MALAGA, Spain — The 2018 Porsche Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid Sport Turismo is the new flagship of the Panamera line. Porsche spokesman Hermann-Josef Stappen, who practiced saying the long name for two days, pointed out it’s the first of its kind in the luxury segment and should satisfy a discriminating few who want a high degree of functionality but long for a sports car.
The E-Hybrid Sport Turismo is a plug-in hybrid that’s good for 30 miles on its liquid-cooled 14-kWh lithium-ion battery, ample for stealing away in silence to the neighborhood market or to the office. Electric drive gets the car from 0 to 60 mph in 6.1 seconds and achieves a top speed of 86 mph. The new Hybrid Auto mode lets the car combine power sources.
Yet with the steering wheel selector set on Sport Plus, we could take advantage of full system output of 680 hp and 626 lb-feet of torque. The twin-turbo 4.0-liter V-8 roared like a beast about its contribution of 550 hp, while the electric drive kicked in the rest in a most invisible way. The V-8 and electric motor are connected by an electrically actuated clutch, while an eight-speed PDK transmission distributes the brawn. As a result, the E-Hybrid Sport Turismo whisks from 0 to 60 mph in just 3.2 seconds. And in case there’s a big hurry, top speed is 192 mph.
It was necessary to hold off on all that while we negotiated the interior plateau and crested a high pass, returning to the coast by a route to the north and east of the Sierra de las Nieves (Snowy Mountain). The all-wheel drive would be especially useful here when the winter snows start to fly. Route A-366 was narrow, far narrower than the 40-foot-wide surface of Ascari, and the Sport Turismo was 76.2 inches wide. Meeting the bus that runs between Málaga and Ronda was a memorable event. Eventually, making the long descent, we met a stretch of superhighway leading back to Estepona, our starting point. When it isn’t sneaking around town on electric power in hopes of filling up the maximum 45.7 cubic feet of cargo space with groceries, the Panamera is in its real element here. Thundering away from toll plazas gave us a good sense of the burst this 5,125-pound car delivers.
Inside, under normal driving, the E-Hybrid Sport Turismo is quiet and posh. We had lowered ourselves into the leather seats, letting the car take us into its possession. (Something we would throw out: the dreary wood inlays in the doors and dash.) Increasing the Sport Turismo’s versatility, four-plus-one seating is standard—take that, Ferrari GTC4 Lusso!
Despite having two doors and no electric drive, the Lusso is the car we see as closest to the Porsche: a ski car, dog car, and the choice for visiting the plant nursery. And with a base price of $189,450 including shipping charges, the E-Hybrid Sport Turismo seems a steal in comparison. Of course, loaded with extras like rear-axle steering, the handsome 21-inch 911 Turbo Design wheels, advanced adaptive cruise control, and Night Vision Assist that uses a thermal-imagining camera, the price tag surpasses $200,000.
Factoring in the sophistication of the chassis, the innovative techniques for crimping together aluminum and steel body panels, the powertrain that has spiritual contact with the 918 Spyder, and so much more, the E-Hybrid Sport Turismo is quite a marvel. With the emphatic roofline and aggressive rear spoiler, it just looks cool, too. We were happy to drive this great E-Hybrid Sport Turismo and experience what some lucky buyers will regard as everyday practical transportation with a huge wallop of capability standing in reserve.
2018 Porsche Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid Sport Turismo Specifications
|ON SALE||Spring 2018|
|PRICE||$189,450/$217,490 (base/as tested)|
|ENGINE||4.0L twin-turbo DOHC 32-valve V-8/550 hp @ 5,750-6,000 rpm, 567 lb-ft @ 1,960-4,500 rpm plus electric motor/136 hp @ 2,800 rpm, 295 lb-ft @ 100 rpm; combined/680 hp @ 5,750 hp, 626 lb-ft @ 1,400 rpm|
|TRANSMISSION||8-speed dual-clutch automatic|
|LAYOUT||4-door, 4/5-passenger, front-engine, AWD hatchback|
|L x W x H||198.7 x 76.2 x 56.3 in|
|0-60 MPH||3.2 sec|
|TOP SPEED||192 mph|