Porsche has revealed images and new details about its second hybrid model, the Panamera S Hybrid sedan, which will hit American dealerships by the end of the year with a starting price of $95,000. The car will be unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show in March, taking its place as the sixth and by far most fuel-efficient member of Porsche’s Panamera lineup.
The carmaker’s first dual-powertrain offering was the Cayenne S Hybrid, a $67,700 SUV that it released in November. Like the Cayenne, the Pamamera hybrid will offer significant fuel economy gains over its non-hybrid platform-mates without losing much in the way performance. But this time around, Porsche fans won’t have to pay a massive $21,000 hybrid premium to get an improvement in fuel economy over the standard model. The Panamera starts at just $5,200 more than its base equivalent, and even comes loaded with several standard features you won’t find in the cheaper package.
Porsche’s new hybrid will utilize the same dual powertrain combo as the Cayenne S—a supercharged 3.0 liter, 330 horsepower gasoline engine, supplemented by a 47 horsepower electric motor and nickel metal hydride battery pack. With a combined max output of 380 horsepower, the car comes in just 20 horsepower behind its non-hybrid sibling.
The S Hybrid can drive for about one mile on battery power alone, and uses a stop-start system to cut fuel consumption at highway speeds by decoupling the clutch when driver releases the accelerator—instantaneously reactivating it once the gas pedal is again pressed.
Though official EPA numbers for the car won’t be released until later this year,
Porsche says the Panamera hybrid achieves a 34.5 mpg fuel efficiency rating under the European test cycle (which is known to be significantly more generous than the EPA standard.) Still, that’s a significant improvement compared to the non-hybrid Panamera models—the most efficient of which gets just 25.3 mpg under the European tests.
The pricing scheme for Porsche’s 2012 Panamera offerings seems to almost be daring prospective customers to “go hybrid.” And with the Corporate Average Fuel Economy standard in the midst of a steady rise to levels well beyond most models in Porsche’s lineup, it’s easy to see why the carmaker is gearing up to make the hard sell on its most efficient models.