How the Porsche Panamera Hybrid Works

Porsche Panamera Overview
The Panamera 4S is an all-wheel-drive version of the latest Porsche model.
The Panamera 4S is an all-wheel-drive version of the latest Porsche model.

No matter how many doors it has, if it wears a Porsche badge, it had better be a performer. Initially, the Panamera will come with two V-8 engines to choose from, and that motor will be situated up front, unlike the rear-engine 911. So, what are the two options?

The engine in the base model Panamera S and all-wheel-drive Panamera 4S is a 4.8-liter V-8 with 400 horsepower and 369 lb-ft. (500.3 newton-meter) of torque. That engine is good enough to propel the car from 0 to 60 miles per hour (0 to 96.6 kilometers per hour) in about 5 seconds, with the 4S being slightly quicker, according to Porsche estimates.

The top model, the Panamera Turbo, sports the same V-8 engine but with a turbocharger bolted on for extra juice. That model will have about 500 horsepower, and Porsche says it will do the 0 to 60 (0 to 96.6) haul in just 4 seconds flat. The latter also has a track-tested top speed of 188 miles per hour (302.6 kilometers per hour) [source: Porsche].

In other words, for a big sedan that weighs about 4,000 pounds (1,814 kilograms), it's expected to have sports-car speed. A 3.6-liter V-6-powered version is also planned.

Like any good performance car, there's more to it than just its engine. The Panamera will feature Porsche's acclaimed PDK transmission, a seven-speed dual clutch gearbox. The PDK transmission will shift gears automatically or let drivers do it themselves. (Read How Dual-clutch Transmissions Work to learn more about these unusual gearboxes.) There's also a six-speed manual transmission for traditionalists.

Another new feature is the car's air ride suspension. This does away with traditional springs and shock absorbers in favor of air pumps that inflate to different volumes based on how firm (or soft) the driver wants the ride to be. With a firmer ride comes better handling, so the car can literally become "a sports car on demand" [source: Reid].

Designers focused on comfort as well as sportiness. The car features two full-sized, individual rear seats and plenty of leg and headroom in the back. With 15 cubic feet (.42 cubic meters) of trunk space, it can accommodate about as much luggage or groceries as a Toyota Camry. The car features a tapered rear end with a strong family resemblance to the 911, so it noticeably looks like a Porsche from the outset [source: Kable and Neff].

"We look at this car as being very unique," Porsche's Gary Fong said. "There's not quite anything like it out there."

So far, we've learned that this sedan should be fast enough to deserve its Porsche badge, but just how "green" will it be? On the next page, we'll examine the planned hybrid version, and showcase some of the car's other eco-friendly features.