Porsche Panamera S Hybrid Review
Electric dreams

Story by Raymond Lai Photos by Yang and Raymond Lai
27 Oct 2011

With the Panamera S Hybrid, there are now two hybrid models in the Porsche range. Is a hybrid Panamera a hybrid too far?

Introduction, styling

During my test drive of the Panamera S Hybrid, a gentleman came up to me and asked, “What’s so hybrid about it?”. Well, obviously Porsche and hybrid don’t mix in the eyes of the general public.

Let’s just face it. Times have changed and Porsche no longer makes just 911s and sports cars.  It all started with the Cayenne in 2002 and in 2009, the Stuttgart brand introduced the Panamera four-door saloon on the back of the success of the former. To further make the Cayenne more environmentally sustainable in the modern world, a hybrid version was introduced last year with the launch of the second-generation Cayenne. Now, Porsche has introduced a hybrid version of the Panamera – the Panamera S Hybrid. The new model adds variety to the Panamera range which now encompasses the Panamera, Panamera 4, Panamera S, Panamera 4S, Panamera Turbo, Panamera Turbo S as well as the new S hybrid and the upcoming diesel. The Panamera S Hybrid sits between the base 300bhp 3.6-litre V6 and the 400bhp 4.8-litre V8 Panamera S in the Panamera range.

The Panamera’s styling has divided opinions ever since it made its world debut at the Shanghai Motorshow in April 2009. Just like the Cayenne, it seemed that Porsche’s designers simply recycled design elements from a 911 onto a larger vehicle, a five-door luxury limo in  the Panamera’s case. While the Cayenne has the typical two-box profile of a large SUV, the Panamera goes one further by having a silhouette that tries to ape a 911’s, which means it has a sloping hatch at the rear rather than a regular boot line like on a traditional luxury limo. This makes the Panamera look heavy and clumsy from certain angles and its overall design not cohesive or well proportioned. It looks OK enough when viewed directly from the front or rear but it looks just awkward when seen from the flanks or the rear three-quarter. But then again I’d have to say that it offers road presence its closest rivals like the BMW 7 Series and Audi A8 can’t.

The hybrid variant can be differentiated on the outside from other Panamera models by the ‘hybrid’ badges on the front doors and boot lid as well as by its 19-inch five-spoke ‘Panemera Design’ wheels. The wheels definitely fill the Panamera’s generously sized wheel arches better than the 18s on lesser V6 models but fitting the Panamera with even bigger optional 20s or 21s as well as the Tequipment styling kit will definitely improve its stance and gives it a properly purposeful look.

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