Porsche Panamera Hybrid is good long-distance cruiser; Weekend planning needs better attention; TVR's recovery is cause for hope
Steve Cropley Autocar
13 July 2015

MONDAY - Back to work after a 350-mile weekend in our Porsche Panamera plug-in hybrid, a fascinating experience because although one associates Porsches with efficiency, decent fuel economy is at best a by-product of what they offer.

Just as well, it turns out: my gently driven 35mpg wasn’t so different from what I get from our V6 diesel Range Rover Sport, a heavier car with a bigger frontal area. 

Still, in nearly every dynamic way the Panamera is a fine car. I loved the consistent feeling of deliberateness and precision about every pedal, lever and switch, faithfully imported from the sports cars, and the long wheelbase and low seating made it high-miles comfortable despite suspension rates that also made it steer and handle.

The plug-in Panamera’s conclusive advantage is that, if bought by a business, it qualifies for a 100% first-year write-down because its 15 to 17-mile electric range drops its CO2 below the critical 75g/km threshold. Good wheeze if this applies to you, although I’m not sure our government should be buying Porsches for the business community.

TUESDAY - There’s rising concern about the suitability of diesel cars for our future motoring needs. As you’ll be aware, a recent campaign by various academics and a Sunday newspaper has made an impressive case for believing that legislators erred in the past by emphasising reduced CO2 levels instead of better air quality (lower NOx and particulates), a strategy that  encouraged more diesel sales.

How does this affect me? We continue to prevaricate at home over replacing the Steering Committee’s 58-plate Fiat 500 diesel, a car that complies with the outgoing Euro 5 emissions regulations, not the much tougher Euro 6 standards that are due to be introduced this September.

After September, particulates limits will drop to a tenth of what they were in 2000, while NOx will have fallen 84% in the same period. Truth is that Euro 6 diesels are very clean, yet with our comparatively high degree of knowledge on the subject, we’re still having the petrol versus diesel debate at home.

I’m pretty sure we’ll finish up with diesel again (missus enjoys the low-end torque), but I’m also pretty sure new oil-burners are going to get harder to sell in future. And what of all the old-tech but perfectly healthy diesel cars? Reckon they could become a real problem.

WEDNESDAY - With Le Mans, Goodwood and the British GP out of the way, I always feel a degree of concern, because the season is more than half over and my head is still in April. 

Once again I’ve already missed some favourite events – Cholmondeley, the Brooklands Double Twelve – and I’m going to miss the Silverstone Classic and umpteen fixtures at Prescott and Shelsley Walsh. It’s only July and I’m writing 2016’s first resolution, which is the same every year: organise your weekends better…

THURSDAY - Rang TVR boss Les Edgar following news that he and his partners are to take deposits on new cars (due in 2017) from prospective owners seeking early delivery. He has been delighted with the response, revealing that thousands had already signified their interest online and “several hundred” were offering money to join a waiting list even before such a thing existed.

This exciting response is much more than an enticing commercial opportunity. It is a heartening affirmation, by Britain’s battalions of sports car enthusiasts, that the new TVR’s principals have chosen the right partners – Gordon Murray for the chassis and styling, Cosworth for the powertrain – and are right on track. How many years has it been since we’ve been able to say that?

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Comments
8

13 July 2015
Steve, you are still refusing to acknowledge or comment on concerns that even Euro 6 diesels fall well short of claimed emissions targets in real world conditions. Readers deserve better than to be fobbed off with the line that Euro 6 diesels are 'very clean'. Are they really?

13 July 2015
The problem as I see it this whole environmental issue regarding emissions and global warming has been politicised, the facts are not reported in an unbalanced way in the media or scientific journals, the reason is the research is all government funded with a specific outcome in mind which railroads the scientific community into delivering global warming propaganda. The results that don't fit this global warming agenda don't get the air time as the media is controlled.
This is a classic problem solution dialect, the problem is "we are all causing the planet to warm"-the solution a carbon tax. But how to implement a global tax regime? Well, we need a NEW WORLD ORDER with global taxation powers overruling National Sovereignty. The facts is our elected officials are nothing more than puppets controlled by a Global Cabal.

 Offence can only be taken not given- so give it back!

13 July 2015
DBtechnician wrote:

The problem as I see it this whole environmental issue regarding emissions and global warming has been politicised, the facts are not reported in an unbalanced way in the media or scientific journals, the reason is the research is all government funded with a specific outcome in mind which railroads the scientific community into delivering global warming propaganda. The results that don't fit this global warming agenda don't get the air time as the media is controlled.
This is a classic problem solution dialect, the problem is "we are all causing the planet to warm"-the solution a carbon tax. But how to implement a global tax regime? Well, we need a NEW WORLD ORDER with global taxation powers overruling National Sovereignty. The facts is our elected officials are nothing more than puppets controlled by a Global Cabal.

That escalated quickly!

13 July 2015
'Global warming propaganda' - utter rubbish. Wishing something were different does not make it so. There is an overwhelming scientific consensus on global warming - those denying it are on the same side as the creationists, and choosing make believe over evidence.

13 July 2015
Agreed, cynical mealy-mouthed info. The real world emissions of even Euro 6 is highly suspect. This magazine itself is continually referring to the real world CO2 emissions as opposed to the number the manufacturers slap on it for sale and there is nothing to say that the NOx figures will not be similarly massaged. And then we haven't even started on how diesel engines notoriously degrade and become more polluting over time in comparison to a well maintained petrol. Hope your wife continues to enjoy her low-end torque whilst the rest of us suck in your fumes..

13 July 2015
Steve, would you be prepared to submit the old Fiat 500 to a test to see what is actually coming out of its Euro5 exhaust? I would love to know if a cared for (i am sure all your cars are cared for) 7 year old diesel is still anywhere near the claimed NOx and particulate levels from when new. It would make an interesting read.

13 July 2015
The figures are quite clear that the planet is warming and our climate is changing. How much of that is due to natural factors and how much is down to human activity is up for debate, but I for one am pretty certain that 7 billion people consuming the planet's resources at current levels will be having, at best, a noticeable effect. As for Euro 6 diesels - I share Artill's reservations. I'm sure they meet Euro 6 emissions levels when brand new and tested in a laboratory but I do not know of a single Euro 6 diesel that actually meets it's claimed economy (and by extension its emissions levels) in the real world, let alone after 100,000 miles. But if we're criticising diesels, modern small capacity turbo petrols fall a long way short of their claimed economy and emissions too.

15 July 2015
There really is no debate left to have. Read the Kings College report on NO2 and PM2.5 and all the others. Diesel is a dirty engine choice and considerably more lethal than petrol. No domestic user needs it or should buy it and in time the taxation system and low emission zones in cities will reflect this. Just a shame it will not happen quickly enough, and that the power of the car manufacturers has influenced policy and the motoring press for far too long.

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