In the past, it wasn’t just powertrains that were hybridized in Porsche’s gasoline-electric vehicles—their mission, too, was split between upholding a dynamic pedigree and reducing fuel consumption. But the 918 Spyder hypercar marked a shift in philosophy: Porsche now says hybridization means making kick-ass cars kick more ass, treating the fuel-economy and emissions benefits of electrification as subordinate to boosting performance. (Those other things remain important for regulatory and marketing reasons, of course.)
The new Panamera 4 E-Hybrid certainly generates numbers that support the new focus. Compared with the previous Panamera hybrid, total system horsepower is up to 462 from 416, total torque has increased to 516 lb-ft from 435 lb-ft, and Porsche claims the new version is 0.8 second quicker to 60 mph (all the more impressive considering it weighs another 700 pounds more than the 330-hp nonhybrid Panamera 4).
Credit upgrades to the driveline and electric components of the powertrain. An eight-speed ZF-sourced dual-clutch transmission takes the place of an eight-speed torque-converter automatic, bringing with it whip-crack shift speeds. Per the 4 in its name, the Panamera 4 E-Hybrid now has standard all-wheel drive, whereas the previous S E-Hybrid was rear-drive only. The new car also will be offered as a long-wheelbase Executive model.
No matter the length, the E-Hybrid is equipped with a 14.1-kWh battery pack offering 50 percent more capacity than before, as well as a stronger electric motor/generator—still sandwiched between the engine and the transmission—making 136 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque against the old one’s 95 and 229. Charge time for the batteries can be as quick as two and a half hours using the optional 7.2-kW onboard charger and a 240-volt, 40-amp power source. The internal-combustion engine remains a V-6 of roughly identical output, but it’s a new, twin-turbo 2.9-liter design rather than the former supercharged 3.0-liter.