2018 Porsche Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid first drive review: the 918 Spyder distilled Page 2

Back on the highway and allowed to stretch its legs, the Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid relaxes. Left in default mode, it pulls power from the battery at all times to supplement the V-8. A Hybrid Auto mode prioritizes the battery for electric-only driving at lower speeds and under light engine loads.

Ignore the instrument cluster and there’s little evidence that there’s much going on under the Turbo S E-Hybrid’s hood. Its V-8 is as suppressed as road and wind noise. The Panamera’s three-mode sport suspension is commendably soft while still thoroughly buttoned down in its standard configuration. Triple digit speeds are a mere press of the throttle away.

Tap a tiny button located in the drivetrain mode selector dial and it’s obvious that this version of the Panamera was designed to please those who grew up in the video game era. Porsche bills the innocuous switch as its “Sport Response” button, but it’s more akin to a boost function, albeit an electric one. It saves up battery power and provides 20 seconds of thunderous overtaking grunt.

A whole new Porsche

Porsche offers the Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid in two configurations, standard and Executive. The Executive’s 10-inch-longer wheelbase affords it more rear seat room, and it comes standard with the automaker’s desirable rear-wheel steering setup. It's as much an aid to corner carving as it is to straight-line stability.

It’s hard to rationalize any Panamera, really, but at about $185,000 to start, the Turbo S E-Hybrid is undisputedly the king of the lineup. It’s nearly $40,000 more than the standard Turbo, but from an automaker that charges tens of thousands to wrap just about everything inside in leather, price is rarely a factor. You could add another Porsche or two to your fleet if you stuck only with the Panamera 4 E-Hybrid; it’s down 215 hp and lacks the insane urgency of the Turbo S E-Hybrid, but it’s hardly a slouch.

Do you really need this kind of performance from a sedan that tips the scales at 5,100 pounds even before a walkthrough of the lengthy optional equipment list? Of course not, but that’s not the point here.

What the Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid really does illustrate is the rapid evolution of the Porsche brand. Today, about 40 years after the first 911 Turbo, almost every Porsche is turbocharged (with or without the Turbo name). Odds are it’ll take a lot less than 40 years for Stuttgart’s high-performance brand to electrify its entire lineup.

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