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Panamera 4 E-Hybrid Sports Turismo 2018 Road Test

Fast, efficient and luxurious, the Panamera 4 E-Hybrid Sports Turismo is the luxo-barge that promises all things to all people. However, while this Porsche estate is an accomplished family wagon for the well-heeled, it lacks the fun and involvement of its petrol-powered rivals.

The Panamera 4 E-Hybrid Sports Turismo has some impressive numbers. The most obvious being the £83,288 price tag. For that considerable sum you get a 462PS 2.3 tonne family estate that’s capable of covering 0-62mph in 4.6 seconds and a top speed of 170mph. What’s more, being a hybrid, the V6 biturbo petrol engine is coupled to an electric motor to deliver 700Nm of torque from 1100rpm. This is a monstrously fast car. 

Unlike your run-of-the-mill hybrid, Porsche has designed the E-Hybrid powertrain with performance in mind, rather than company car tax rates. CO2 is low - at just 58g/km - but everything has been sharpened for speed. Even in pure electric mode, the Panamera will comfortably exceed 80mph. 

That emphasis on performance shines through on the road with boundless acceleration. Yet, despite packing the sort of performance figures that would have the Max Power generation foaming at the mouth, the powertrain is smooth, predictable and whispery quiet. The ride is comfortable too, with all E-Hybrid models getting air suspension as standard. This means potholes and speed bumps are covered with a reassuringly suppressed thud.

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The 3.0-litre V6 petrol engine and electric motor work in harmony, with no annoying judders or jolts as the powertrains switch or combine forces. But the eight-speed PDK gearbox is prone to the odd bout of befuddlement that manifest as unnecessary up and downshifts at around the 40-50mph marker. 

There’s no shortage of choice when it comes to driving modes to preserve the battery for low emission zones or maximise regeneration on the motorway. Most drivers will stick with the auto hybrid mode though, with the system using the battery to maximise economy or performance, depending on your mood. 

Turn the steering wheel mounted dial into Sport+ and the engine and exhaust system livens up with sharper responses and the familiar Porsche soundtrack. With power delivered to all-four-wheel, the Panamera is an easy car to push hard on a straight bit of road, but its 2.3 tonne kerb weight will force the car wide as you attempt to carry speed around challenge bends. The steering is also a little on the light side, which makes it difficult to really define the utmost limitations of the handling.

Ironically, for such a powerful car, it’s at the low speeds where the hybrid powertrain shines brightest. The smooth electric motor and light steering makes it effortless to guide the Panamera through congestion or narrow urban streets. Parking is also easy, thanks to the abundance of cameras and sensors. Indeed, for city-based drivers, who will seldom exceed 31 miles in any given day, the Panamera is in a class of its own when it comes to refinement, luxury and comfort.

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Indeed, the cabin is built to an exceptionally high standard and the mixture of traditional buttons, chrome switches and digital screens give the interior a familiar yet futuristic feel. The dashboard is dominated by a 12-inch screen that’s easy to use, with large icons and quick screen changes. Both experienced and new drivers will find it easy to feel at home here.

Unfortunately the Panamera isn’t as practical as some of its rivals. This is acknowledged by Porsche with its admission that the Sports Turismo is a '4+1 seat concept'. In other words, it’s a four seater, with the middle rear seat compromised by the large centre stack that reduces legroom to near zero. That said, there’s plenty of headroom for two adults to fit comfortably, but the 425-litre boot feels disappointingly small for a car of this size. In comparison the RS6 provides 565 litres, while the E63 AMG version of the E-Class Estate has 540.

There is also a serious question mark over Porsche's advertised 108.6mpg fuel economy. Research by has found that just one in 39 plug-in hybrids will match their official figures. What's more, with a new fuel economy test on the way, carmakers are in the process of halting plug-in hybrid orders. The Panamera 4 E-Hybrid Sports Turismo will undoubtedly follow in the coming weeks and we suspect that its WLTP rating will be considerably lower than 108mpg.

While it doesn’t make a compelling case for itself against the faster and more practical Audi RS6 and Mercedes-Benz E-Class E63 AMG, the Panamera Sports Turismo has lots to offer. Better looking, more luxurious and more exclusive than its rivals, the Porsche fulfils its grand tourer duties with much more conviction that either the Audi or Mercedes-Benz. In our view, the Porsche is a worthy contender to the ultimate family bahnstormer. 

The Panamera 4 E-Hybrid Sports Turismo is on sale now.

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