Porsche Panamera S E-Hybrid 3.0: Hi-Tech Hidden Power

It is not common for higher-end speed marques like Porsche and Ferrari to come up with a family-friendly car. And it’s with no surprise that when the Porsche Panamera was first unveiled in 2010, it raised a lot of eyebrows in the industry. After all, what was Porsche thinking, coming up with a four-door, four-seater luxury sedan?

Sixteen years since its introduction and to get in the game of saving the environment, Stuttgart has now facelift the Panamera. What’s more, they’ve decided to throw in a heap of fanciful technology, add on a humongous battery pack, in order to wow the tech-savvy luxury sports car driver.

And there you have it, the Porsche Panamera S E-Hybrid.

Slightly better looks

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Compared to its predecessor, the current generation Panamera looks significantly sleeker and more precise. Gone are the rounded edges of the old four-door Porsche sedan, the car now offers a sharper front with reworked headlights, as well as a facelifted rear.

On first glance, we wouldn’t fault you if you were unable to differentiate this from its normal Panamera brother. The S E-Hybrid bears very subtle markings, namely the “Acid Green” trimmings, an e-Hybrid badge by the fender, and green brake calipers (which we really do not fancy).

Sufficient space for passengers but not so much for luggage

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The S E-Hybrid sits four comfortably and luxuriously. As per all luxury cars, the interior is wrapped in posh leather, with top notch finishing and stitches that are evidently present only on higher end continental cars.

We’ve said this before, and we will say this again – Porsche’s interior controls are quite a mess to begin with. No doubt it resembles a fighter jet’s cockpit with the many many controls, but it does prove confusing especially for first-time Porsche drivers, or if you’re cruising at the century mark and say, want to adjust the drive mode.

But we were amazed at how specific Stuttgart wanted their controls to be. From the likes of rear passenger temperature control to steering feel, almost every single function of the car is readily available on that massive control panel in the center.

And if you somehow forgot that the Panamera you’re cruising in is a hybrid, the (not as aesthetically appealing) green trims and needles around the instrument cluster somehow makes it a point to tell you: “please save the environment and go electric”.

Unfortunately, the rear of the S E-Hybrid offers much lesser space for luggage as compared to the rest in its class. No thanks to the battery, you lose up to 110 litres of boot space, and will be only left with 335 litres. Sufficient for a (smaller)golf bag, and that’s about it.

Looks can be deceiving, it ain’t as slow as you think

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Weighing close to 2,100 kg, you wouldn’t expect the S E-Hybrid to be fast, but boy did it exceed our expectations. The car brought us to the century mark in short of 5.8 seconds, remarkably faster than any other hybrids we’ve tried.

With a full charge, the S E-Hybrid managed an impressive 20 km driving on electric mode. But combine it with its petrol plant and the car demonstrates a responsiveness and handling ability similar to the rest in its family line.

After all, with a total of 333 horses and 440 Nm of torque coming from the petrol module, as well as 416 horses and 590 Nm of torque from the electric cell, it’s no wonder that we were impressed by the pick up and performance of this petrol-hybrid mix.

Mated to the one and only eight-speed Tiptronic transmission, the S E-Hybrid flies through the gears seamlessly as the speedo climbs. It’s also amazing to note the smooth transition between the electric module and the petrol plant, discounting a slight growl that signals the start of fuel-drinking.

But is it that worth it?

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With the sums adding up, it might feel a little difficult to part with around half a million in cash for the S E-Hybrid. It provides the best of both worlds for environmentalists seeking that luxury yet powerful drive.

Compared to the rest in its class, the S E-Hybrid felt a little laggy – perhaps due to the additional battery cell and its massively heavy body (no thanks to all the numerous technology present).

But for those who can accept this small little shortcoming, the Panamera S E-Hybrid presents itself as an ideal choice for the  family man yearning for that impressive range of technology, luxury and sportiness.

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