The fully functioning concept also showcases a new plug-in hybrid drive system, dubbed e-hybrid. It uses a more powerful version of the existing Panamera Hybrid’s brushless synchronous electric motor, mounted within the forward section of the gearbox housing and delivering 94bhp. It is supported by the same supercharged 328bhp 3.0-litre V6 petrol engine used today.
Together, the electric motor and petrol engine provide the big estate with a combined output of 410bhp –sufficient to propel it from 0-62mph in less than a claimed six seconds, while providing combined fuel consumption of “better than” 80.7mpg and CO2 emissions below 82g/km. A 9.4kWh lithium ion battery mounted low in the boot floor replaces the nickel-hydride unit in the current Panamera Hybrid, and features plug-in compatibility.
Porsche claims an all-electric range of 18.6 miles at up to 81mph – values that are likely to be reflected on a facelifted version of the existing Panamera. It will be the first to adopt the new driveline. No wild pipe dream, then, but a genuine production-based driveline.
There’s a contemporary look to the cabin and inviting, iPad-like simplicity to the dashboard and centre console – both of which mimic the look of the 918 Spyder. There is little to complain about in the cabin of the existing Panamera, but its controls are dauntingly cluttered around the driver. The Sport Turismo showcases a simpler touchscreen system tipped to feature on future models.
The layout gives an organised feel from behind the beautifully proportioned steering wheel, while leather and aluminium trims provide an upmarket ambience. Accommodation up front feels little changed from today’s Panamera. The rear is a bit more cramped because of the concept’s pair of large individual seats, while more cargo capacity is afforded by the more upright rear end. Porsche won’t yet reveal figures but there’s likely to be at least 500 litres – a 55-litre improvement on the liftback.
What's it like?
Before I get under way, the Sport Turismo needs to be unplugged from the charger that is claimed to be able to top up its battery in just two and a half hours. Tread firmly on the brake, hit the starter button and there's little in the way of aural excitement, just a faint whirring as the ignition is tripped.
Even so, it's well mannered and genuinely fun to drive. You can whip it down the road with utter confidence, relying on the fluid actions and response that you might expect of a true production car. This is not something you could say of most concepts. The steering is nicely resolved, too: direct away from the straight-ahead and weighty as lock increases. It could use a little more low-speed feedback and a greater eagerness to self-centre, but the electro-mechanical system operates with conviction and precision.
The ride is a bit fidgety at low speeds, partly because of the lack of any real profile within the 265/35 front and 295/35 rear tyres. However, the car settles as speeds increase, and by the time we’re cruising it’s almost comfortable and the overall refinement is impressive. That said, the roads around our Beverly Hills test route are among the smoothest in America, so the fairly conventional steel-spring suspension isn’t overly taxed. The brakes feel over-servoed, biting hard within the first couple of degrees of modulation, but prove manageable enough.
Despite its generous dimensions, the estate doesn’t feel oversized or ponderous. A rethink of the glasshouse brings shallower side glass, a larger fixed rear three-quarter window and a more heavily angled tailgate. Visibility is impressive, although this has more to do with the high-set driver’s seat than anything. Note for the production team: lower the squab and provide a more sporting driving position.