Test Drive: 2012 Porsche Panamera S Hybrid car test drives reviews porsche luxury cars hybrids green scene green reviews
2012 Porsche Panamera S Hybrid. Click image to enlarge

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Review and photos by Peter Bleakney

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2012 Porsche Panamera S Hybrid

Darnit if the 2012 Porsche Panamera S Hybrid really works as advertised. After a few days of non-aggressive mixed driving (although I was hardly babying this four-door luxury hatchback), I’d covered 460 km and the tank was just under half full. I topped it up, did the calculations, and wow, the numbers didn’t lie: 9.2 L/100 km.

Lest you think the expected Porsche driving experience has been diluted to Prius-like flaccidity here in the name of fuel economy, let me present a few more numbers: 380 hp, 428 lb.-ft. and the 0-100 km/h dash completed in 6 seconds.

The 2012 Panamera S Hybrid, with a starting price of $108,700, is the most fuel-efficient vehicle in the Porsche stable. Officially rated at 8.6 L/100 km city and 6.8 L/100 km highway, it easily betters even the base Boxster.

Test Drive: 2012 Porsche Panamera S Hybrid car test drives reviews porsche luxury cars hybrids green scene green reviews
Test Drive: 2012 Porsche Panamera S Hybrid car test drives reviews porsche luxury cars hybrids green scene green reviews
Test Drive: 2012 Porsche Panamera S Hybrid car test drives reviews porsche luxury cars hybrids green scene green reviews
2012 Porsche Panamera S Hybrid. Click image to enlarge

Of course, those willing to spend an additional $5,500 over the price of the 400-hp rear-wheel-drive V8 Panamera S will not be doing so to save a few hundred bucks a year in gas. This car, as with most hybrids, will be a rolling statement for the buyer, a salve for the eco-conscious, and for some perhaps the only way to justify the purchase of Porsche’s four seat executive express.

I’m sure there are plenty of well-heeled folks out there who want to wave the green flag but aren’t ready to give up on the good things in life.

Unlike most other hybrid vehicles, Porsche asks for little in the way of compromise once behind the wheel. It feels pretty much like any other Panamera – swift, planted, firmly sprung, direct but slightly inert steering, and a driving position not that far from a 911. The slightly uneven regenerative braking is the only giveaway.

In the interest of lighter weight and reduced drive-train loss, the Panamera S Hybrid is rear-wheel-drive only. Still, it checks in at just under 2,000 kg, using essentially the same full hybrid system as the Porsche Cayenne Hybrid and VW Touareg Hybrid.

Underhood is an Audi-sourced direct-injected supercharged 3.0-litre V6 engine. Rated at 333 hp and 325 lb.-ft., it is paired with an eight-speed automatic Tiptronic transmission (not the twin-clutch PDK variety). Sandwiched between the two is a 46-hp electric motor that’s good for 221 lb.-ft. of torque.

A 1.7-kWh nickel-metal-hydride battery pack lives under the cargo floor. It doesn’t affect cargo space but you’ll be making do without the spare tire. A smaller lithium-ion pack is in the “Greenamera’s” future, which means the spare will return at some point.

The system’s unique bit of hardware is a hydraulic multi-plate clutch between the engine and electric motor that disengages the engine, enabling it to shut down under light loads.




About Peter

Peter Bleakney is a Toronto-based automotive journalist. He is also a member of the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC).