| Aziz Idris in Singapore |
WHEN you think of Porsche, you probably picture a 911, the rear-engine sports car now in its 56th year of production. But did you also know the company invented the hybrid automobile back in 1900 known as ‘Semper Vivus’.
It was Ferdinand Porsche’s first creations, using a pair of single-cylinder engines coupled to 2.5kW generators that fed power into a massive battery pack. The technology didn’t catch on at the time, but fast forward more than a century and today the company is still a leader in hybrid technology.
Porsche Asia Pacific welcomed media from across the region to test-drive the Panamera 4 E-Hybrid Sport Turismo on the roads of Singapore from February to March 2019, as it sets the stage for the premiere of the first fully-electric Porsche, Taycan, later this year.
The regional media drive represents the first time media is able to experience the plug-in hybrid model in the city-state. This event brings Porsche’s E-Performance strategy to life by showcasing Porsche’s unique technology that combines best-in-class performance and everyday usability.
E-Performance is a core tenet of Porsche’s future strategy. By 2025, Porsche predicts that around half of the new cars it delivers will be electrically-powered models, whether fully-electric or plug-in hybrids.
The regional media drive provides a platform to showcase the Panamera 4 E-Hybrid Sport Turismo that forms part of the brand’s strategy of offering efficient vehicles that also perfectly serve as everyday sports cars.
With the Taycan scheduled to be globally unveiled later this year before hitting showrooms in 2020, this regional media drive comes at the perfect time to introduce the plug-in hybrid version of the Panamera.
At Porsche, the term “hybrid” is synonymous not only with sustainable mobility, but also performance – a fact proven by the victory of the 919 Hybrid in the 24 Hours of Le Mans race consecutively in 2015, 2016 and 2017. This philosophy now defines the Panamera 4 E-Hybrid Sport Turismo, which delivers 340 kW or 462 horsepower of combined system power.
Two Bruneian media representatives had the opportunity to get up close and personal with the plug-in hybrid version of the Panamera in Singapore recently upon the invitation of QAF Eurokars, the the official importer and dealer of Porsche vehicle in the Sultanate.
The test drive route began from Oasia Hotel in downtown Singapore, where the media drove through the narrow streets on the way to the iconic Marina Bay area. This is followed by a drive along the costal freeway to the Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal. Other places visited include the Kent Ridges Park and the six-lane highway at Lim Chu Kang , near the construction of the new Terminal 5 site of Changi International Airport.
With an AWD (All-wheel drive) drivetrain, the Panamera handles well for its size. It’s still a heavy and large car, but during nearly all but the sharpest turns, it takes corners like a vehicle a fraction of its size while cruising around town.
The cabin is vast, thanks to the Panamera’s width. Up front, the driver and passenger are separated by a wide centre console. The most noticeable change compared to the first-gen Panamera is an almost total absence of physical buttons on that console. Although Porsche still believes in dozens of individual controls for the climate control, seats, and suspension, now they’re touch controls underneath a uniform glossy black surface.
The cockpit is dominated by a large 12.3-inch touchscreen for the Porsche Communication Management infotainment system whereby the screen has a proximity sensor making a seamless travel while using the GPS system in a foreign country.
The Sport Turismo utilises all the innovations introduced with the new Panamera model line. This includes the digital Porsche Advanced Cockpit, pioneering assistance systems such as adaptive cruise control, chassis systems such as rear axle steering, the Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control (PDCC Sport) electronic roll stabilisation system and powerful powertrains.
In addition, all Panamera Sport Turismo vehicles are equipped with Porsche Traction Management (PTM) – an active all-wheel drive system with electronically controlled multi-plate clutch – as standard.
The Panamera 4 E-Hybrid Sport Turismo packs a full 2.9-litre bi-turbo V6 under the hood, an engine that by itself offers 330 horsepower and 331 lb-ft of torque.
To that, Porsche adds an electric motor contributing a further 136 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque.