Car Review: 2014 Porsche Panamera S e-Hybrid (2023)

German automaker has successfully transferred the essence of its cars into a hybrid package

Author of the article:

Russell Purcell

Publishing date:

Jul 04, 2014May 21, 20216 minute read

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Overview Rear-wheel-drive, four-seat, full-sized, hybrid luxury sedan
Pros Impressive performance and fuel efficiency
Cons Only offers seating for four
Value for money Fair
What would I change? The portable charging unit needs a longer cord. Replace steering-wheel shift levers with actual paddle units.

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It’s hard to believe that the Porsche Panamera has been with us for five years now, and during this period the luxurious executive sedan has established a very strong fan base.

Car Review: 2014 Porsche Panamera S e-Hybrid Back to video

In fact, Porsche now offers 11 variants of the Panamera, and while combined sales don’t match those of the mercurial Cayenne, they are strong enough to rival Cayman numbers.

The Panamera was designed with a specific purpose in mind, that being customer retention. The German company was losing sales to rival brands whenever its traditional sports car customers required a larger car for work, or to meet the needs of a growing family.

While all Panamera models offer unique styling, impressive performance, and a very high level of luxury, the latest addition to the lineup is pretty special.

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Car Review: 2014 Porsche Panamera S e-Hybrid (1)

The Panamera S e-Hybrid is the first Porsche product to employ a plug-in hybrid system. It replaces the Panamera S Hybrid, which utilized a more traditional hybrid system, and represented the most fuel-efficient Panamera in the lineup.

The Panamera S e-Hybrid is what is known as a parallel plug-in hybrid. This design allows the car to operate on electric power, the gasoline engine, or a combination of both when the driver is looking for acceleration.

The supercharged gasoline engine is good for 333 horsepower on its own accord, and 325 pound-feet of torque. By adding the electric motor, horsepower climbs to 416 and torque becomes a potent 435 lb.-ft.

Unfortunately, the Panamera S e-Hybrid is only available with an eight-speed, Tiptronic S automatic transmission, and not the super-fast PDK unit. All-wheel-drive is also not part of this recipe, as this latest Panamera is only available in rear-wheel-drive form.

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Car Review: 2014 Porsche Panamera S e-Hybrid (2)

Porsche claims that the high-voltage battery can be fully recharged in as little as three hours when using a heavy current socket. When you find yourself away from home, you can plug in at virtually any standard socket using the portable universal charging unit that resides in the trunk. I found it took about 7.5 hours to fully charge the car using the latter.

Hybrid automobiles benefit from a healthy surge of near instantaneous torque, so acceleration runs to 100 kilometres per hour from a standstill can be executed in a mere
5.5 seconds.

The enthusiast driver is still the target, so this car comes equipped with shift levers on the steering wheel, an adaptive air suspension system including Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM), and in the case of our tester, the optional Sport Chrono Package.

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Car Review: 2014 Porsche Panamera S e-Hybrid (3)

I took the car on a 600-kmday trip up the scenic Fraser Canyon so that I could explore some of my favourite driving roads and put the e-Hybrid system through its paces.

British Columbia’s Fraser Canyon is a mountainous, two-lane challenge for any car, as long climbs, steep descents, and lots of twisty bits comprise this segment of the Trans-Canada Highway.

With a twist of the key, the car comes to life, but not with the roar of a conventional Porsche automobile. Instead, at the touch of a console-mounted button, the car will operate in “E-Power” mode on electric power alone for up to 36 km and up to a speed of 135 km/h.

This will no doubt help you save some money at the pump as like all Porsches, the Panamera S e-Hybrid sips the good stuff. Once the power reserve is exhausted, or you exceed its speed limitation, the gas engine will come on with purpose.

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The Panamera S e-Hybrid offers three different driving modes, all driver selectable. The car will always operate in E-Power mode (electric driving) as standard, and will continue to do so until you exhaust the power reserve in the battery pack. For the lucky urban user with a short commute, operating in E-Power mode will greatly reduce your fuel bill.

As I live in a relatively hilly region and tend to drive with a somewhat heavy foot, I managed to exhaust full electric mode in about 20 km. At this point I activated E-Charge mode, which uses the V6 engine to charge the high-voltage battery. Further gains are made under braking, as Porsche has engineered the system so that the battery can be recharged through the process of brake energy recovery known as recuperation.

