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Porsche Cayenne Coupé E-Hybrid and Panamera 4 E-Hybrid: The Plug-in Hybrid Porsches with Panache

Whilst in Bangkok, Thailand, we took an exclusive look at 2 of Porsche's PHEVs - the Panamera 4 E-Hybrid and Cayenne Coupé E-Hybrid
Joel Foo
Joel Foo
25 Jan 2023

It is hard to believe that both the Porsche Panamera and Cayenne have been with us for more than a decade. With the Cayenne recently celebrating its 20th birthday, Gerald (OneShift’s Content Developer resident in Thailand) and I couldn’t help but look back at Porsche’s journey in cementing itself as not just an engineering, sports car-focused brand, but also as a manufacturer of luxurious and dynamic go-anywhere performance vehicles as we trundled along the streets of Bangkok.

The Platinum Edition of the Panamera 4 E-Hybrid and Cayenne E-Hybrid encapsulate just that. With the centrepiece of the weekend being Das Treffen 7 (the 7th edition of Southeast Asia’s largest Porsche meet), it would have been hard to lay claim to the full ‘Porsche in Thailand’ experience without a sampling of the local roads – what more with 2 of these special edition models!

Setting off from Porsche Centre Bangkok which is situated in the Don Mueang district, our journey would take us up north through the Pathum Thani district before hitting the ancient capital of Ayutthaya.

Enroute to Ayutthaya, we made a quick stop at RWB (RAUH-Welt Begriff) Thailand, a “branch” of the well-known Japanese Porsche tuner, made famous by their wide-body 911 conversions.

Founded by Chin Kanitpong in 2011, RWB Thailand not only focuses on RWB wide-body projects, but also ground up, period correct restoration and modification work. It was certainly a treat to be graced by the ignition soundtrack of a rare and tastefully restored, short wheelbase version of the 911S (which happened to belong to Sihabutr “Tenn” Xoomsai, the founder of Das Treffen in Thailand), and outback-ready E1 (first generation) Cayennes, apart from the usual RWB 930 and 964 “wide boys”.

The first leg of our journey had us taking the wheel of the Cayenne E-Hybrid Coupé. Apart from an extended list of standard equipment, the Platinum Edition of this Cayenne has subtle yet stylish exterior and interior satin-finish Platinum accents applied throughout, which I think is sufficient for it to stand out amongst standard Cayennes.

Amongst the Bangkok traffic, our group of 3 Platinum Edition Porsches certainly shone, which hopefully made us more visible as we carefully found our way out of the labyrinth that is the urban traffic of Bangkok.

Despite being almost 5 meters long and 2 meters wide and weighing more than 2 tonnes, the Cayenne Coupé did not once feel cumbersome whilst weaving in and out of traffic, and dodging the pothole and road furniture-ridden streets.

In city traffic, we found ourselves switching to ‘EV’ mode more or less permanently, utilising the Cayenne Coupé’s 100kW electric motor to power us around. The (approximately) 50km of available range from this PHEV should prove more than sufficient in any traffic jam. Not to mention, we couldn’t help but feel a little smirk about doing our part for the environment, as we inched along emission free.

Even though this was the Coupé version of the Cayenne with a sloping rear roof and tailgate, outward visibility remained excellent – which is a particularly important feature when moving through Bangkok city centre.

I’d highly recommend making a mental note to check one’s blind spot even for the slightest turn of the wheel when driving in downtown Bangkok. You don’t want to be surprised by the next Line Man motorcyclist who’s rushing to make his/ her next delivery on time!

Once out of the city, it was an almost straightforward highway run of about an hour to the ancient city of Ayutthaya. Being the former capital city of Thailand from 1350-1767, the UNESCO World Heritage Site is now littered with numerous ruins, a key indication of its prosperous past.

As a backdrop for a quick photoshoot before the swap to the Panamera 4 E-Hybrid, the ancient ruins, coupled with a warm sunset, provided a nice contrast to the modern machines we were in.

Once settled in, the Panamera immediately felt like a whole different machine. Not only do you sit lower, but also you feel a greater sense of sure-footedness, especially at speed. Of course, the Panamera 4 E-Hybrid houses the same hybrid system found in the Cayenne, which very seamlessly transitions between ICE and electric power.

Where the largest difference between the Panamera and Cayenne lies is in its transmission – the Cayenne beholds Porsche’s famously robust Tiptronic S gearbox (supposedly better for towing heavy loads), whilst the Panamera is equipped with the famed PDK dual-clutch transmission. With both cars having almost identical power numbers, shifts in the Panamera were buttery smooth, which I guess is more fit-for-purpose, as it was intended to be a grand tourer.

You also sit more snugly in its cockpit, which makes driving the Panamera feel more sports car-like. When asked by our fellow journalists why Gerald and I would choose to sit in the rear of the Panamera during our driver swaps, the answer was too obvious – ultimately, despite its sporty nature, the Panamera is also a very comfortable car to be driven in.

Between the two, if you’d ask me to pick one, purely as a lifestyle-driven decision, I’d personally take the Cayenne over the Panamera. Its versatility in going-anywhere matches the needs of an active lifestyle that requires practicality in lugging bicycles, pets or whatever that may require the usefulness of a lift-back tailgate and tall roofline. But of course, in an ideal world, to have both would be perfect as the grand touring capabilities afforded by the Panamera are too difficult to miss out on.

With the added plug-in charging-ability and a hybrid powertrain, the Cayenne and Panamera E-Hybrids make a good case for everyday use in our mix of open highways and city traffic in Singapore too. It is an option worth strong consideration, if either of these Porsches were on the cards – what more these Platinum Edition models which have certainly been ‘elegantly electrified’.

Prices for the Porsche Cayenne E-Hybrid Coupé Platinum Edition start from SGD 432,988, and from SGD 480,988 for the Panamera 4 E-Hybrid Platinum Edition without COE.

Photos by Horizon Drivers' Club and Gerald Yuen


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