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Geneva show: Hybrid for Porsche Panamera

Hybrid Panamera: Porsche's hybrid four-door GT will debut at Geneva.

Panamera S Hybrid details divulged as Porsche continues to evolve its four-door GT

17 Feb 2011

PORSCHE has announced full European pricing and specification details for its second petrol-electric model, the Panamera S Hybrid, which makes its global debut at the Geneva motor show on March 1 before hitting Australian showrooms in August.

As expected, the headline number is not the German pricetag of €106,185, which sees the hybrid Panamera carry a similar price premium over the V8-powered Panamera S as the Cayenne S Hybrid does over the V8 Cayenne S, but combined NEDC fuel consumption of just 6.8L/100km and CO2 emissions of only 159g/km.

That makes the Panamera S Hybrid the most fuel-efficient Porsche ever - better even than the Boxster, Cayman and Cayenne hybrid (8.2L/100km) – as well as the most economical car in an upper-luxury class that includes diesel-powered sporting luxury saloons likes of the Mercedes-Benz CLS and S-class, Audi A7 and A8, BMW 6 and 7 Series, and Maserati Quattroporte.

In Australia, however, the hybrid Panamera’s small car-like fuel consumption would also qualify it for a sub-7.0L/100km luxury car tax exemption for the first $75,000 rather than the regular LCT threshold of about $58,000, potentially making the electrified Panamera a relative bargain.

The catch is that the hybrid Panamera’s outstanding 6.8L/100km consumption figure is applicable only to European models fitted with optional low rolling resistance all-season 19-inch tyres developed specifically for the Panamera S Hybrid by Michelin.

Without the fuel-saving tyres, the Panamera S Hybrid is still more efficient than most mid-sized cars except Toyota’s Camry Hybrid at 7.1L/100km and 167g/km.

25 center imageFrom top: Panamera S Hybrid, Bosxter EV concept and 918 RSR.

Porsche Cars Australia is yet to ascertain if Australian Design Rule requirements will allow the more economical Michelins to be fitted as standard here.

If not, the 7.0L/100km-plus consumption figure will see the Panamera S Hybrid cost $298,300 in Australia, representing an $18,500 price premium over the V8-powered Panamera S ($279,800) and a $6200 hike over the all-wheel-drive Panamera 4S ($292,100).

However, PCA told GoAuto it was 95 per cent sure it would be able to offer the fuel-saving tyres as standard, thereby saving customers the federal government's 33 per cent LCT slug for an extra $17,000.

That would make the Panamera hybrid about $6000 cheaper than expected at around the same price of the AWD Panamera 4S, representing a $12,300 premium over the rear-drive Panamera on which it is based.

Either way, Panamera S Hybrid buyers who opt for larger but less fuel-efficient 20-inch tyres will almos certainly be slugged the full LCT rate.

"We are investigating whether or not the optional Michelin tyre can be made standard on our model in Australia, where it would need to meet ADR requirement," said PCA spokesman Paul Ellis.

Like all Panameras in Australia, the S Hybrid will come standard with air suspension, which until now has been standard only on the range-topping Turbo in Europe, as well as PASM adaptive damping technology.

Currently, at $160,800, the Cayenne S Hybrid – with which the petrol-electric Panamera shares its full parallel hybrid drive system – commands a $12,100 premium over the Cayenne S ($148,700).

As with the hybrid Cayenne, the hybrid Panamera falls between the S-badged model and the top-shelf Panamera Turbo ($372,200) in terms of price as well as performance, with a rapid 0-100km/h acceleration time of just six seconds and a top speed of 270km/h.

Like the electrified Cayenne, the Panamera hybrid – first details of which were announced as early as January 2008 – is motivated primarily by an Audi-sourced supercharged 245kW 3.0-litre petrol V6, which is completely different to the 3.6-litre Porsche-developed V6 that powers the base Panamera but related to the 3.6-litre VW V6 that powers the entry-level Cayenne.

Again matched with a 34kW electric motor, the Panamera delivers the same 279kW and 580Nm of total power and torque output respectively, making less powerful but more muscular than the 294kW/500Nm 4.8-litre V8 found in the S-badged Panamera and Cayenne.

While the motor doubles as the starter/generator and is packaged alongside a clutch, allowing either petrol or electric power to provide drive, a nickel metal hydride (NiMh) battery can store enough charge to propel the S hybrid purely by electric drive for about 2km at speeds of up to 85km/h.

Like the all-wheel-drive Cayenne hybrid, the rear-drive Panamera hybrid – which also runs the same eight-speed automatic transmission as petrol-only models – is capable of “sailing”, whereby the petrol engine shuts down when not required at speeds of up to 165km/h (156km/h in the SUV).

The S Hybrid emerges as the sixth variant in the four-door Panamera range, which late last year became available with an optional power-up kit for the top-shelf Turbo, but it will not be the last.

Porsche’s fourth model line and first sedan has now attracted almost 30,000 global sales in the 15 months it has been on sale – easily exceeding Porsche’s original annual sales target of 20,000 and allowing the Panamera to claim a 13 per cent slice of the upper and luxury vehicle segments.

European reports have quoted Porsche insiders as saying that due to global demand for the existing model range further Panamera derivatives – such as a two-door coupe and convertible versions – have been put on hold until the next-generation Panamera, the platform of which could be shared with future models from Audi, Bentley and even Bugatti now that Porsche has been charged with the development of all large cars within the Volkswagen group.

In the short-term, expect long-wheelbase and diesel versions of the Panamera to emerge this year – the latter potentially offering even lower fuel consumption than the hybrid – while GoAuto has learned a twin-turbocharged version of the Panamera’s Porsche V6 eventually will replace the grand tourer’s naturally aspirated V8 option.

Alongside the Panamera hybrid’s world debut at Geneva, Porsche will stage European debuts of the limited-edition 243kW Cayman R, which arrives here next month priced at $165,000, from November’s Los Angeles show, as well as Black Edition versions of the 911 and Boxster, which are due in local showrooms in April.

Also at Geneva, Porsche again will display the 918 RSR hybrid racecar concept from last month’s Detroit show.

A senior Porsche executive has been quoted as saying that, contrary to speculation, the mid-engined fixed-rood 918 RSR coupe racer – which combines the design of the plug-in 918 Spyder seen previously with the technology of the 911 GT3 R Hybrid racecar – does not preview the production version of the 918, which will remain a topless roadster – like the flagship Carrera GT it will effectively (and belatedly) replace by around 2013.

Before then, Porsche is expected to debut its all-new 991-series 911 at this year’s Frankfurt motor show in September, before releasing it globally in early 2012, while a redesigned Boxster is due to appear by the end of this year.

Porsche this week commenced official trials of three all-electric ‘Boxster E’ models in Germany, and the technology inside each “mobile laboratory” (including a 29kWh battery pack and a pair of electric motors) could become available to the public within the lifespan of the new Boxster.

As if that is not enough, as part of Volkswagen’s ownership of Porsche, the German sportscar maker has also confirmed it is developing an all-new sub-Cayenne compact SUV, which is based on Audi’s Q5 architecture and could wear ‘Cajun’ badges.

Also sharing its basis with another VW Group model – this time Volkswagen’s mid-engined BlueSport concept – will be a sub Boxster/Cayman sportscar, which is likely to be powered by an all-new turbocharged four-cylinder boxer engine that could eventually find its way under the bonnet of the new 981-series Cayman and Boxster.

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