According to a recent study from Germany, plug-in hybrid cars aren't actually any more efficient than regular non-hybrids when you factor in the way people tend to drive. Even if that's true, we'll still be fans of the PHEVs for a long time — not just for their ability to deliver zero-emission in-town driving and easy long-range travel in one package, but because they can spin up some seriously wild power outputs.
Case in point: the new Porsche Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid, the most powerful Panamera ever to come out of Zuffenhausen.
By combining a 563-hp twin turbo 4.0-liter V8 and a 134-hp electric motor powered by a 17.9-kWh battery, the new Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid spits out sums of 689 horsepower and 643 lb-ft of torque. That's a gain of 12 horses and 17 torques over the previous version, which hopefully should be enough to knock two-tenths of a second off the old model's 0-60 mph acceleration time, bringing it down from 3.2 to three flat. (Car and Driver found the old version could do it in 2.9, however, so we're betting the new model will duck further into the twos.)
The Turbo S E-Hybrid may be the Panamera range-topper, but it's hardly the sole plug-in Panamera. As previously mentioned when the new Porsche launched, the 2021 Panamera 4S E-Hybrid uses the same electric motor and battery as the Turbo S E-Hybrid but weds it to a 2.9-liter twin-turbo V6 for a maximum of 553 horsepower. (That puts it right in line with the output of the outgoing Panamera Turbo, which is part of the reason that model has been phased out for 2021.)
There's a new "base model" plug-in hybrid Panamera in the mix, as well. The Panamera 4 E-Hybrid now uses the same powertrain as the 4S, but the gas motor has been detuned; as a result, the powertrain's total max output lands at 455 horsepower. If that sounds wimpy, remember that the first Panamera Turbo of just 10 years ago made 493 horses.
The PHEV Panameras are all available in a choice of three different body styles: regular fastback sedan, long-wheelbase Executive sedan for those who'd rather ride in back for some reason, and Sport Turismo station wagon for people who understand how cool the idea of a near-700-hp wagon is. Pricing hasn't been announced yet — that'll come closer to the on-sale date of next spring — but expect a slight bump from the current MSRPs, which start just above $100,000 and top out just shy of $200K.
But if all this still hasn't been enough to convince you that PHEVs are anything more than a master-of-none solution between internal combustion and full electric propulsion...well, that's why Porsche also sells a 620-hp gas-powered Panamera Turbo S and a 750-hp Taycan Turbo S.