2018 Porsche Panamera 4 E-Hybrid: first drive review

In the plug-in hybrid game, you move forward or get left behind. When the hybrid maker is Porsche, that applies to power as well as efficiency.

The 2018 Porsche Panamera 4 E-Hybrid is the replacement for the previous Panamera S E-Hybrid, and it gets more power, performance, and efficiency in a brand-new vehicle.

Everything about this car is new. In fact, Porsche says, the only things that carry over are the idea of a sport sedan, the name, and the Porsche badge.

DON’T MISS: 2014 Porsche Panamera S E-Hybrid: Gas Mileage Review (Apr 2014)

The car is based on the Volkswagen Group’s new MSB modular platform, which can accommodate three wheelbases.

Porsche employs a multi-material approach that includes aluminum and high-strength Boron steel to produce a body that is 144 pounds lighter with 8 percent more torsional stiffness.

Enough about the platform, and on to the hybrid components. They start with a new Porsche-developed twin-turbocharged 2.9-liter V-6 that replaces an Audi-sourced 3.0-liter supercharged V-6.

Power is similar: it produces 330 horsepower and 331 pound-feet of torque, while the last engine made 333 hp and 325 lb-ft of torque.

2018 Porsche Panamera 4 E-Hybrid motor and transmission

2018 Porsche Panamera 4 E-Hybrid motor and transmission

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The electric motor increases from 70 kilowatts (95 hp) and 229 lb-ft of torque to 100 kw (136 hp) and 295 lb-ft, and it moves from between the engine and transmission to inside an all-new 8-speed dual-clutch transmission (or PDK in Porsche speak). That transmission replaces an 8-speed automatic.

Total it all up and system output increases from 416 hp and 435 lb-ft of torque to 462 hp and 516 lb-ft of torque.

The motor can power the car by itself, or aid the engine. It is powered by a larger lithium-ion battery that is located in the trunk.

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At 14.1 kilowatt-hours, the battery is 50 percent larger than the 9.4-kwh pack it replaces, though it takes up no more space than the old one.

Porsche says the Panamera 4 E-Hybrid can drive for 50 kilometers (31 miles) on electricity alone on the New European Driving Cycle. U.S. testing procedures are more stringent, so its EPA ratings won’t be that high.

However, if it goes half again as far as the 15-mile range of the S E-Hybrid, it would deliver 22 or 23 miles of rated electric range.

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