Porsche updates Panamera

Plug-in hybrid, 3.0-litre bi-turbo V6 and long wheelbase body are among new additions

Could this be the world's first plug-in hybrid super saloon?

According to Porsche, the answer is yes. New to the Panamera range is the so-called S E-hybrid that is claimed to be far superior to the S Hybrid.

The electric motor assisting the 3.0-litre V6 has its power boosted from 47hp to 95hp and can now be recharged via the socket. Combined power goes up from 380hp to 416hp.

As well, the nickel metal-hydride battery has been replaced with the more modern lithium-ion type that is said to have five times better energy-storing capability.

As a result, the average fuel economy for the E-hybrid is rated at 32.6kpl, more than 50% better than the non-plug-in hybrid at 14kpl.

Wow! Isn't that too optimistic?

That's the problem with the NEDC-based testing applied in Europe whereby the plug-in hybrid's electric motor can be fully charged via the socket before being evaluated by the authorities.

Other vital stats include a pure maximum electric driving range of 36km at speeds of no more than 135kph. However, Porsche says a more realistic figure for real-world traffic could start from 18km.

Compared to the normal hybrid, the E-hybrid is, at 5.5sec, 0.5 seconds quicker from 0-100kph. Top speed is 270kph.

And what's with the new bi-turbo V6?

E-hybrid version can drive in EV mode between 17-36km.

Oh, that's another exercise in the engine-downsizing strategy. The 3.0-litre twin-turbo V6 is designed to replace the 4.8-litre normally aspirated V8 of the Panamera S/4S and has 20hp and 20Nm more power and torque, at 420hp and 520Nm.

Does the Turbo still live on?

You bet, because that's the epitome of Panamera's image with that 500hp 4.8-litre twin-turbo V8 (and 550hp in Turbo S form).

And for the first time, the Turbo _ and the Panamera 4S _ has a long wheelbase body to choose from which has been extended by 150mm over the regular body to help make rear legroom more soothing.

And you don't need to wonder where this entire updated Panamera range will be making its world premiere: in Shanghai this month where buyers love stretch limos.

Other revisions include new LED lights, redesigned bumpers and a spoiler and bigger rear windscreen. Enhanced features come in the form of driving aids like camera-based traffic sign detection, adaptive cruise control and lane-departure warning.

And what about that pretty estate body?

You mean the Sport Turismo that was once shown as a concept? No word from Porsche yet about it.

The revised Panamera model range is set to go on sale in July.

About the author

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Writer: Richard Leu
Position: Motoring news Editor