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Driving Impressions

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Driving the Porsche Panamera 4 E-Hybrid in Florida!

With tickets and hotel booked to a seminar in Fort Lauderdale, I also took the opportunity to contact Porsche Centre Trinidad and Porsche Latin America to see if I could review a few of their cars while out on this trip. I drafted my itinerary for the seven-day trip and was absolutely over the moon when they said that I could have both the Porsche Panamera 4 E-Hybrid and the Porsche Boxster GTS (feature here) for a few days each to drive and evaluate! 

After a safe and smooth Caribbean Airlines flight and our arrival and check-in at Embassy Suites by Hilton, we explored the town to get our bearings. Although the Broward Convention Centre was within walking distance, it was enough for us to break a small sweat during the night. During the day, driving would certainly be the best option. 


We snuck through a few of the Porsche offices to check out their awesome model cars!

I would be driving the Panamera 4 E-Hybrid–
the new age sports car of luxury saloons.

Day 1 – Touring in the Panamera!
At mid-morning the next day, I travelled to Porsche’s Miami offices via an Uber ride. After a quick office tour, I was invited to lunch with PR CEO Carlos Munera at a little Italian café in the Financial District of Miami where we enjoyed the delicious “Porsche special”, an unlisted menu item consisting of creamy pasta and salmon bites. For this leg of the trip, I would be driving the Panamera 4 E-Hybrid– the new age sports car of luxury saloons.

Ever seen a car run through the gears with the tach on zero?
In electric mode, that's exactly what happens in the Panamera 4 E-Hybrid.

Thanks to its 51-mile electric range and ability to cruise at speeds up to 140km/h, I was able to transit from Miami to Fort Lauderdale almost completely on electric power! Ever seen a car run through the gears with the tach on zero? In electric mode, that's exactly what happens in the Panamera 4 E-Hybrid. With electric power alone the Panamera can accelerate to 60km/h (37.3mph) in a time of 5.7 seconds. When coupled with the engine, 0-60mph takes just 4.2 seconds, and 0-100km/h, 4.4 seconds. The car is a plug-in Hybrid, which means that it can be charged via an electrical outlet or via the engine’s operation. The engine, braking and coasting are also used to recharge the 14kWh Lithium-ion battery. 

There are four new hybrid-specific modes–  “E-Power”, “Hybrid Auto”, “E-Hold” and “E-Charge”

As with other Porsche vehicles fitted with the Sport Chrono package, you can configure the car’s modes via the dial on the steering wheel and access maximum performance for 20 seconds by pushing the Sport Response button. There are four new hybrid-specific modes–  “E-Power”, “Hybrid Auto”, “E-Hold” and “E-Charge”. In our case, there was no charging port available at the hotel, so our short, around-the-town stints had to be done on engine power more of the time, but thanks to the E-Charge mode we still enjoyed some Hybrid stints after charging. 

...with the standard 3.6kW charger and a 230V/10A supply, the Panamera 4 E-Hybrid’s battery takes just 5.8 hours to fully top up

However, when the time comes to recharge with the standard 3.6kW charger and a 230V/10A supply, the Panamera 4 E-Hybrid’s battery takes just 5.8 hours to fully top up. Using the optional 7.2kW charger and a 230V/32A connection this time drops to 3.6 hours. Interestingly, the auxiliary air conditioning can continue to cool or heat the cabin during recharging– a handy feature when charging at a rest stop. 

With my fellow seminar attendees opting to do some shopping on the first day, I happily obliged to chauffeur them around, as it gave me the opportunity to evaluate the car in this context.

When driving around in such a large vehicle, a few things become apparent. You need to know if it’s safe to change lanes, for instance. If I had to pick a single most-used feature on this leg of the trip it would be the Panamera’s blind spot indicators (lane change assist).

If I had to pick a single most-used feature on this leg of the trip it would be the Panamera’s blind spot indicators (lane change assist).

Second in the most appreciated lineup, given the nature of our touring, would be the 360-degree camera system, and more specifically, the front and rear cameras when parking.

These and other convenience and safety features combine to make the Panamera a very easy car to live with in everyday situations

These and other convenience and safety features combine to make the Panamera a very easy car to live with in everyday situations– unlike many other larger cars we’ve driven. 

 

In addition to being very comfortable for longer drives and supportive during sporty manoeuvres, the seats provided circulation control of cool or warm lower and upper airflow at the touch of a button

We also appreciated the Panamera’s vented leather seats. In addition to being very comfortable for longer drives and supportive during sporty manoeuvres, the seats provided circulation control of cool or warm lower and upper airflow at the touch of a button to the driver and front passenger. Every element of the interior communicates that this car is luxurious– with a feeling of durability and a high quality of fit and finish.

Overall, the sheer level of tech integration is truly impressive.

Overall, the sheer level of tech integration is truly impressive. The climate control system also had a neat focused and diffused option for the vent configurations for driver and front passenger. You can access controls via the steering wheel, the huge 12.3” touchscreen, or via shortcut buttons in the centre console. The driver also benefits from dual 7” multifunction screens on either side of the tachometer. This means that both the driver and the front passenger can easily control a plethora of options while keeping track of essentials like navigation and Hybrid performance.

And since this particular Panamera was fitted with air suspension, you can even set the ride height and firmness to your liking via the central touchscreen, or let the car do it for you automatically. 

Unless you own a top-shelf music system housed in a room with well-designed acoustics, you haven’t heard your music properly until you’ve heard it in this car...

