Porsche Panamera S E-Hybrid on the road

We hitch a ride in the new 91mpg Porsche Panamera S E-Hybrid

Finally Porsche has delivered a hybrid that offers big advantages over the standard petrol models in the range. The Panamera S E-Hybrid is both quicker and much more efficient than the outgoing car and debuts technology that will eventually feature in all future Porsche Hybrids. Although it is unlikely to replace the conventional engines it could easily convert more buyers to hybrid power. But we will have to wait until we have driven it to deliver our final verdict.

The new Porsche Panamera S E-Hybrid is more efficient than a VW Polo BlueMotion but even faster and more exciting to drive than the outgoing Panamera, so Auto Express jumped at the chance to have a ride in the new model.

The E-Hybrid gets its own unique badges on the wings and across the boot, plus a striking ‘acid’ green finish for the calipers, but those are the only clues that make it stand out from the rest of the facelifted Panamera range.

Porsche claims the combined economy figure for this luxurious two-tonne saloon is a scarcely believable 91mpg, while CO2 emissions are just 71g/km.

Those stunning headline figures have been achieved by fitting a set of lithium-ion batteries that hold five times more energy than before and boosting the power of the electric motor from 47bhp to a more muscular 95bhp.

The effect of all these changes is dramatic and to demonstrate we took a passenger ride near the Hockenheim circuit in Germany to discover how it works.

As our driver sets off, the Panamera automatically pulls away in ‘E-Power’ full electric mode. Building up speed he changes through the gears of the eight-speed auto and shows us the new screen that allows the driver to monitor exactly how much energy is being used and how fast you can go before rousing the engine.

Pure EV range has shot up from just a few hundred meters to 22 miles and as we join the autobahn and accelerate up to 84mph the 3.0-litre supercharged V6 stays silent.

At higher speeds the ride is as comfortable as the standard car and a faint whirr from the motor and roar from the tyres are the only sounds that reach the cabin. Then our driver floors the throttle and the E-Hybrid suddenly delivers the full 416hp and 590Nm output. The engine sounds muted but the extra KERS-style acceleration really pins us back into the sports seats. The 0-62mph time stands at 5.5 seconds – that’s half-a-second quicker than the old Hybrid.

During our run we returned a respectable 60.1mpg over a 20-mile route and averaged 50mph, and spent over half the time running with zero CO2 emissions. Once the battery is depleted an E-Charge mode that is activated via a button on the dash can refill the battery pack while on the move and takes roughly half an hour to get back to 80 per cent full.

A total recharge from the grid takes longer at around four hours from a standard household plug but a handy new Porsche Car Connect iPhone app means you can monitor the charging time remotely or even set the air-con to warm the car up before you set off.

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