Hybrid.
The S E-Hybrid is the only Panamera with an eight-speed automatic transmission; all others have a seven-speed PDK dual-clutch. The S E-Hybrid also links to a Porsche Car Connect smartphone app allowing owners to check or schedule battery charging, and pre-heat the car's cabin remotely. Fuel economy ratings will be released later this year; the current S Hybrid manages 22/30 mpg (city/highway).
Panamera S and 4S models receive a new engine, a 3.0-liter twin-turbo V-6 that produces 420 hp and 384 lb-ft of torque. That's 20 hp and 15 lb-ft more than the outgoing 4.8-liter V-8 engine, and the new six-cylinder mill should also be more fuel efficient.
The new Panamera Executive, available with the 4S, Turbo, and Turbo S trim levels, has a 5.9-inch longer wheelbase than normal Panameras, allowing for more rear-seat room. In addition, the luxury-oriented models receive more standard equipment like air suspension with Porsche Active Suspension Management.
New optional equipment for all versions of the 2014 Porsche Panamera includes lane-departure warning; full-LED headlights; and Porsche Active Safe, which can warn the driver of an impending collision and apply additional braking force.
The 2014 Porsche Panamera goes on sale in the U.S. later this year, but Turbo S and Turbo S Executive models won't arrive until early 2014. Pricing for all new models, including a $975 destination charge, is as follows: Panamera, $79,075; Panamera 4, $83,775; Panamera S, $94,175; Panamera 4S, $99,275; Panamera S E-Hybrid, $99,975; Panamera GTS, $114,375; Panamera 4S Executive, $126,575; Panamera Turbo, $142, 275; Panamera Turbo Executive, $162,075.