Porsche’s hybrid hi-po future

Panamera Turbo S shows electrons, not just horsepower, is the key to fl agship performance

TOBY HAGON

PORSCHE has announced the start of an ambitious 500kW-plus hybrid assault for its flagship four-door models.

The move to utilise electric motors and batteries to boost performance of a mainstream model is the first by a performance car maker, signalling a turning point for the industry as it adapts to tighter emissions regulations and regional requirements for short-range, electric-only driving.

Instead of using a modified V8 – as has been the case with Cayennes and Panameras for years – the Panamera Turbo S unveiled at this month’s Geneva motor show utilises a 100kW electric motor to create what will become the most powerful Porsche ever sold in Australia.

While the basic shape is identical to any other secondgeneration Panamera, the Turbo S flagship gets the trademark ‘acid green’ brake calipers and ‘eHybrid’ badges that distinguish the brand’s petrol-electric models.

The innovative modular hybrid system is configured within Porsche’s new eight-speed PDK automatic transmission filtering its way across the Panamera, Cayenne and Macan.

That hybrid setup is already in play in the Panamera E-Hybrid, where it boosts the output of the twin-turbo V6 from 243kW to 340kW, albeit adding about 300kg to the weight in the process, eroding some of that power benefit.

Mated to the new-generation 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 of the Panamera Turbo, it boosts power to about 500kW and torque to around 1000Nm – well up on the 404kW/770Nm of the regular Panamera Turbo that’s just gone on sale.

Given the component sharing across Porsche’s volume-selling SUVs – Macan and Cayenne – expect the hybrid setup to spread its way across the four-door lineup, with the next model likely to be the 2019 Cayenne.

While Porsche, Ferrari and McLaren have utilised electric motors and batteries in their most recent hypercars, the move to rely on electrons rather than unleaded is unprecedented in the mainstream performance market.

The Turbo S was unveiled alongside the Sport Turismo that expands the Panamera family with a unique wagon body style first previewed as the concept of the same name in 2012.

It shares its 5049mm length and 2950mm wheelbase with the regular Panamera but gets a ‘4 + 1’ seating layout whereby a temporary rear seat is added to the centre of the rear.

“The Panamera Sport Turismo is a step forwards into a new segment, but retains all of those values and attributes that are characteristic of Porsche,” says the company’s design director Michael Mauer.

ELECTRIC CHARGE

The next-generation Porsche Macan and Cayenne are highly likely to recieve the same hybrid flagship treatment as However, the Panamera. ever, don’t hold your breath for d 911 range-topper. Porsche Pan Howe a hybrid says battery tech will have to improve markedly before it employs electric motors on the 911. the current 991 911 is package protected for a hybrid system, the of batteries is deemed excessive.