The flagship Panamera Sport Turismo model is a sports car, luxurious estate and high-tech hybrid all rolled into one.
PORSCHE DRIVE PANAMERA TURBO S E-HYBRID SPORT TURISMO
With 680hp and 850Nm, and equipped with optional rear-wheelsteering, you wouldn’t think that this plugin petrolelectric estate weighs over 2.3 tonnes.
AT last count, the secondgeneration Porsche Panamera is available in no fewer than 15 variants, which are spread across the regular Panamera (fastback), Panamera Executive (longwheelbase) and Panamera Sport Turismo (estate) models. Buyers are seriously spoilt for choice.
At the top of the Panamera Sport Turismo range is the Turbo S E-Hybrid variant. Although it is a station wagon, Porsche would rather that you don’t refer to it as such, or even call it an estate or shooting brake, as these terms are used by other German carmakers for their wagons.
Inspired by the 918 Spyder hypercar, the Turbo S E-Hybrid Sport Turismo has a twinturbocharged 4-litre V8 with 550hp that’s paired to a 136hp electric motor. Together, they have an output of 680hp.
The electric motor is also capable of delivering 400Nm of torque almost instantaneously. When joined by the twin-turbo V8 engine, their combined torque figure is 850Nm.
These outputs are why you won’t even notice that this estate has an elephantine kerb weight of 2325kg. That’s 290kg heavier than the Panamera Turbo Sport Turismo.
With all-wheel-drive as standard, this powerful station wagon remains planted at any speed. The precise electromechanical helm and optional rear-wheel-steering fitted to the test car further enhance its overall stability and nimbleness.
Still, it is more at home rocketing down highways rather than charging around mountain passes.
Helping to keep this Panamera’s size and power in check are the huge carbon-ceramic brakes that provide reassuring stopping power. These are complemented by the adaptive three-chamber air suspension system, which delivers a taut but well-damped ride.
Porsche claims that this range-topping Sport Turismo model averages 33.3km per litre, a figure that’s hardly believable. Indeed, when I drove the car through mountain roads with the drive mode set to Sport, I averaged 5.6km per litre, or nearly six times worse.
However, when I was cruising on the open highway in Hybrid Auto mode, my fuel economy improved to 10km per litre.
That’s not too shabby when you consider that this estate delivers a supercar-quick century sprint time of 3.4 seconds (in Sport Plus) and has a potential top speed of 310km/h. In fact, the Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid Sport Turismo even exceeds the performance of rivals such as the Audi RS6 Avant and Mercedes-AMG E63 S estate.
This Sport Turismo is a plugin hybrid, and when connected to a regular socket, it takes six hours for its lithium-ion batteries to be fully charged. When this is done, the estate supposedly has a maximum pure electric range of 49km. But I reckon 30km would be a more realistic figure for urban commutes.
It’s a shame that 18 percent of the boot capacity is occupied by the additional hybrid components. As a result, there’s only 425 litres of space (rear seats up), or 95 litres less than a non-hybrid Sport Turismo. Fortunately, folding down the rear seats expands this capacity to 1295 litres.
Porsche may be spearheading a trend towards hybrid performance cars. But I will definitely miss the glorious soundtrack of a big petrol engine. For although the Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid Sport Turismo is undeniably the world’s fastest station wagon to date, it also sounds like my trusty vacuum cleaner.
ENGINE 3996cc, 32-valves, V8, turbocharged, hybrid
MAX POWER 550hp at 5750-6000rpm (total system output 680hp at 5750-6000rpm)
MAX TORQUE 770Nm at 1960-4500rpm (total system output 850Nm at 1400-5500rpm)
POWER TO WEIGHT 292.5hp per tonne
GEARBOX 8-speed dual-clutch with manual select 0-100KM/H 3.4 seconds
TOP SPEED 310km/h
CONSUMPTION 33.3km/L (combined)
CO2 EMISSION 69g/km
PRICE EXCL. COE From $847,488
STORY LIONEL SEAH LOCATION MALAGA, SPAIN