It’s well known that Porsche hopes to launch a hybrid version of its Panamera sedan sometime next year, but is the company also working on a plug-in hybrid variant?
According to the company’s newly installed CEO and president, the answer is yes — and quite possibly one with a turbocharged V-8.
Mathias Muller, Porsche’s new CEO and president, just told a press roundtable that the company has at least one Panamera plug-in hybrid in the works. Muller noted he recently drove a Panamera PHEV mule, and the company is presently studying a business case for such a model.
Remarkably, this PHEV hybrid wasn’t built upon the standard Panamera Hybrid powertrain, which pairs a 3.6-liter V-6 with a 34-kW electric motor Instead, the test car was allegedly based upon the Panamera Turbo, which utilizes a 500-horsepower, 4.8-liter twin-turbocharged V-8.
Pairing such a hot engine with a hybrid system may seem unusual, but it could allow drivers to leave the engine off in daily driving, reserving the powerful V-8 for high-spirited jaunts or track days. That’s a similar notion to what Porsche pitched with its 918 Spyder concept, which was recently approved for production (Muller noted only 918 examples will be manufactured, and roughly 257 are destined for North America).
Will the Panamera Turbo plug-in hybrid follow the 918 to a production line? It isn’t certain, but we wouldn’t be surprised. Muller is emphatic that Porsche’s future is tied to alternative powertrain, and notes his time behind the wheel was “very convincing.”
We hear Porsche brass will make a final decision on the project by the end of the year — here’s hoping they, along with Volkswagen management, share Muller’s enthusiasm.