The 2018 Porsche Panamera 4 E-Hybrid Is A Car Of The Moment

The Porsche Panamera 4 E-Hybrid sits in the middle of a lot of things. Within its own family, it slots right between the slower, less-powerful Panamera 4 and the lighter, quicker Panamera 4S. But for a more important comparison, we have to look beyond Porsche.

In a way, this car lives in a strange grey area between luxury sports sedans like the BMW M550i and Mercedes-AMG E43 and something a bit more futuristic—the Tesla Model S 75D. The Panamera 4 E-Hybrid is very much a car of this moment, both looking at the past and the future. And it’s a really compelling machine.

Thanks to its hybrid drivetrain, the Panamera can offer two experiences: sports-sedan and silent luxury EV. A 2.9-liter twin-turbo V6 offers 330 hp while an electric motor positioned between the engine and eight-speed dual-clutch gearbox provides an additional 136 hp. Total system output is 462 hp and 516 lb-ft of torque, the latter of which really defines the driving experience.

If you’re wondering why 330 + 136 somehow equals 462 hp and not 466, the gas engine and electric motor can’t both offer maximum power at the same time. That’s just the nature of internal-combustion versus electricity.

Cruising around New York City, I began to wonder how much of the car’s 4800 lbs was just sound deadening. The clatter of Midtown Manhattan seemed to vanish, replaced by that faint whirr and the sound of wind rushing over the car. It’s relaxing in a way I never expected a Porsche to be. Eerie almost.

While I’m always happy to listen to the 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 of the Panamera Turbo burble away in the background, there’s a big appeal in the silence of the hybrid’s electric motor. It’s soothing, and isn’t that what you want from a luxury car? It’s certainly a big part of a Tesla’s appeal.

The 4 E-Hybrid is the result. It shows Porsche looking towards its future, where hybrid- and all-electric cars will become the norm, while acknowledging why people care about the brand in the first place.

A lot is asked of the Panamera 4 E-Hybrid. It has to drive like a Porsche, and preview future technology, all while being a quiet comfortable luxury car. Its remit is to be a lot of things to a lot of different people.

And it is. Not many other cars offer a similar mix of sportiness and effortless, quiet luxury, and it’s quite appealing as a result. But more important than that, the 4 E-Hybrid shows Porsche has its eyes on what’s important. It gives a lot of hope for its next generation of cars.