Cars are just getting more and more confusing. Just a few years ago, if you’d told me I would be reviewing a large, luxury car that got over 30 miles per gallon and had a top speed of 168 miles per hour, I’d have said you were crazy. Add to that the fact that it is a Porsche, and a 4-door one at that, I would think you had been drinking, but that is exactly what I had over the holidays with the 2012 Porsche Panamera S hybrid.
This car is a technology marvel, it really is. Porsche dropped a 380-horse V6 under the hood and supercharged it. Then they hooked it to an 8-speed automatic transmission and an electric battery-powered motor which operates at slower speeds. The transitions between gas and electric power are seamless. It will run up to 50 miles per hour on the batteries only, although it won’t go long on just electric.
When cruising on the highway, it will run on just the batteries for short periods of time, allowing the 30-plus miles per gallon I achieved. It goes into a “sailing mode” of sorts. As I said, the technology is amazing in this very large, spacious, luxury sedan.
Forget the hybrid piece of the puzzle for a second, the Panamera is probably the best driving and handling car I have ever been in. The interior is as nice as any Audi or Mercedes Benz I have ever driven. From the driver’s seat, you get a true sensation of being in a jumbo jet cockpit. I cannot do it justice with words, you just have to experience it.
I enjoyed this car every single time I got behind the wheel. It feels solid and the weight distribution is just incredible, I haven’t said that about very many hybrids. Porsche did an amazing job with everything about this car.
What I liked most: The drive and handling of the car, the interior is awesome.
What I would change: Honestly, not a thing.
Fuel Economy: Rated at 22 city and 30 highway, actual mileage 32 highway.
2012 Panamera S hybrid in a few words: An engineering marvel.