Porsche Panamera hybrid gets plugged-in

While electric cars continue to, well, electrify the media and even charge up EV sales among the public, hybrids continue their relentless march across all auto makes, including luxury brands.

Of course, you’d think that if you can afford a car in the six-figure bracket, high fuel economy wouldn’t exactly be on your “must-have” list.

Lux sports car maker Porsche started selling the hybrid version of its Panamera sedan back in late 2011 as a 2012 model. Powered by a potent 3.0-liter V-6 and 35 kW electric motor, the 2012 Panamera gushed out 380 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque.

Its fuel economy, an EPA-estimated 22 mpg city, 30 mpg highway, and 25 mpg combined, were on the lower end among hybrid sedans, but gas-sipping compared to sibling Panamera Turbo, which gets 15 mpg city, 23 highway, and 18 mpg combined.

Porsche now follows the plug-in hybrid pack with the Panamera S E-Hybrid. As expected, the biggest changes are found underneath the hood. Motor power output doubles to 70 kW while the antiquated nickel-metal-hydride battery is dumped and replaced with one made of lithium-ion. The automaker estimates the new potent powerplant generates 416 combined ponies, with the sedan able to charge up to 60 mph from a dead stop in 5.5 seconds, a half second shaved from last year’s model. Oh, and top speed’s 168 mph. Celebrities, this is your car to escape the paparazzi!

When needing to go stealth quiet, the Panamera S E-Hybrid can travel up to 22 miles using pure electrons. Note this figure’s based on New European Driving Cycle testing. (Think Old World version of the EPA). Porsche paints a more realistic 11-22 mile range. Speed’s limited up to 82 mph in this mode.

The E-Hybrid’s a plug-in, right? According to Porsche, it takes around 2-2.5 hours to recharge the Panamera’s batteries using an “industrial outlet” while less than four with a standard one.

We’re going to assume the company’s talking about European voltage figures, so we’re doubling those numbers for the American version. We’ll post the official U.S. charging figures – as well as pricing, guesstimated mpgs, etc. – once that information becomes available.

* Joel Arellano, EarthTechling