2012 Porsche Panamera S Hybrid Preview

Jeff Youngs | Dec 31, 2011
The 2012 Porsche Panamera S Hybrid is the second hybrid offering from the German automaker. Power for the rear-wheel drive, gasoline-electric hybrid comes from a supercharged V-6 mated to a 47 horsepower electric motor.

Highlights

2012 Porsche Panamera S Hybrid
  • First hybrid sport sedan from Porsche
  • 4-passenger cabin
  • Gasoline-electric hybrid powerplant
  • 3.0-liter supercharged V-6 engine
  • 47 horsepower electric motor
  • 8-speed automatic transmission
  • Rear-wheel drive
  • Arriving in late 2011

Introduction

In 2002, Porsche surprised loyalists with the introduction of its Cayenne SUV. Eight years later, the automaker (traditionally known for its small sports cars) introduced its first four-door sedan _ the 2010 Panamera. Less than a year after the sedan's introduction, and following on the heels of the automakers first hybrid (2011 Cayenne S Hybrid), Porsche has introduced the all-new 2012 Panamera S Hybrid.

As expected, the Panamera shares nearly all of its hybrid technology with its big sibling _ except for the driveline-the Panamera is rear-wheel drive while the Cayenne is only offered with a full-time all-wheel drive system.

Today's Panamera lineup includes the standard Panamera (300 horsepower V-6), the Panamera S (400 horsepower V-8) and the Panamera Turbo (500 horsepower V-8). The new Panamera S Hybrid, with a combined system power of 380 horsepower, is designed to slot just above the eight-cylinder Panamera S, in both pricing and standard options (thus explaining the "S" in the nomenclature of the Hybrid).

Unlike some hybrid models, which are designed solely to maximize fuel economy, the Panamera S Hybrid has been engineered to deliver Porsche's expected level of performance plus efficiency not typically associated with this level of sport sedan.

Hardware

2012 Porsche Panamera S HybridThe 2012 Panamera S Hybrid is the second model in Porsche's lineup to be fitted with a hybrid powertrain (the Cayenne S Hybrid, Porsche's five-passenger sport utility vehicle, arrived for the 2011 model year).

Under the hood of the automaker's energy-efficient sedan is a hybrid gasoline-electric powertrain. The four-door utilizes a 333 horsepower gasoline-powered 3.0-liter V-6 (fitted with a supercharger for additional power) as its combustion engine. Partnered with the six-cylinder engine is a 47 horsepower (34kW) electric motor. Combined, the two powerplants generate a maximum of 380 horsepower and 427 lb.-ft. of torque - the hybrid output offers nearly the same performance as the Panamera S with a V-8. Power is sent through an all-new highly-efficient eight-speed automatic transmission to the rear wheels. According to Porsche, the Panamera S Hybrid will accelerate to 60 mph in 5.7 seconds with a top speed of 167 mph. Fuel economy ratings have not yet been announced.

Electricity for the Panamera S Hybrid is stored in a 288-volt nickel metal-hydride (NiMh) battery pack located beneath the luggage compartment. The batteries are charged by the combustion engine or through regenerative means when the sedan is slowed by its brakes. An aptly-named "Hybrid Manager" is tasked with master-minding the drive process - whether power is supplied via electricity, combustion, or both. If the system determines conditions are right, the Panamera S Hybrid may run up to a mile solely on electric power - free from emissions and most noise - at speeds approaching 50 mph.

The all-new 2012 Porsche Panamera S Hybrid will go on sale in the United States in late 2011.
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