The second Panamera plug-in hybrid, due sometime before the end of 2017, will pack Porsche’s twin-turbo 4.0-litre V8 beneath its bonnet.
The new Panamera Turbo’s 404kW engine will be teamed with the company’s even newer plug-in hybrid system, revealed at the launch of the Panamera 4 E-Hybrid in South Africa.
Without being explicit, Porsche executives and engineers at that event made it clear that the company’s latest E-Hybrid tech has a big role to play in the future of both Panamera and Cayenne.
Adopting an electric boost strategy developed for the exotic, limited-production Porsche 918 Spyder plug-in hybrid, the electric motor sandwiched between the Panamera 4 E-Hybrid’s twin-turbo 2.9-litre V6 and eight-speed double-clutch transmission adds a 100kW and 400Nm kick.
The same electric hardware working with Porsche’s V8 would push total system output through the 500kW barrier. The car could be badged Panamera Turbo E-Hybrid, and its performance will be, to use an appropriate cliché, electrifying.
Porsche hybrid drivetrain manager Daniel Semmler confirmed the second Panamera hybrid would be quicker. “The second car will have more power, more total power,” he said. “The total performance will be increased.”
The engineer explained that Porsche’s new plug-in hybrid is very different from the Gen I tech introduced in the Porsche Panamera and Porsche Cayenne in 2013-14. “In the first generation we had a focus on the efficiency,” Semmler said. “We were using components which were also used for other cars in the Volkswagen Group, because we have to look for the synergies for the first generation.”
Growing hybrid sales meant Porsche could invest in designing its own all-new Gen II hybrid system to suit its big front-engine models, reducing the emphasis on efficiency.
“The new hybrid strategy means hybrid stands for additional performance,” said Stefan Utsch, Panamera sales and marketing director. “With the predecessor Panamera you needed to push the sports button, you had to push the accelerator pedal at least 80 percent, and you have to fulfil specific requirements concerning how fast you open. With the new one, it’s right from the beginning. When you start to tip in, the boost is there.”
Utsch explained that the new double-clutch transmission introduced in the Gen II Panamera is designed to be able to combine hybrid tech with any engine used in the big hatchback. “Very important is that we have this new eight-gear PDK, that has the space for every (engine) variant to integrate the electric motor.” This includes the Panamera Turbo’s V8, which is the obvious way to deliver the performance gains promised by Semmler.
The flexibility Porsche has designed into the E-Hybrid means it will be widely used. “It’s part of our strategy for several models,” admitted Daniel Semmler. This suggests both V6 and V8 plug-in hybrid versions are on the way for Porsche’s big SUV, which has always shared powertrain tech with the Panamera. “For the Cayenne plug-in is always an option,” said Semmler. “It’s available at the moment, and it will be available in the future.”
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