Porsche says it's building a premium four-door sedan with serious performance that also has some environmental benefits. But Porsche isn't the only company doing this. With the Panamera costing between $89,000 and $132,000, there are several other sedans in this price range that offer speed, luxury and improved fuel economy.
Mercedes-Benz is taking a similar approach to Porsche with a hybrid version of their top-of-the-line S-Class sedan. Dubbed the S400 Hybrid, this car uses an electric motor to back up a 3.5-liter V-6 engine, all to achieve about 30 miles per gallon (12.8 kilometers per liter). The car is priced to compete with the Panamera, and diesel versions have shown up on the auto show circuit as well [source: Poole].
For those who want to take a more unconventional approach, there's the all-new Fisker Karma -- a four-door luxury sedan with plug-in hybrid technology. That means plugging your car in to a socket while it's stored in your garage can recharge the batteries that drive the electric motor. In fact, Fisker claims the car can travel 50 miles (80.5 kilometers) on electric power alone. Then, the four-cylinder engine kicks in to turn a generator which drives the car on electricity once more. With a 0 to 60 miles per hour (0 to 96.6 kilometers per hour) time in the 5-second range, the Karma is no slouch in the speed department either [source: Johnson].
If, for you, comfort and luxury are more of a selling point than performance, there's always the Lexus LS Hybrid. The world's first V-8 hybrid has been around for a while, and with Lexus' proven record for reliability, is the kind of car that can remain in your garage as long as you need it there. The Lexus V-8 hybrid engine puts out 439 horsepower. While it is faster than the standard LS, the hybrid version only achieves slightly better fuel economy -- 22 miles per gallon (9.4 kilometers per liter) on the highway [source: Leftlanenews.com].
Though all of these cars offer a lot for the money, none of them can seemingly match the Panamera Hybrid in terms of pure speed. Time will tell whether or not this car is the ultimate hybrid sport sedan.
For more information about the hybrid cars and other related topics, follow the links below.
Related HowStuffWorks Articles
- Fong, Gary. Product Communications Manager, Cayenne and Panamera, Porsche Cars North America. Personal interview. Conducted April 14, 2009.
- Johnson, Drew. "Fisker Karma pre-production model." Leftlanenews.com. Jan. 11, 2009. (May 18, 2009) http://www.leftlanenews.com/fisker-karma.html
- Johnson, Erik. "Porsche Panamera Hybrid - Car News." Car and Driver. January 2008. (May 18, 2009)http://www.caranddriver.com/reviews/hot_lists/high_performance/furious_four_doors/porsche_panamera_hybrid_car_news
- Kable, Greg and Natalie Neff. "Porsche Panamera designer focused on rear-seat passengers." AutoWeek. April 6, 2009. (May 18, 2009) http://www.autoweek.com/article/20090406/CARNEWS/904069991
- Leftlanenews.com. "Lexus LS 600h L." (May 18, 2009) http://www.leftlanenews.com/lexus-ls-600h-l.html
- Poole, Chris. "2010 Mercedes-Benz S-Class Hybrid Review and Prices." Consumer Guide Automotive. (May 18, 2009) https://consumerguideauto.howstuffworks.com/2010-mercedes-benz-s-class-hybrid.htm
- Porsche Cars North America Media Central. (May 18, 2009) http://press.porsche.com
- Reid, Rory. "Porsche Panamera: Has wings, rides on air." CNET UK. March 19, 2009. (May 18, 2009) http://crave.cnet.co.uk/cartech/0,250000513,49301618,00.htm