Porsche has already assuaged many of its detractors with the more cohesive styling it's lent to the new Panamera, not to mention the big leaps in performance and technology. Now the luxury sedan family will get a fourth model, the 2018 Porsche Panamera 4 E-Hybrid, to succeed the outgoing Panamera S E-Hybrid. This hybrid Panamera will debut at the Paris auto show boasting improved performance, electric range, and all-wheel drive.
The old Panamera S E-Hybrid was far from Porsche's best effort. On paper, it looks like most of its shortcomings will be addressed with the new 4 E-Hybrid. For one, the new version gets Porsche's 2.9-liter, twin-turbo V-6 making 330 hp and 332 lb-ft of torque, which pairs with a new electric motor making 136 hp and 295 lb-ft. Total system output rings in at 462 hp and 516 lb-ft, sent to all four wheels via Porsche's famously smooth eight-speed PDK dual-clutch automatic transmission. The Panamera 4 E-Hybrid will lay down sprints from 0-60 mph in about 4.5 seconds, on to a 173 mph top speed. All trims come standard with air suspension.
For comparison, the old S E-Hybrid used a supercharged 3.0-liter V-6 and an electric motor for total output of 333 hp and 325 lb-ft of torque that was sent to the rear wheels using an eight-speed torque-converter automatic. It hit 60 mph in 5.2 seconds and topped out at 167 mph.
Most notably, Porsche says the new hybrid Panamera drives substantially more smoothly when transitioning between electric and engine-driven power delivery. The secret, aside from the new transmission, is a new engine decoupler that is actuated using an electric clutch rather than an electro-hydraulic mechanism, as in the last generation. This clunky system was perhaps the biggest weakness ofthe old Panamera hybrid.
Electric range is improved on the Porsche Panamera 4 E-Hybrid from 22 miles up to 31 miles. It uses a new liquid-cooled lithium-ion battery that's up to 14.1 kWh from 9.4 kWh, without any weight gain. A full charge can be achieved in 5.8 hours using a 230-volt 10-A connector, but that can be cut down to 3.6 hours if you use the on-board 7.2-kW charger with a 32-A connection.
Inside, the Panamera's two-screen display system shows digital data readouts for electrical energy being used and recovered, remaining electric range, and a "boost assistant." In addition to Sport and Sport Plus modes for top performance, there are various hybrid-specific modes form the 4 E-Hybrid. E-Power is the all-electric mode, while Hybrid Auto lets the car sort out for you how to best balance efficiency and performance. E-Hold maintains the current level of electric charge, and finally E-Charge helps restore electric charge.
Following its debut in Paris, the Porsche Panamera 4 E-Hybrid will go on sale probably by the second quarter of 2017. Pricing won't be available for U.S. models, but expect something in the neighborhood of $100,000 to start.