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The final mode is called Sport mode. This one will be coveted by enthusiasts. Boost is activated when the gas pedal position reaches 80%, and the potent combination of the supercharged V6 engine and the electric motor work together to deliver maximum power and maximum torque.

Car Review: 2014 Porsche Panamera S e-Hybrid (4)

While operating on engine alone, the Panamera S e-Hybrid seemed more than content to putt around at 100 km/h in eighth gear at a very low 1,900 rpm. During climbs, the transmission would drop down to fourth or fifth gear, but as soon as the grade was conquered it would cycle through the successive gears and settle back to a comfortable cruise in eighth.

After eight hours and 600 km, the computer displayed an average fuel consumption rate of 8.6 litres per 100 km. Porsche literature claims a combined rating of 9.4 litres when operating on engine only, and an impressive 4.7 litres when the electric motor is able to assist. My result is reasonable, considering that I was driving in summer traffic through the mountains and with the zeal one would expect when they are handed the keys to a Porsche.

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The cool thing is that for a large portion of that time I was running under electric power. That’s right, the gasoline engine was taking a break. This occurs when the car is operating at higher cruising speeds, such as on the highway, or descending a long hill. When the driver lifts his or her foot off the accelerator, this signals the system to disengage the engine and enlist the battery to feed the drive train and maintain the car’s momentum.

While coasting along in this manner, it is an odd experience to glance down at the gauges and realize that you are shuttling along at triple digit speeds in full electric mode, as the car is so quiet and the tachometer needle is motionless at zero.

During my eight-hour journey, the Engine Off screen display revealed that the car’s engine had been shut off for 2:09:44, which included about 20 minutes for photo stops and stretch breaks.

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I understand the concept of a luxury hybrid vehicle, and why someone may want to own one. In the case of the Panamera S e-Hybrid, I am happy to report that the engineers at Porsche have managed to make the driving experience so similar to that of the traditional versions of the car that it is easy to forget that you are, in fact, driving a hybrid automobile, and for this they should be commended.

Car Review: 2014 Porsche Panamera S e-Hybrid (5)

The Specs

Type of vehicle Rear-wheel-drive, front-engine, full-sized, hybrid luxury sedan
EngineSupercharged 3.0-litre V6 with direct injection + electric motor
Power 416 hp @ 5,500 rpm; 435 lb.-ft. @ 1,250-4,000 rpm
Transmission Eight-speed Tiptronic S automatic with steering-wheel shifter
Brakes Four-wheel disc with ABS
Tires P245/50ZR/18 front, P275/45ZR/18 rear
Price: base/as tested $113,300/ $126,635
Destination charge $1,115
Natural Resources Canada fuel economy (L / 100 km)Combined Electricity + Gasoline: 4.7 L; Gasoline only: 9.4 L
Standard features Bi-Xenon dynamic headlamps, LED running lights, LED tail lights, heated 8-way power adjustable seats, heated multi-function steering wheel, dual zone automatic climate control, Adaptive air suspension including Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM), electric moon roof, Porsche Communication Management (PCM) with Navigation, 7-inch colour touch screen, CD/DVD, premium audio system with 11 speakers and hard-drive, Bluetooth, 18-inch alloy wheels, remote entry with interior alarm heated mirrors, Auto Start/Stop, Automatic rain-sensing wipers, power operated tailgate, ParkAssist (front and rear), leather seating. Electrical system recuperation, E-Power, E-Charge, and coasting functions, Power Steering Plus, 2-way adaptive rear spoiler, rear wiper, Porsche Stability Management with ABS, full complement of airbags (including front, knee, side and curtain), tire sealing compound with electric air compressor, leather seating.
Options Agate Grey Metallic paint ($910), Front seat ventilation ($960), LED headlights including Porsche Dynamic Light System Plus ($2,440), Park Assist with rear camera (NC), Sport Chrono Package ($930), Bose Audio Package ($2,420), 19-inch Panamera Design II wheels ($2,230), Premium Package ($2,330), 14-way power seats with memory package (NC).

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