When you talk about Porsche you expect many things. Chiefly phenomenal sports cars, winning Le Mans more than anyone else, Stubborn designers, and German pathological attention to detail and quality. Things you don’t expect are the letter “V” in front of a 6 or the word wagon.
In 2012, Porsche unveiled its Panamera Sport Turismo concept and it was a 3-liter, V6, plug in hybrid, wagon. Probably the most un-Porsche sentence in the history of Germany. Narrowly beating out the secret meetings where someone (gasp) suggested they make a car with the engine in the front. But here’s the kicker, the Panamera Sport Turismo is awesome. It is by far and away the best Panamera ever built. You may wonder why. It’s far from the most powerful or capable Panamera. It has the words plug, in, and hybrid sitting front and center. Those of you who know me know that these aren’t exactly my 3 favorite automotive words. I may have been accused recently of actively trying to INCREASE my carbon footprint. Truth be told, I don’t mind hybrids. I specifically don’t mind how they’re being used to improve performance.
So why are we talking about a concept from 2012? A few days ago spy photos surfaced on the internet. They are unquestionably a test mule of a Panamera wagon of some sort. The logical conclusion is that the Panamera Sport Turismo is no longer a concept and is now in the development phase. This is excellent news. Why? Because wagons are awesome. Specifically sports wagons. Sport wagons are my preferred family vehicle over SUVs. They offer all of the convenience of an SUV with the fun of a sports sedan. Drop the kids off at soccer practice and have some fun on the back roads on the drive home. This makes them the ideal vehicle for the family man/woman who still wants to go for a drive every now and again.
The Panamera Sport Turismo is the opposite of most wagons. Most wagons don’t look as good as their sedan siblings. The Sport Turismo looks vastly superior to the normal Panamera. I am with the large contingent of people who never liked the looks of the Panamera. It never looked properly proportioned. They are amazing to drive, but the aesthetic doesn’t live up to the performance. Enter the Sport Turismo Concept. It looks awesome and is, without question, the best looking Panamera ever. I’d buy one over the sedan, today, as a single man, without a family.
No production specific technical specs have been released, but the concept was a hybrid and we should take them at their word at this point. On a vehicle this large, anything done to improve thrust without compromising economy is a welcomed addition. Plus, the concept was a plug-in hybrid, meaning you can travel 18 miles on electrons only. The electric motor makes 95 horsepower, and can propel the Sport Turismo to 80 mph all on its own. The conventional engine is a supercharged 3-liter V6. It produces 333 horsepower for a combined total max output of 416 horsepower. I know 333 + 95 = 428. But Porsche themselves say the max output is 416 horsepower. I’m guessing to optimize everything together, the electric motor’s output is reduced when running in conjunction with the gasoline engine. Porsche says this will get the Sport Turismo to 62 mph in less than 6 seconds.
So we have reached the point in the article where you would expect me to say something like, “The only way to make this better is to throw one of Porsche’s snarling V8’s into the Sport Turismo.” Yes, attaching the hybrid system to the twin turbocharged 4.8 Liter 520 horsepower would make for an amazing vehicle. 600+ combined horsepower in what equates to a high-end luxury family vehicle is so insane it’s awesome. People see the word “hybrid” on a car and they automatically think the person driving it is a sensible individual. When, in actual fact, it wouldn’t be sensible at all. I love this idea. It’s why I’d buy one. However, that kind of vehicle would be missing the point of this concept. After all, it’s called the Sport Turismo aka sport touring. It’s not supposed to be a fire-breathing beast that bludgeons the laws of physics. The people who would buy the Sport Turismo would do so because they don’t want an SUV. They want something different. They want a vehicle that can drop Johnny off at practice and still enjoy the drive. The Sport Turismo does this as is. Less than 6 seconds to 62 mph is fine, and it’s a Porsche so you know it will handle well. Before you go thinking I’m now a hybrid convert and I will soon start an organic wheat farm running on wind and solar energy and recycle my own… everything (or whatever sandal wearing hybrid enthusiasts do), the Sport Turismo could use a little more power. I think that could be achieved by switching from super to turbocharging. You can up the horsepower for when you want it and keep the economy (for the most part) for when you don’t.
All told, a production Porsche Panamera Sport Turismo can’t get here soon enough. When it does I will happily bestow the coveted, 1st ever, Normal Everyday Non-Supercar Hybrid That I’d Actually Want To Own… Award. Oh, and figure out how to put a manual in it and I’ll make that award sound more impressive.