Porsche made a splash in the hybrid vehicle market with the Cayenne S Hybrid sedan released in North America in November 2010. This four-door sedan achieves a modest fuel economy of 24 miles per gallon with a steep price tag of $67,700. The next entry in the hybrid market for Porsche is the Panamera S Hybrid based on the popular Panamera luxury sedan design. Representatives from Porsche announced last week that the Panamera S Hybrid will hit American showrooms by December 2011 with a starting price of $95,000.
The heart of the Panamera S Hybrid is a 3.0-liter V6 engine capable of producing 248kW of power. This gas engine is paired with a 34kW electric motor to reduce fuel consumption. Porsche incorporated a nickel metal hydride (NiMH) battery into the drive system instead of a lithium-ion pack to keep battery costs low. The Panamera S Hybrid also features Porsche’s “sailing” technology that reduces fuel consumption during deceleration. After the driver takes pressure off the accelerator, the engine is disengaged from the drive system and the vehicle coasts until the accelerator is depressed. Porsche has designed the “sailing” technology to restart the engine within fractions of a second to avoid accidents.
This luxury hybrid is estimated to hit 60 miles per hour from a dead stop in 5.7 seconds. Porsche also notes that the Panamera S Hybrid can reach a maximum speed of 167 miles per hour. All-electric range for this hybrid is limited to about a mile with the electric motor aiding acceleration up to 50 miles per hour. The Panamera S Hybrid pushes Porsche into a new level of fuel efficiency with an estimate fuel mileage of 33 miles per gallon. This detail might raise eyebrows among eco-conscious consumers but in the realm of luxury vehicles, Porsche is breaking new ground with the Panamera S Hybrid.
Porsche understand that its latest addition to the hybrid market is aimed at that select group with $95,000 to spare on a car. This consideration informed the addition of new features in the Panamera S Hybrid that meet the needs of 21st century drivers. The Porsche Communication Management (PCM) system includes point-by-point navigation and an audio system that can accommodate MP3 players, laptops and other external sources. Porsche added advanced Bi-Xenon headlights that produce a brighter light without burning out as quickly as traditional lights. The Panamera S Hybrid might not be a Toyota Prius, Tesla Roadster or Nissan LEAF in terms of mileage but it is a big step forward for Porsche.