Electric Car Awards 2023: 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...

WINNER: Best hybrid performance car

Porsche Panamera 4 E-Hybrid

Electric Car Awards 2023 logo

It's said that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. And while there are cases where introducing plug-in hybrid power to a performance car serves to thoroughly neuter the driving experience, when it comes to the Porsche Panamera 4 E-Hybrid, the exact opposite is true.

You see, a welcome side-effect of electrification (which massively reduces CO2 emissions) is that the 4 E-Hybrid steps on the toes of the much pricier (and thirstier) V8-powered GTS version when it comes to acceleration. Indeed, its 2.9-litre V6 and electric motor combine to produce a hefty 456bhp and a 0-62mph time of just 4.4sec – a mere 0.5sec behind the GTS.

Of course, being a PHEV, the E-Hybrid has the ability to run on electric power alone. Its 17.9kWh battery can officially take it 33 miles, which is farther than the 7.5 miles the rival Mercedes-AMG GT 4-door can manage. As a result, fuel consumption can be impressively low if you keep the battery topped up regularly.

Porsche Panamera 4 E-Hybrid rear static

The best thing, though, is that the 4 E-Hybrid is as much of a joy to drive as any other Panamera. The steering, for instance, is well weighted and precise, and the handling is well balanced. In fact, the E-Hybrid feels keener to dive into a corner than the GTS, partly because the V6 engine means less weight over the front wheels.

You can select between several driving modes to suit your mood or circumstances. Ultra-quiet electric mode is ideal for driving in the city, where it easily keeps up with the flow of traffic. At the other end of the spectrum is Sport Response mode, which puts the engine and motor on full alert to deliver maximum acceleration at a moment’s notice.

In Hybrid mode, meanwhile, the engine and motor work together seamlessly and smoothly for everyday driving, and while the suspension is firm, that means a wonderfully composed motorway ride.

Best hybrid performance car 2022 - Porsche Panamera E-Hybrid dashboard

The interior, too, is a masterpiece. Everything feels beautifully put together and there’s a surprising amount of space; even tall adults will be happy in the back. And while there’s marginally less luggage space than in other Panameras, the E-Hybrid still has enough for a good few holiday suitcases.

In this case, plug-in hybrid power adds much more than it takes away. As a performance car, the fact that we recommend the 4 E-Hybrid over the superfast GTS speaks volumes.

For all the latest reviews, advice and new car deals, sign up to the What Car? newsletter here

See all of our Electric Car Awards 2023 winners >>