Company Car Today

First Drive

First Drive: Porsche Panamera PHEV

The story: Porsche’s revised Panamera now has three different plug-in hybrid alternatives, and this 462hp ‘entry’ model gets under 50g/km for lower company car tax
Key rival:BMW 8-Series
On sale:Now

This Porsche Panamera 4 E-Hybrid is the least powerful of three Panamera plug-ins, although it still provides more than 450hp and has a price of more than £80,000. But when compared with the 4S e-Hybrid’s 571hp and £101,690 or the newly added Turbo S E-Hybrid at more than £140,000 and 700hp, it’s all relative.

The 4 E-Hybrid gets below 50g/km as long as you don’t add too many options, and has an official electric-only range of up to 35 miles; the Sports saloon shape driven here is a touch more efficient than the Sport Turismo version.

As well as the widened PHEV line-up, the Panamera’s front end is slightly revised depending on model, while the infotainment system gets improved voice control, wireless Apple CarPlay and the Risk Radar system that searches for road sign and hazard information.First Drive- February 2021- Porsche Panamera hybrid- Image 4

The 2.9-litre Bi-Turbo engine gives a lovely roar as it takes off, and feels as rapid as a 4.4-second 0-62mph time suggests. From the driver’s seat it feels nimble, quick and responsive, and it rides well over most surfaces. It’s a little sluggish in electric mode, with the EV system feeling very much the low-speed back-up rather than something you’d want to run on when looking to exploit the car’s performance.

On the inside, the Panamera’s cockpit is much neater and less cluttered than previous iterations, but boot space is significantly impacted; at 403 litres in the Sports Saloon and 418 in the Sport Turismo, there’s around 20% less than in the regular petrol model. There’s decent rear passenger space, however.

paul barker

The verdict

This is about as sensible as Porsches get. The most affordable level of the three Panamera PHEVs is rapid and nimble but also efficient (if regularly plugged in) and practical.