For gearheads like you and I, debates are as natural as eating breakfast before lunch and lunch before dinner. We debate about which muscle car is best, which automaker is the most likely to go bankrupt, and which Honda Civic mod we find the most annoying.
Today, I’m going to go “Point, Counterpoint” with Kaden Torepocki, a new contributor at CarEnvy.ca. Kaden is a Canadian-born/American-raised University of Alberta student and a physically imposing figure at 6’5”, but his piercing wit disarms all your preconceptions. Today we’re going to discuss Porsche’s newest offering to the Alter Of Image, the Panamera S Hybrid.
Just to get the stats out of the way, the Panamera S Hybrid is a CDN $108,700, 4-door, 4-seater sedan with 0-100 kph of 6.0 seconds and 270 kph top speed. Under the hood is a supercharged 333 hp VW/Audi V6 and a 47 hp electric motor that are rated at 7.1L/100km and 169 g/km CO2.
So let’s get to it!
Can anyone please explain to me who the target audience is for the Porsche Panamera S Hybrid? Please? I would love to hear a good argument in favour of it but I feel that the only somewhat logical explanation for this vehicle’s existence is “simply because Porsche can”. One of the fundamental reasons I love companies like SAAB and Land Rover is their unwillingness to go into markets that they have no business being in; heaven forbid Land Rover should produce a crossover (knock-on-wood) or SAAB should create a quarter-ton truck (yeah Suzuki, that one’s for you). The Panamera instantly brings to mind an elongated penile instrument for the millionaire who inexplicably wants to drag his family around town. If I were a millionaire, I’d buy a 911 GT3 with the rear seats deleted just so I could tell my wife to pick up Timmy from school. The stretched-out Carrera, which is really what the Panamera is, is neither cool nor stylish. We certainly won’t be seeing Jay-Z or Rick Ross stepping out of one of these anytime soon. As a matter of fact, I’m not really sure who would step out. I’m not debating its performance or its luxurious interior, no, I’m debating its necessity on a road that’s already crowded with the emergence of big-grilled Audis; The Four Rings having now emerged as the preeminent German Kaiser over Mercedes-Benz and BMW. And that’s my Point.
SAAB might not be delving into the quarter-ton truck market anytime soon, but the upcoming Range Rover Evoque is very much an effort to broaden their customer base, much in the way Porsche has done with the Panamera. I will agree that the Panamera S Hybrid is a particularly cynical approach to bringing in new customers though, because anyone spending over $100,000 on a hybrid doesn’t give two shits about fuel economy, even if they might care about the environment. S Hybrid owners might say they care about fuel economy, we all know better. A normal Panamera S starts a useful $5k cheaper, sounds better, and would undoubtedly drive more sharply. And $5k is a lot of gas, even at $1.10/L. Compared to the S Hybrid, the only thing a normal Panamera S lacks is the capital aitch Hybrid badge, which supposedly serves the world notice that you care about the non-Porsche Caymans in the rain forests of Costa Rica. Yet anyone intelligent enough to have that all-important critical eye will see right through the marketing malarkey, past the unfortunately styled exterior, into the shallow being behind the wheel, and see that they only bought a Panamera at all because SUVs like the Cayenne aren’t in vogue right now. The only thing I’ll say in defense of the Panamera is that it (purportedly) drives better than the Cayenne and it’s providing an important revenue stream for Porsche that can then be leveraged to make better 911s and Caymans. And that’s my Counterpoint.
[Photo credits: Elite Auto/Flickr,