Porsche Panamera Plug-In Hybrid Vehicle (2015 Model Review)

Written By: Raymond Z. 

                                      2015 Porsche Panamera S e-HybrId (PHEV)

In 2014, Kim Kardashian attempted to break the internet with her attention-getting hips. For automaker Porsche, distinctive wide rear ends have been a mainstay for generations. Unlike Ms. Kardashian however, Porsche has always maintained a low profile with their designs. The wide rear hips/low profile theme is continued with the 2015 Porsche Panamera S E-Hybrid.

With a price in excess of $100,000, a top speed of 167 mph and a zero to 60 mph time of just 5.2 seconds, buyers are likely to be less concerned about the price of a gallon of gas than they are about luxury, performance and their carbon footprint. You will want to know however that when it comes to mileage, Porsche claims the vehicle gets 50 MPGe. Although discussion of this hybrid Porsche always seems to focus quite a bit on the car's appearance, its impressive silhouette also looks pretty terrific in a driveway.

Since we are discussing its appearance, the 2015 Porsche Panamera S E-Hybrid has a low, thinner grill that gives way to a sweeping hood. LED headlights appear to be carved into the slightly larger “shoulders” of the front fenders. Although not as elongated as some models, the Panamera’s hood is slightly enhanced, giving way to its overall taller stance. If there are design sacrifices made in creating this four door luxury sedan, it may be in the broader side panels and hunched rear quarter. For those expecting the traditional very low profile Porsche, you may be disappointed in this slightly larger version. It still, however, performs like a car with Porsche DNA and those desiring a luxury performance sedan that seats four and that is green will struggle to find a better choice.

Inside, the Panamera S E-Hybrid surrounds occupants in detailed luxury. Leather seats feature prominent stitching and are as comfortable as those in high-priced lawyer’s office. The driver is placed amidst a sea of controls, like some commander of some futuristic transport. Talk about comfort, the driver’s seat offers an over-the-top fourteen-way power control. Switches, buttons and controls seem to be everywhere, control everything from blind spots to climate to E-Drive, E-Charge and the Porsche lane departure system. Even the area above the driver offers a multitude of buttons including those for the moon roof, garage door opener, ambient lighting and parking sensors.

2015 Porsche Panamera S E-Hybrid (PHEV)
*Click on Images to Enlarge*

Of course you can’t discuss a green vehicle like the Porsche Panamera S E-Hybrid without spending time talking about the power plant. Its 3.0, V-6 engine employs a supercharger that provides 330 horsepower and 325 pound-feet of torque. The Panamera S E-Hybrid’s large battery pack has a very generous 9.4 kWh capacity that powers a 95 horsepower electric motor generator that has 229 pound-feet of twist. This all can deliver a drive of about 15 miles on a full electric charge at speeds at 80 mph-plus.

All this power is why so many people are willing to spend in excess of $100,000 for a hybrid. You get in, turn on the key and you are greeted by…silence. You put the Panamera in gear, accelerate, and are you are greeted by… power. Porsche has obviously used generations of engineering in making sure this hybrid is as responsive as it is efficient. Those who expect a hybrid to be boxy, slow to respond, and short on room will be massively impressed. The Panamera S E-Hybrid feels like the luxury car it is, and drives like the performance car it is advertised to be. Best of all, it delivers on all of these levels while maintaining its hybrid status.

Is it perfect? Certainly not. Its downsides include:

  • It has a somewhat less sleek, bulkier appearance

  • The interior has an almost overwhelming multitude of interior buttons and switches

  • It has a hefty price tag

  • Its large battery system adds weight

  • Some may prefer a touch screen system found in other vehicles

On the other hand, the positives are impressive:

  • Impressive power

  • Very responsive handling

  • Comfortable room for four

  • Good size trunk and lots of storage areas

  • The bragging rights of Porsche engineering and nameplate

What may be the most impressive part of the Porsche Panamera S E-Hybrid is not what it is, but what it may lead to. This is a green vehicle that fully demonstrates that those with the appropriate budget don’t need to sacrifice style, amenities or performance when getting into the hybrid segment of the market. In addition, strides made particularly in the power plant may ultimately make their way into more mainstream vehicles. This is exciting for those who may have avoided the segment due to concerns about power and performance.

With the 2015 Panamera S E-Hybrid, Porsche is making a case that the term “hybrid” does not have to be exclusive of “sports car”, or even “sports car-sedan”. Its four doors, seating for four, relatively roomy interior along with its more than ample power makes the statement that this hybrid can be practical even for a small family. Some may criticize it's looks, but it still maintains the distinctive Porsche low profile. Low profile is not something you will likely soon hear about Ms. Kardashian.