Highlights: With this being the brand’s first plug-in hybrid, driving enthusiasts can expect a top speed of 167-mph. This plug-in hybrid has the ability to recharge while driving by simply selecting the e-charge switch on the console. Moreover, with the airplane-like bucket seating arrangements, which resembles that of those being pampered while flying first class internationally, the vehicle can be converted into a rolling office, when equipped with the optional in-car wi-fi system.
Test vehicle’s MSRP: $123,900 (base model $99,995)
Seating Capacity: 4 bucket seats
Standard Safety Features: airbags; stability management; bi-Xenon headlights; a tire pressure monitoring system; park assist (front and rear); automatic dimming mirrors; electric parking brakes; acid green brake calipers; and a rear wiper
Standard Equipment: 18-inch wheels; an 8-speed automatic transmission; a universal charger; an adaptive air suspension; heated front seats; leather seats; an automatic rear trunk; analog clock on the center dashboard; power moonroof; a universal charging system for both the home and commercial charging outlets; a power liftgate; and Porsche’s Car-Connect App to monitor the hybrid charge system on smartphones
Options: 19-inch turbo wheels; a radar-activated cruise control system; a lane departure warning system; park and assist system with a surround view system; a rear camera; a lane changing assist system; a heated three-spoke leather/wood steering wheel; LED interior lighting package; easy entry and exit front seats; 14-way power front seats with memory; ventilated seats (front and rear); heated seats (front and rear);soft close front doors; a Bose audio package, a power sunblind for side rear windows; power sunblind for the rear window; a sport analog package with analog clock gauges; and LED headlights
Standard Audio On Test Vehicle: an 11-speaker AM/FM/CD
Bluetooth Connectivity: Yes
iPod connectivity: Yes
Bumper-to-Bumper Warranty: 4 years or 50,000 miles
Powertrain Warranty: 4 years or 50,000 miles
Hybrid Warranty: 8 years or 80,000 miles
Standard Engine/Horsepower: 3.0-liter, 6-cylinder/416-hp
Recommended Fuel: Premium
Standard Fuel Mileage: 23-city/29-hwy
What’s New: This is Porsche’s first electric plug-in hybrid. Porsche also adds a long wheel base model and a six-cylinder engine to the mix, too! Both which are non plug-in models.
The Panamera also offers a slightly refined exterior design, which gives the vehicle a visual of having a lower stance on the road, especially with this being a sports sedan.
Pros: Ok, what is there not to like? It’s a four door Porsche, which quietly rolls away from a stoplight without purring a sound is based off of the S trim. As the vehicle immediately accelerates up to speed it has the growl one wouldn’t necessarily expect from a fuel efficient plug-in electric spots car. Yes, what an oxymoron! It runs off over both gas and electricity. Unlike the Telsa, which is totally electric, range anxiety isn’t an issue with the Porsche.
This easy-to-maneuver sporty space ship on wheels, which proudly wears the Porsche name, doesn’t sacrifice power, style or the driving experience required to meet fuel efficiency targets, with this being a plug-in. The Panamera even offers three unique driving modes so that one does not have to sacrifice the thrill expecting from owning this German made vehicle. And for those with a penchant for the environment and yearn to be seen in a vehicle that is worthy of their pedigree, the Porsche Panamera speaks volumes both literally and physically.
In fact, the brand’s first plug-in hybrid pushes out more horses than its base Panamera, which only puts out 310 horses. Moreover, the brand’s first plug-in hybrid electric motor produces 95 horsepower (70 kW), which is more than double that of the previous hybrid (non plug-in) model it replaces. The 2014 plug-in also draws energy from a newly developed lithium-ion battery which has five times the energy capacity of the previous hybrid battery.
Furthermore, the Panamera plug-in owners will spend approximately $1,700 annually on gasoline in comparison to a typical S gasoline (non turbo) model, which is expected to drain the wallets of its owners for approximately $2,450 annually, according fueleconom.gov. On average drivers can expect to spend $72 per fill-up on the plug-in, as opposed to $72 per fill up on the non plug-in gasoline model.
Even more importantly, with the plug-in hybrid, one doesn’t have to worry about sacrificing the torque. Ironically, the Panamera plug-in offers 51-ft-lbs more torque than its comparably equipped non turbo gas model.
Lastly, the Panamera plug-in offers the customization well-heeled buyers expect. Our well-crafted sports sedan was dripping with what seemed like wall-to-wall leather-and-premium wood, which was all surrounded by the optional crystal clear 585-watt, 14-speaker Bose audio system.
Cons: This plug-in hybrid only adds an additional 15-mpge to the Panamera. While that’s not much of a driving range, it is slightly more than the electric range being offered in Toyota’s PriusV. Moreover, the curvaceous rear window impedes the driver’s vision. And because of the two-plus-two seating arrangement, the brand’s flagship can only transport two in the rear, as opposed to three in the rear passenger compartment like many of its flagship competitors.
Verdict: The Panamera hybrid has been replaced by the brand’s first plug-in (electric/gas) system, which enhances the overall mileage and performance of this flagship sedan.
So, what better way is there to cruise the streets, but in a plug-in that is only identified by its environmentally green brake calipers and a modest $5,800 price increase, when compared to a non turbo S gasoline model! And what else could one ask for in a premium electric vehicle, which competes head-to-head with a Telsa, with the exception of possibly a manual transmission plug-in hybrid? Now with a manual operated plug-in, that would literally place this flagship vehicle, with a hatch back trunk, in a class by itself. Oh yes, we forgot to mention that this German engineered sport vehicle received the auto industry coveted JD Power Initial Quality Award for 2014. This makes the Panamera the highest rated premium sedan in its segment.
In Direct Competition: Telsa Model S (electric only) and Lexus LS (gasoline hybrid only)
Jeff Fortson is an auto analyst and editor of a car-buying website for women and minorities. To learn more about his popular car-buying workshop and/or to price a new-vehicle, drive on over to www.JeffCars.com. Follow him on Twitter/JeffCars.