The Panamera comes in many different varieties, ranging from the entry-level 3.0-litre V6, through the 4.0-litre V8 diesel found in the Panamera 4S Diesel, to the enormously powerful twin-turbocharged petrol V8 in the Panamera Turbo models. You also have a couple of hybrid options to choose from. So far, we’ve only driven a few versions, the first of those being the 4 E-Hybrid. Thankfully, the news is positive. In electric-only mode, the acceleration is perky and consistent, and Porsche promises a 31-mile range using battery power alone. With petrol engine engaged as well – producing a combined 462 horsepower – the sprint to 62mph takes just 4.6 seconds, (4.7 in the long-wheelbase version) and the pace feels every bit as brawny as it should in a Porsche. The eight-speed PDK gearbox is one of the best dual-clutch transmissions on the market, too; quick to respond and smooth in operation.
We’ve also had a shot in the other hybrid, the Turbo S E-Hybrid, which combines the same electric motor with a twin-turbocharged V8 petrol engine to give a combined output of a whopping 680 horsepower. The character and power delivery is very similar but the car is quite a bit faster. In honesty, it doesn’t feel quite as outrageously ballistic as that fearsome power figure would suggest, but it certainly doesn’t hang about.
The other version we’ve tried is the 4S Diesel, and again, it’s an absolute cracker. Engage the normal driving mode, and it responds eagerly yet smoothly to deliver a docile, easy-going feel. Switch the selector dial round to Sport or Sport Plus mode, and the performance becomes progressively more rabid, with faster, harsher gearshifts, higher revs, sharper responses and considerably more pace. When it’s turned up to eleven, this car has the kind of explosive pace that’ll surprise and delight in equal measure.