PORSCHE PANAMERA 4 E-HYBRID SPORT TURISMO: MORE THAN JUST DADDY’S CAR
On The Cardigans 1995 breakthrough album Life, there is a catchy song called "Daddy’s Car" which easily sounds like a composition crafted by Beach Boy Brian Wilson, then sung by the Swedish group's delightful singer Nina Persson. The song talks about teen hipsters taking off on a road trip across Europe to visit classic cities like Paris and Athens with the aid of a car belonging to someone’s dad and how it’s like a spacecraft “flashing through the world”. Over the years, when hearing this song from time to time, I could never quite come to a decision of what that car could be in my imagination while listening to the music's lyrical adventure. Until now.
I recently drove Porsche’s new entry into the Electric Hybrid market, the Panamera 4 E-Hybrid Sport Turismo. It's a hatchback version of the popular luxury saloon with signature 911 sports DNA, now in its tenth year of production. Its formula is: career, family, leisure time and driving pleasure. And it feels fitting to me now that the Panamera hatchback is the imaginary hero in the pop song that's caught my attention more than once. And why not? It's low, fast and spacious-- pun intended. But why couldn’t I envision a clunker to go with this pop tune? Because I can only imagine a tight crew of European teenagers having greater access to a 5-seater Porsche with expressways such as the Autobahn and German racetracks alike the Nürburgring, as well as the Circuit de la Sarthe known for hosting the 24 Hours of LeMans auto race- almost at their leisure and privilege. Not to mention that being able to charge the electric motor's battery certainly allows for more road coverage and cost savings, probably allowing for better dining experiences and unforgettable outings, at a twenty-something budget. Quick Refresher: Turismo comes from the Italian term, Gran Turismo which means the Grand Tour, "an educational trip around the cultural highlights of Europe". Interestingly enough, The Cardigans named their 1998 album Gran Turismo.
This e-hybrid version of the mighty Stuttgart sedan is certainly Daddy’s (or Mommy's) car, in the best way, as it affords everything a person could want for road trips and those unchangeable experiences of a maturing lifestyle. However, there's no denying or forgetting that this vehicle is first and foremost a sports car— don't let the extended rooftop slope persuade you to believe otherwise. Without a doubt, this Porsche experience remains premium as the interior's seats, center column, and instrument cluster automatically transport you into the anticipation of speed and force.
When I recently used this Panamera to travel throughout the Elevate Tech Fest, I loved that not only did it feel futuristic in tone and tech but it was equally easier to reach venues and destinations knowing that there were select parking spaces and charge station for EVs. And charging, whether domestically or publicly, takes no time whatsoever. It’s really just developing the habit of placing the e-pump into the secondary fuel port, daily. And if you have any doubts as to how the behavior of this car is during its E-Power drive mode, don’t be fooled by its stealth hum. It's still a banger.
This vehicle is perfect for commuting or driving locally. It is a fuel-savings pleasure, as an overnight E-charge will easily afford you roughly 40 kilometers. And if you’re going further then the E-kilometers, the advantage of having a hybrid vehicle is the usage of HOV lanes which are relatively empty and afford you to push the gas pedal a little more aggressively. With that being said, it’s certainly built for adventure. The electric hybrid mix is perfect for an extensive road trip and easily accommodates trekking components like sports racks that make this the Porsche one worth getting dirty, not to mention that this time of year, there is plenty of road and scenery that look amazing as the season shifts closer to winter. While I didn’t focus on mileage, I can convey that I didn’t hit the gas pump for more than a week— no need, Hybrid performance keeps you going.
Powered by a 2.9L twin-turbo V6 engine which outputs 330 horsepower and 331 pound-feet of torque, plus the boost from the 404 kilowatts electric motor producing 134 hp and 295 lb-ft, total power output reaches 462 horses and 516 lb-ft— a beautiful thing, right for a station wagon? Pair those results with an 8-speed transmission, along with multiple suspension management opportunities, not to mention the incorporation of all-wheel drive, this hatchback Panamera delivers more than enough power and performance to keep things interesting for a very, very long time, virtually any time of the year. If owning the 887 hp, 2-seater Porsche 918 hypercar is not in your budget (as it costs $845k) or conducive to your lifestyle, this feels like a near second, especially as you'll notice some similarities in styling and performance, including the 21-inch wheels inspired by the 911 Turbo's design and racing pedigree. Braking Power is more than efficient ten-piston aluminum monobloc fixed brake calipers at the front, four-piston aluminum monobloc fixed brake calipers at the rear, internally vented brake discs. Since the suspension is adjustable for multi Drive Modes, I loved the lowest stance as it allowed for the perfect connection with the road in all twists and turns— just perfect for a few quick thrills after dropping off the kids at school or leaving the office before rush hour. Depending on the day, you choose-- road or race car.
Per “everyday practicality”, it performs admirably but there is certainly an undertone of wanting to keep this particularly heavily-optioned $150,000 grocery-getter at the very back of the parking lot, away from high-volume traffic and shopping cart. Valet service when making shopping moves. Otherwise, this Panamera's cabin and rear cargo space are generous for storage without taking away a sport feel to the vehicle. If anything, this vehicle delivers a modern sense of nostalgia if you've ever owned a sporty hatchback -back in the day- with lowered suspension, low-profile tires, and Recaro-style seats- perhaps even a distant cousin to the Porsche AG family.
What chiefly makes the Porsche Panamera 4 E-Hybrid Sport Turismo Mommy’s or Daddy’s car is that it is about taking the people you love on an adventure whether it is just the daily A to B or a short-term road trip. Accompanied by class-leading technology and impeccable performance attributes, this is the car you would want to live with if you had to compromise between a sports car with racing lineage and a family SUV. In fact, I prefer this vehicle to its Cayenne brethren. The notable thing about getting behind the wheel of this particular Panamera is that is despite whatever is happening at work, or what kind of issues you may be having at home -or if you’re not getting in enough personal leisure time, slide open the two-piece panoramic sunroof, push the throttle just a little harder and enjoy the joy of driving the electric propulsion of this Porsche. It's beyond art, engineering, sport, and racing. It's a spacecraft, ready to take you away.