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2018 Porsche Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid At Nardo Racetrack

We sure hope that at least some buyers have racetrack club memberships because this rig digs track time. During a hot 2:52.2 lap of Porsche’s 3.9-mile Nardò handling circuit in Italy’s boot-heel with Porsche test driver Lars Kern at the helm (he set a 7:38.40 Nürburgring lap time in a Panamera Turbo last June) three passengers enjoyed decidedly unsedanly g forces in all directions—levels that the car’s rear entertainment self-reported as 1.16 g turning left and 1.48 turning right (always on an even keel, thanks to the 48-volt active anti-roll bar system), and 1.34 g during our slingshot launch. The comparatively modest 0.87 g braking force reported suggests there was plenty of regen-braking going on, allowing 0.3 g of that energy to go back into the battery (running in Sport+ mode, the powertrain assists in keeping the battery topped up). Indeed, after two three-lap sessions, the reported electric range only dropped from 23 to 19 miles. And with no cars to pass, Lars never pressed the Sport Response (press-to-pass) button, which maximizes E-boost for 20 seconds. Might this E-Hybrid eclipse the Turbo’s ‘Ring time? Maybe. It weighs 700 pounds more, but the weight-to-power drops from 8.0 to 7.6 pounds/hp and its center of gravity moves aft a skosh and down 0.4 inch.

The beating heart of this beast is a 542-hp, 567-lb-ft twin-turbo V-8 bolted to a 134-hp, 295-lb-ft electric motor that fills the otherwise emptyish space in the bell housing of a spanking new ZF eight-speed PDK transmission. The electrons it employs flow in and out of a 14.1-kWh battery pack. Do the hybrid math (or strap one to a dyno), and you end up with 671 horsepower and an impressive 627 lb-ft of torque that remains constant across a ludicrously broad band from 1,400 to 6,000 rpm.

Now about that “affordable” part: The $185,450 asking price (add $10,400 for the long-wheelbase Executive version) represents a tiny fraction of the going rate for a 918 Spyder, but the premium over the next-swankiest Panamera Turbo is a steep $37,500. The claimed 0-60-mph time of 3.2 seconds and top speed of 192 mph only outpace the base Turbo by 0.4 second and 2 mph, so that doesn’t pencil out too flatteringly. The Euro-spec gas/electric combined fuel economy rating is 81 mpg-e, but let’s assume nobody’s buying this car for that. Relative to the V-6 Panamera 4 E-Hybrid we recently drove in South Africa, the V-8’s 215-hp, 111-lb-ft improvement nets a 1.2-second drop in 0-60 mph and a 20-mph boost in top speed, but the price difference would buy a second base Panamera ($85,000).

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