2014 4 door Porsche Panamera S E-Hybrid to enter PHEV competition


Just when you were lamenting the demise of Fisker's low slung, sexy sports sedan plug-in hybrid, Porsche jumps into the breach with the updated Panamera S E-Hybrid.  With a nearly identical price, similar sporty styling and new electric-only driving capability, the new S will appeal to the family guy not ready to give up sports car performance while retaining some ecological self-respect. The car's toughest competition will of course come from Tesla, whose Model S Performance edition will edge the Panamera S E-Hybrid in both acceleration and expense: 0-60 in 4.2 vs 5.7 and $87,400 vs $94,415 respectively, after Federal tax credits. The Porche's 9.4 kWh battery only qualifies for a $4,585 credit while the Tesla's 85 kWh power pack qualifies for the full $7,500. California's Clean Vehicle Rebate will widen that gap by another $1,000, with the golden state rewarding Tesla drivers with another $2,500 while the Panamera S E-Hybrid's limited green cred will earn it only $1,500.

Porche's unique value proposition in this face-off will be its range-extended capability, but with a 265 mile range and a free fast-charge network currently being deployed on both coasts and cross-country, Tesla maintains a very strong hand. 

Porsche estimates that electric-only range will be about 20 miles, although climate, terrain and driving technique will vary that somewhat, just as with fossil-fuel vehicles. Top electric-only speed is 84 mph. 

The Panamera S E-hybrid bests the Tesla in total top speed, 167 mph vs 130, although it's unlikely that this advantage will ever be observed anywhere other than the Autobahn and the Bonneville Salt Flats. If you need a getaway car and you plan to hightail it cross-country a la the 1971 movie "Vanishing Point" you'll definitely want to steal a Panamera instead of a Tesla, Superchargers notwithstanding. 

After the dust has settled, the Panamera battery will require about two and a half hours to recharge using a standard Level 2 240 volt charger. You'll be able to monitor the state of charge remotely using Porsche Car Connect, a mobile app available for Android and iOS-powered devices. The mobile devices can also be used for remote access to other vehicle information including remaining driving range or vehicle location. Maybe it wouldn't be such a great getaway car after all. Stick with the 1970 440 V8 Dodge Challenger R/T. 

The Panamera S E-Hybrid uses the eight-speed Tiptronic S automatic transmission. An updated adaptive cruise control system is offered with Porsche Active Safe (PAS). According to Porsche, "This system visually and audibly alerts the driver in the event of a sudden decrease in following distance and briefly tugs on the brakes. It can also intervene in the braking process and apply increased braking pressure in an emergency braking situation." If all this automation lulls you into a somnambulistic trance, another new feature, camera-based lane departure warning will gently remind you to resume your driving diligence.

The new generation Panamera S E-Hybrid will be available starting in late 2013.  

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