First Drive: 2012 Porsche Panamera S Hybrid

The Porsche Hybrid badge isn’t a joke. Though some may consider an eco-minded Porsche an oxymoron, the engineers in Stuttgart have already proven that their hybrids are driver’s cars and don’t stray far from the brand’s performance ethos. Porsche is quickly embracing hybrid technology with cars like the 918 Spyder, the 911 GT3 R Hybrid racecar, the Cayenne S Hybrid, and now the Panamera S Hybrid. After its launch in the fall of 2009, Porsche sold about 22,000 Panameras in the US in 2010, and some 80 percent of those sales were to buyers new to the Porsche brand. Porsche hopes to continue its sedan success when the Panamera S Hybrid goes on sale this November.

The Panamera S Hybrid uses the exact same powertrain as the Cayenne S Hybrid save for a couple small changes to the plumbing for battery cooling. Under the Panamera’s enormous snout lives a supercharged 3.0-liter V-6 making 333 hp – the same engine found in the Audi S4. Add to that a 47-hp electric motor for a combined peak power output of 380 hp and 428 lb-ft of torque at a mere 1100 rpm. The Panamera S Hybrid can run in hybrid mode or electric-only mode, accessed by the “E Power” button on the center console. A 288-volt nickel-metal hydride battery is mounted under the trunk and can hold up to 1.7 kWh of energy. The battery weighs about 150 pounds and helps the Panamera S Hybrid achieve an almost perfectly balanced weight distribution all while being mounted low enough that trunk space isn’t compromised much. Compared to the V-6 Panamera S, an S Hybrid is about 400 pounds heavier.

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I don't know why you guys think a fuel efficient sports car is an oximoron, most (real, non SUV) Porsches are rather fuel efficient. This Hybrid is not significantly better in terms of mileage when driven very hard - however when driven casually, the savings are more significant because this hybrid can "coast" with the engine shut off and completely disengaged.
A lot of trouble for gas mileage that is no better than a gas engine in the same vehicle. Am I missing something?

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