2012 Porsche Panamera S Hybrid Performance
This performance review was written when the 2012 Porsche Panamera S Hybrid was new.
Hybrid versions of super luxury cars often use their electric motors to achieve different results. Competitors like the BMW ActiveHybrid 7i and the Lexus LS 600h use their electric motors for a power boost and a slight gain in fuel economy, while the Mercedes S-Class Hybrid sacrifices power for gas mileage. While fuel economy estimates from the EPA are not yet available, the 2012 Panamera S Hybrid promises better fuel economy with performance nearly as good as the non-hybrid Porsche Panamera S.
So far, reviewers have been impressed with the results. They generally rave about the S Hybrid’s handling, which remains excellent despite a 500-pound weight gain over the base Panamera, and most agree that the transitions between electric and gas power are remarkably smooth. On the downside, some test drivers say that the S Hybrid’s throttle response isn’t as instantaneous as it is in non-hybrid Porsches.
- "It might be quiet, but the Panamera S hybrid, which goes on sale in the United States this fall, posts ostentatious statistics: It will accelerate tranquilly and with zero emissions up to 43 mph, and at $95,975 (including destination), it will cost $5200 more than the V-8-powered Panamera S. But at roughly 5.5 seconds to 60 mph, it’s nearly as fast as the V-8 car, and with an estimated EPA combined fuel-economy rating of 25 mpg, it will be stingier at the pump than the V-6-powered Panamera." -- Car and Driver
- "Calling for maximum thrust also highlights the comparative lack of refinement. The Panamera might have a quartet of extravagant tailpipes, but the Hybrid lacks the acoustic charm of both the V8 and Porsche's own V6. It sounds strained under full load, denying the Hybrid the sonorous soundtrack that has always been a core component of the Porsche DNA." -- Edmunds
- "The Panamera can effectively coast on electric power alone (typically on a slight downward grade) with the combustion engine shut off and decoupled from the driveshaft so as not to impart mechanical drag, at speeds just over the century mark. Just as impressive is the virtually seamless engagement and disengagement of the combustion engine and electric motor, resulting in neither shudder nor hiccup." -- Motor Trend
- "The Panamera outperforms expectations, hybrid or not. With a base weight of 4436 pounds, a 195-inch length and 76-inch width, it's a big boy, and even in hybrid form it feels more powerful than it should be, like a car fighting far below its weight class." -- Popular Mechanics
- "It might be slightly compromised over its V6 and V8 brethren, but the overall demeanor and driving experience comes through as pure Porsche: highly involved, remarkably well executed and drawing a bead on evolving the hybrid equation into more than just a lackluster, fuel-sipping conveyance for the environmentally conscious." -- Autoblog
Acceleration and Power
The Panamera S Hybrid’s powertrain is identical to that found in the Porsche Cayenne Hybrid. Under the hood, a 47-horsepower electric motor and a 333-horsepower supercharged 3.0-liter V6 give the S Hybrid a combined output of 380 horsepower. The engine and motor are mated to an eight-speed Tiptronic S automatic transmission with manual mode that transmits power to the rear wheels.
The Panamera S Hybrid features three selectable drive modes: E-Power, Normal and E-Boost. Porsche says that E-Power mode maximizes use of the electric motor, reducing fuel consumption and allowing the Panamera S Hybrid to accelerate for short distances on electric power alone. E-Boost, on the other hand, offers sportier acceleration by using the electric motor with the gas engine to provide maximum thrust.
Porsche says that the combination is good for a top speed of 167 mph, and that the Panamera S Hybrid will accelerate from zero to 60 mph in 5.7 seconds. Compared with the non-hybrid Panamera S, the S Hybrid is 0.5 seconds slower from zero to 60 mph, but reviewers are generally pleased with the S Hybrid’s powertrain. Most say that there’s plenty of power and that the transmission provides quick, refined shifts. Still, a couple reviewers note that throttle response isn’t as instantaneous as it is in the base Panamera.
The EPA has yet to post fuel economy estimates for the 2012 Porsche Panamera S Hybrid. However, the S Hybrid should post good numbers within the super luxury car class. The V6-powered Panamera was one of the most efficient super luxury cars of 2011, with fuel economy ratings of 18 mpg in the city and 27 mpg on the highway.
- "Perhaps the biggest surprise was how well the powertrain performed. There is no lack of power from the engine, and the transition from gasoline to E Power mode is smooth as silk; in fact, it didn’t feel or drive anything like a hybrid vehicle, and that’s exactly what Porsche was going for." -- Automobile Magazine
- "Overdrive seventh and eighth gears keep the revs below 2000 rpm at highway speeds. Even then, the hybrid Panamera never feels underpowered, thanks to the 428 pound-feet of maximum torque available." -- Car and Driver
- "Gone, too, is the rapier-like throttle response. Prod the throttle and there's a pregnant pause while the computers decide which of the systems to deploy. The near-telepathic relationship between right foot and response that you find in a 911 or even a standard Panamera is lacking here. The Tiptronic transmission is also less engaging than the double-clutch systems found in other Panameras, and the gearing is exceptionally long." -- Edmunds
- "We also liked the gearbox, with reasonably quick, smooth auto shifts; this despite Porsche's steering-wheel-mounted shifters, which provide the tactile feel of a computer's power button and operate in a counterintuitive up/down fashion." -- Motor Trend
- "In normal mode, the car first accelerates with the electric motor only. When requests for acceleration exceed the electric motor's output, the gas engine fires and the computer increases engine rpm to match the road speed. The transition takes maybe a quarter-second too long and feels like an extra shift point." -- Popular Mechanics
- "The eight-speed transmission is quicker and more refined than nearly anything else out of Germany or Japan." -- Autoblog
Handling and Braking
An adaptive air suspension comes as standard equipment on the S Hybrid, a feature that costs nearly $2,000 on the non-hybrid Panamera S. This suspension system features Comfort, Sport and Sport Plus modes which allow the driver to adjust the suspension’s driving stability or comfort based on their preferences.
- "When we tested the Cayenne S Hybrid we reported an awkward, jolting transition between regenerative and friction braking. In the Panamera, though, this problem seems to have been largely overcome." -- Edmunds
- "Supple enough to be comfortable, but feeling tight as a drum in transitions, the Panamera continues to show that four doors need not be boring." -- Motor Trend
- "Around a corner it's gloriously flat and its front wheels provide plenty of warning before any understeer kicks in." -- Popular Mechanics
- "The electrically-assisted, speed-sensitive steering takes the prize for directness and communication, while the brakes, which come on abruptly during the first 1/4 inch of travel, smooth out to provide linear, fade-free deceleration with the slightest hint of regen." -- Autoblog
- "On our mountain drive deep within the Bavarian Alps, the Panamera S Hybrid possessed great poise with just a touch of understeer when pushed hard. The electrically-assisted steering is perfectly weighted and helps make the big-bodied Panamera feel smaller than it really is." -- Automobile Magazine