What Car? Electric Car Awards in association with ONTO
Electric Car Awards 2021: Best hybrid performance car
With electrified cars now coming in all shapes and sizes – and available to suit every budget – we’ve named the best models in every class. Here we look at the best hybrid performance car...
Porsche Panamera 4 E-Hybrid
Compromise is not always compulsory – and here’s why. You might need a comfortable car with four seats that can cover big miles without stopping every couple of hundred miles to recharge, but that doesn’t mean giving up a thrilling driving experience or putting up with heavy fuel consumption and high emissions. Not when Porsche sells the Panamera 4 E-Hybrid.
For starters, its interior feels beautifully put together and suitably special – especially if you put a few ticks on the options list so every surface is covered with leather or Alcantara. Plus, a couple of 6ft-plus adults can sit quite contentedly behind equally tall front seat occupants, and the boot is big enough for everyone to bring along a carry-on suitcase.
When you compare its practicality and feeling of quality with what you get in the 4 E-Hybrid’s chief rival, the Polestar 1, you’ll struggle to believe that the Panamera is £55k cheaper. It feels as though the opposite must be true. And while the Polestar will pip the Panamera to the finishing line in a drag race, the Porsche V6 engine is far more charismatic than the four-cylinder unit you get in the former.
Besides, with a 0-62mph time of 4.4sec, the 4 E-Hybrid is more than fast enough. In fact, performance is so compelling that we wouldn’t bother upgrading to the more powerful – and much more expensive – 4 S E-Hybrid model. Even when you’re running on electric power alone, which you can officially do for up to 33.5 miles, you can keep up with motorway traffic.
The Panamera is really impressive on twisty roads, too. The steering is beautifully weighted and lets you place this big car with incredible precision, and the standard four-wheel drive system delivers terrific traction. Indeed, the Panamera is the very definition of confidence-inspiring to drive, but the adaptive air suspension prevents it from being overly firm.
The standard eight-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox delivers rapid shifts in the sportier driving modes yet can also be super-smooth when you’re in less of a hurry. The brakes are worth a mention here, as well: they’re as progressive as they are powerful – something that’s far from guaranteed in electrified cars.
The Taycan may be the Porsche performance car that’s attracting all the headlines right now, but the Panamera offers many of the same qualities to drivers who are not quite ready to go fully electric. In short, it shows that plug-in hybrids can be exciting, luxurious and easy to live with.
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