Testing out the Panamera’s stereo system with lots of soca and other music was a pure treat. Unless you own a top-shelf music system housed in a room with well-designed acoustics, you haven’t heard your music properly until you’ve heard it in this car– and that’s with the standard Bose surround sound system. There’s still the optional Burmester high-end 3D surround sound system available. Audiophiles will prefer the extra space and acoustics that can be made possible in this vehicle compared to the sports cars, which feature smaller cabins. 

 

we could feel the combined thrust
(462hp and 700Nm/516ft-lb) of the engine and electric motor.

Being a Porsche, the most popular feature of all among my fellow seminar attendees was the launch control. Thanks to the quick-shifting eight-speed PDK transmission’s short first gear, we could feel the combined thrust (462hp and 700Nm/516ft-lb) of the engine and electric motor. We could also enjoy hearing the 330hp/450Nm (332ft-lb) bi-turbo V6 engine’s snarl-into-howl during the run to its 6800rpm redline. The electric motor’s 136hp and 400Nm (295ft-lb) of torque are available from the moment the accelerator is pressed. 

 

The most common remark was:
“I could definitely get used to this!”

Day 2 – Attending the Seminar, arriving and departing in style!
For our team, arriving in the most current Porsche Panamera 4 E-Hybrid absolutely added to the sense of occasion. After each day’s session it was always a pleasure to return to the car, boosting our sense of self-worth, determination to succeed and desire to help others achieve their goals and dreams– ideals that were keenly implanted at our seminar. The most common remark was: “I could definitely get used to this!” Needless to say, everywhere we drove, the car got its fair share of attention from bystanders and fellow motorists.

 

En route to and from the seminar we had at least one U-turn, sometimes two, depending on which way we were going. The Panamera’s all-wheel drive system, which varies the torque distribution between the front and rear axles made it easy to execute these types of turns. Once the nose was clear of the kerb, the throttle could be applied, and with a hint of oversteer, the Panamera ensured that we were confidently and safely away before any oncoming traffic got close. Porsche also offers an optional rear steering system that tightens the Panamera’s 4 E-Hybrid’s turning circle to just 11.4m. 

 

the Panamera remained supremely composed with the suspension in the sport setting and capably fluid when set to comfort mode.

The Panamera’s agility is a welcome surprise when driving around town and on curvy back roads. On more relaxed turns, and when using highway on-ramps and exits, the Panamera remained supremely composed with the suspension in the sport setting and capably fluid when set to comfort mode. For freeway cruising the comfort mode seemed better suited to absorbing expansion gap bumps. 

According to the factory, the Panamera 4 E-Hybrid will muscle itself all the way to 278km/h (173mph). We didn’t try it, but we believe them.

According to the factory, the Panamera 4 E-Hybrid will muscle itself all the way to 278km/h (173mph). We didn’t try it, but we believe them. Given the size and performance capabilities of the car, Porsche has fitted the Panamera 4 E-Hybrid with massive cast-iron, vented six-piston 380mm caliper brakes up front and four-piston 365mm brakes at the rear. At no point during the drive did we experience anything less than stellar braking, even with a full complement of passengers and shopping. 

 

I rolled up slowly to our group in the Panamera at the waiting area with the roof open, windows down and Bunji’s Differentology at almost top volume

Day 3 – New Porsche Dreams!
Our Porsche-enhanced exit strategy was executed according to plan– I rolled up slowly to our group in the Panamera at the waiting area with the roof open, windows down and Bunji’s Differentology at almost top volume and let the onlookers take lots of pictures.

We then rolled forward to a safe distance and left using launch control. We were indeed ready for the road! Throughout the weekend the Porsche Panamera 4 E-Hybrid was a joy for me to drive and for my fellow seminar attendees to experience as passengers. It impressed everyone we met and delivered on almost all thrills you could expect from a Porsche that seats four.

 

...the Panamera is now squarely on our to-buy list.

If you require extra rear-seat legroom, Porsche has the long-wheelbase Executive model, and if you need more storage space and like the practicality of a hatchback, you can look at the Sport Turismo variant. Need more power? There are Turbo model versions of each of these. So what’s the verdict? With its sleek sports car-inspired bodyline, stout power and hybrid versatility and economy, extensive tech integration, knockout audio system, and comfortably sporty air suspension, the Panamera is now squarely on our to-buy list. 

 

To arrange a viewing or a demo drive locally, you can visit the Porsche Centre Trinidad & Tobago, at Lifestyle Motors in Barataria. Prices on the Panamera models start at approximately TT$1.5M and E-Hybrid models such as the version we drove should start around TT$1.7M. 

Technical Specifications: Porsche Panamera 4 E-Hybrid 

Maximum System Power 340kW/[email protected]
Maximum System Torque 700Nm/[email protected]
Combustion Engine Power [email protected]
Combustion Engine Torque 450Nm/[email protected]
Engine Displacement/Type 2894cc/V-6 Bi-turbo
Max. Engine Speed 6800rpm
Electric Motor Power 100kW/[email protected]
Electric Motor Torque 400Nm/[email protected]
Transmission 8-speed PDK (dual clutch)
Top Speed 278km/h
Top Speed (electric) 140km/h
Acceleration 0-100km/h (0-62mph) 4.4s 
Acceleration 0-60mph 4.2s
Drag coefficient 0.28
Estimated Fuel Consumption (Hybrid) 94mpg
Fuel Type  Super Plus 98 RON 
Emissions Standard Euro 6 
Fuel Tank Capacity 80L
Electric Range  25-51km 
Approx. starting price in T&T (Panamera 4 E-Hybrid) $TT1.7M

Continue to: The Launch of the Panamera in Trinidad & Tobago

  

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