Panamera’s electric punch

Four-door Porsche to receive pair of line-topping hybrids

JOHN CAREY

PORSCHE will use 918 Spyderstyle plug-in hybrid technology to create not one but two models to top the second-generation Panamera line-up.

“Very soon there will be two performance-oriented plug-in hybrid versions,” said Porsche CEO Oliver Blume at the official unveiling of the new Panamera in Berlin on June 28.

“You see the Panamera, and you see the 918,” powertrain chief Jörg Kerner told Wheels, “and at the end you can see what’s the right way for Porsche.”

But why does Porsche need two? “We don’t want to talk too much about the hybrid cars for the future,” Kerner said. “But we think, in our strategy, we need both. You will see it, and then you can understand why we have both.”

The pair of plug-ins will be potent, as they’ll add to already impressive internal combustion outputs. At launch, the new Panamera will introduce three new engines for Porsche.

Most important are a pair of petrol-burners, both twinturbocharged hot-vee designs.

The new 324kW 2.9-litre V6 of the Panamera 4S and the 404kW 4.0-litre V8 of the Panamera Turbo are the product of a five-year collaboration between Porsche and Audi. The program is called KoVoMo. This stands for Konzern Vee Otto Motoren, which basically means ‘petrol vee engine group’.

The engines have much in common; 93mm bore spacings, 90-degree vee angle, and readiness for hybrid applications.

“We are completely responsible for the V8, for the 4.0-litre engine,” said Kerner, who moved to Porsche from Audi in 2011.

Audi led the V6 side of the program, but Porsche has the freedom to tailor a package that suits its needs. “The (3.0-litre) V6 at Audi is the base model,” Kerner pointed out. “It is only 340 horsepower (260kW), it’s only single turbocharger.”

Porsche’s 2.9-litre V6 has twin turbochargers, a fraction less capacity, slightly different engine block, a higher compression ratio and is much more powerful.

So how many more KoVoMo engines are in the pipeline?

“More than three,” is all the cagey Kerner would reveal.

New Panamera exterior

New Panamera is longer than before, but width and height are similar. A wheelbase stretched 30mm and more swoop to the rear roofline contribute to a big improvement in proportions and overall looks. The car is due here in the first quarter of 2017. All come with a new eight-speed double-clutch gearbox. Allwheel- drive, air suspension, electronically controlled dampers and adaptive cruise control will all be standard in Australia.

Panamera prices will be: 4S $304,200; 4S Diesel $312,100; Turbo $376,900.

New Panamera interior

Interior look is much cleaner than the original Panamera launched in 2009. Volkswagen Group stablemate Audi seems to have provided both inspiration and technology. Big analogue tachometer is the centrepiece of the instrument display, but it’s flanked by a pair of 7.0-inch displays with functions similar to Audi’s Virtual Cockpit. Menus on the big 12.3-inch central touchscreen dramatically reduce the need for physical buttons.