2012 Porsche Panamera S Hybrid Review
The 2012 Porsche Panamera S Hybrid wows test drivers with its slick hybrid powertrain and nimble handling. However, like the non-hybrid Panamera, this Porsche still falls short with divisive exterior styling.
Reviewers say that there’s a lot to look forward to when the 2012 Porsche Panamera S Hybrid hits dealerships this fall. The Panamera S Hybrid features the same powertrain that’s in the Porsche Cayenne Hybrid, and although shoppers may fear that these eco-friendly Porsches may lack performance, test drivers say that there’s little to worry about. Automobile Magazine says, “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.”
A handful of reviewers critique the Panamera S Hybrid, saying it lacks the responsiveness of the non-hybrid Panamera. However, most are happy with the Porsche’s 380-horsepower hybrid powertrain. Additionally, nearly all who drive it are floored by its nimble handling.
The Panamera S Hybrid sports basically the same interior as its gas-only siblings. Subtle hints to the S Hybrid’s greenness include an E-Power gauge, which display’s the hybrid’s battery charge, as well as an Engine Off display that shows how much driving has been done solely on electric power.
In many ways, the Panamera S Hybrid’s biggest detractor is probably one that it shares with its non-hybrid sibling: its polarizing exterior design. While the Panamera almost always pleases reviewers with its comfortable, luxurious interior, some still say that these super luxury cars have a face that only a mother could love.
Other Cars to Consider
If you’ve got a little extra cash to spend, and would like a super luxury hybrid that’s even more powerful, the BMW ActiveHybrid 750i might be worth test driving. Starting at $97,000, the ActiveHybrid 7-Series costs $2,000 more than the Panamera S Hybrid, but with 75 additional horsepower on tap, BMW says that the ActiveHybrid 750i will sprint from zero to 60 mph in 4.7 seconds. That’s a full second quicker than Porsche’s claim of 5.7 seconds for the Panamera S Hybrid. On the downside, reviewers generally aren’t as impressed with the 7-Series’ interior, while the Panamera frequently garners praise for its attractive design and comfort.
That said, the Lexus LS 600h features an interior that’s just as opulent and comfortable as the Panamera S Hybrid, as well as all-wheel drive. However, the LS 600h isn’t nearly as agile, and with a base price of $112,250, it’s also roughly $17,250 more expensive. Still, the LS 600h’s 438-horsepower hybrid powertrain does offer impressive acceleration. Lexus claims that the LS Hybrid will go from zero to 60 mph in 5.5 seconds, making it slightly faster than the Panamera S Hybrid in a straight line.
Porsche Panamera S Hybrid: The Details
Starting at $95,000, the Panamera S Hybrid comes with standard interior features that include a power liftgate, rain-sensing wipers, rear park assist, cruise control, eight-way power heated front seats, Bluetooth and navigation. Notable options include ventilated front and rear seats, a Bose surround sound stereo and four-zone climate control.
To improve handling, Porsche includes an adaptive air suspension as standard equipment. This feature is nearly a $4,000 option on the base Panamera and almost $2,000 on the Panamera S.
- "This Panamera S hybrid might not post the big economy numbers of the Fisker Karma, and it certainly isn’t going to win any beauty contest against it. But the Porsche is a highly impressive, desirable sports sedan." -- Car and Driver
- "Here is a Porsche that sacrifices its dynamic competence and aural pleasures in favor of fuel-efficiency gains that will only really be felt by urban dwellers. The result is a car that forever feels at war with itself." -- Edmunds
- "With a near-$96,000 base price, the Panamera S Hybrid doesn't come cheap. That price, in fact, is very close to the V-8-powered Panamera 4S with its all-wheel drive stability, 175-mph top speed and 4.2-second 0-60 mph sprint." -- Motor Trend
- "Its best trick is being an excellent luxury sports sedan and an excellent hybrid at the same time - something unseen until now." -- Popular Mechanics
- "Porsche is calling this the world's fastest production hybrid and the most economical Porker of all time. With a 0-60 mph time of 5.7 seconds and a top speed of 168 mph, Porsche nailed the numbers for quick and fast. But with a starting price of $95,000, the ‘economical’ claim is tough to swallow." -- Autoblog