2014 Porsche Panamera S E-Hybrid (3.0L V6 Supercharger Hybrid 8-speed Automatic)
The 2014 Porsche Panamera S E-hybrid is now a true plug-in hybrid that comes with a battery big enough for a rated 16 miles of EV driving before the engine comes to life. When it does there are 416 horsepower on tap, and it moves out quickly. Through it all this greener version gives away none of the ride and handling prowess that Panameras are known for.
PerformanceTogether the 3.0-liter supercharged V6 and electric motors conspire to produce a full 416 hoursepower. The Panamera's chassis is equally capable, with direct steering, flat cornering and impressive grip. Brakes are massively strong, but can be a little non-linear at low speed.
EV mode is extremely smooth, and the gasoline engine automatically kicks in when you floor it for a total of 416 horsepower. The result is 0 to 60 mph in 4.9 seconds. Part-throttle acceleration is generally most immediate in hybrid mode.
Powerful brakes (with distinctive green calipers) hauled our E-hybrid to rest from 60 mph in just 102 feet. Feel and modulation are impressively intuitive, except at mundane city speeds where the regenerative system can feel inconsistent.
Immediate and direct response when the wheel is turned, but it's not nervous when cruising straight. Reasonable effort buildup in normal mode can be ratcheted up in Sport and Sport Plus. Steering wheel rim itself feels a bit dainty, though.
Panameras exhibit impeccable poise on the tightest winding roads, flat cornering and the grip is tremendous. Our E-hybrid weighs 374 pounds more than a pure gasoline Panamera S, but it still impressed us with a nimble 70.1 mph slalom run.
Hybrid mode expertly blends gasoline engine and electric motors through the 8-speed automatic gearbox. EV mode is quite smooth, but it's not as seamless as pure electrics because 5 of the gears are used. EVS are usually direct drive.
ComfortEquipped with standard air suspension, the Panamera S E-hybrid is immensely good at covering miles without causing bother to its occupants. It's a very pleasant place to spend time. As a bonus, each day's dozen or so inital miles of electric driving are especially silent.
Numerous adjustments only serve to improve on the basic goodness of the front seats' default shape. Not exactly soft, the feel comes across as supportive rather than hard. Rear bucket seats equally good, with similar adjustability.
The Panamera E-hybrid comes standard with air suspension, and that's how this Panamera manages to filter out smaller pavement flaws and larger bumps alike while still imparting a sporty feel with good damping and minimal stray body motion.
Sleek shape does a fine job of quelling wind noise and the tight fitting doors with redundant seals keeps out road noise from below. Engine sound is intermittent as the battery status changes and the hybrid system toggles between modes.
InteriorEven outside you can tell that the styling limits access and visibility. Driving position is excellent and there's plenty of room inside, but only for four. Porsche's resident accordian player must've conceived the button-rich layout. Good cargo capacity, but a Tesla does eat it for lunch.
Driving position is outstanding, and the intuitive instrument panel includes a customizable gauge that can even display the navi route. But other controls surround the shifter in a mass of look-alike buttons, like an accordian.
Broad doors open wide, but the Panamera sits lower than some of the Grand Touring sedans it competes with. The roofline is especially low in back, where tall and not-so-tall folks need to duck more than usual.
Plenty of room, but the Panamera's broad tunnel makes it feel tighter than it is. This is especially true in the backseat, where an extension of the console bisects it into buckets. Styling makes rear doorside shoulder clearance cozy.
Easy to see out the front, but the hood slopes away and the Panamera is wider than you'd expect. Rear three-quarter view is compromised by the styling. Strongly suggest buying the front and rear parking sensors and reverse camera.
The Panamera E-hybrid loses a little trunk space because of batteries below but remains competitve with 11.8 cubic feet. Rear seats fold down in two parts to open as much as 40.7 cu. ft., and the hatchback design enables easy loading.
ValueThe 2014 Panamera E-hybrid is very well built and admirably frugal in gasoline hybrid mode. New plug-in capability gives it 16 miles of electric vehicle range per charge, which makes HOV lane access possible. But it is expensive, and the base car needs optioning up in true Porsche fashion.
Build Quality (vs. $)
The interior is exquisitely built from premium materials that ooze quality and are assembled with precision. Leaves the similarly-priced Tesla Model S at the starting gate, frankly. Exterior benefits from uniform small gaps and rich paint.
Porsche pricing strategy is built around a long list of optional items you'll want, leading you to check box after box and bulking up the cost. It's sort of like hotel internet access: free at Days Inn but $20 per night at The Ritz.
Surprisingly, its base price of $99,975 lands the Panamera S E-Hybrid plug-in hybrid below the midpoint of the Panamera range. Expect this to rise substantially, however, as the inevitable options are added on. Ours came in at $132,355.
Same 25 mpg Combined gasoline rating as last year, but the new 2014 plug-in E-hybrid now offers 16 miles of pure electric driving. We matched the EV range on our test loop and after that consumed gas at 26.6 mpg in the default hybrid mode.
Porsche's 4-year/50,000-mile basic warranty is reasonable, but that level of powertrain coverage seems so-so. At least the hybrid components are covered for 8 years/100,000 miles (15 years/150,000 miles in California-emissions states).
Now a plug-in hybrid, the 2014 may earn HOV lane access. Free roadside assistance lasts for 4 years/50,000 miles. Porsche doesn't provide free scheduled maintenance, but they'll happily let you pre-pay and bake it into the financing.
Fun To DriveThe 2014 Panamera S E-hybrid certainly has the performance and poise to be fun to drive. Its Porsche pedigree is more than just a badge. It's also very frugal, with a new plug-in E-hybrid mode that's sure to attract EV fans who can't quite commit to a fully electric car like the Tesla.
Excellent handling, the 3.0-liter supercharged V6 is stout, and yet it sips fuel. New EV mode offers 16 miles of electric car performance, and you can delay battery use if you want to impress a date. Low-speed brake feel is the only hiccup.
There's no doubt the Panamera is a distinctive vehicle with a certain road presence. And it is certainly a technically interesting machine. But the attention it garners isn't always positive. Expect equal helpings of cheers and jeers.
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