Last June, I was able to approach and drive the stunning Taycan. The first all-electric Porsche of the modern era. At the time, I focused on the most powerful version, the Turbo S. Last December, it was the turn of the restyled Panamera to slip into my hands. As with the Taycan, I had focused on the Turbo S version. Today it's time to come back down to earth and try the more accessible versions of these two Porsche sedans: the Taycan 4S and the Panamera 4S E- Hybrid. We will try to answer the following question: can the Taycan 4S supplant the Panamera 4S E-Hybrid?
At the moment, sanitary conditions make it difficult for brands to organize trials. That’s why with two friends, Jalil from ABC Motor and JB from Billet Auto, we decided to have our own two day practice session. On the menu, a comparison: two Porsches, two sedans. An electric and a hybrid. On the one hand, the Taycan in its 4S version, the Stuttgart brand's first 100% electric car of the modern era. On the other, the Panamera Sport Turismo 4S E-Hybrid, of which I have already taken the wheel during the test of the restyled Panamera. One way to find out how these heart-of-the-range versions stand out face to face.
To do this, head for Sarthe and Perche. Departure Monday morning, from Levallois-Perret (92) to Le Mans to use these two cars on their usual playground: the motorway.
I take the wheel of the Panamera. The journey begins in the city, 100% electric in a monastic calm. Double glazing (€ 1,890) does its job beautifully. I sneak around like with the MINI Cooper SE, which I just dropped off. A miracle made possible for a sedan 5.05 m long and 1.94 m wide, thanks to its rear steering wheels at € 2,100. A real pleasure. Just before arriving on the Paris ring road, I decided to wake up the heat engine by switching to Sport mode.
A nice 2.9L V6 that can also be found on the Audi RS4. Here, he gives voice, a lot of voice. That of a tenor unhappy to be woken up, if Jalil's head is to be believed at the wheel of the Taycan just behind me in traffic. The sound is hoarse, and I wonder how a manufacturer can certify such an exhaust today. What happiness. It should be noted that our test version is equipped with the sports exhaust system (€ 3,108). If you have the means, or if you like to be hated by your neighbors, don't hesitate: check the box!
We then take the A6 to join the A10 then the A11 towards Le Mans at ideal motorway cruising speed. Everything is done in fascinating comfort. The kilometers go by without realizing it, until we arrive in Chartres. At the Ionity station, we charge the Taycan 100% to be quiet the rest of the day. At that point, we could easily go to Le Mans without recharging and enjoy a hundred kilometers of autonomy on the spot. We had to anticipate the journey at the end of the day to our accommodation in the Perche. Either way, it was the 10:30 breakfast cut-off time.
The car can easily cash in the charging power at the terminal, peaking at 100 kWh when it is already at 80%. Thanks to the 800 V onboard network. Time to take a technical break and put on an intravenous coffee. The car is close to 100% and we hit the road. When we got to Le Mans, we had a quick lunch and headed for the Indianapolis bend to take the first photos of our road trip in Le Mans.
Placed on the inside of the bend, we admire the two cars in our comparison. The Panamera is in its Sport Turismo version, the hunting station wagon in a very discreet dolomite gray configuration. As the Taycan Cross Turismo is not yet available, we are “happy” with the “normal” version, in a beautifully “ferrarist” red called Carmine. It must be said that we are spoiled. We will spend another 36 hours very complicated …
It is time for me to present to you the car in which I came: the Panamera 4S E-Hybrid in its Sport Turismo version with its hybrid powertrain, which combines a twin-turbo V6 of 440 hp and an engine electric 136 hp (the same power as that of an e208). The combination of these two engines produces a total power of 560 hp and 750 Nm. Just that …
Design side, nothing to complain about for me. The Sport Turismo is truly the most beautiful of the Panamera. Its line is at the same time sporty, classy and devilishly attractive. Even in this “boilerplate” configuration, people turn around in its path.
Inside, full grain leather is everywhere. It is equipped with the leather options extended to € 4,308 and leather door sills at € 2,028. I have to tell you that it feels really good in € 6,336 of leather. Porsche seats are still just as well made. The seat is comfortable but firm, and the support is ideal for both my rugby player and my sidekick Jean-Baptiste Dessort's shrimp build. The adaptive 18-position sports seats are beyond reproach. I can stand at ground level to feel the car with my buttocks, a treat. The rear is no slouch with royal comfort.
As for the trunk, I was able to accommodate all my camera equipment with tripod and the cabin cases of colleagues without worries in the 425 liters of our E-Hybrid version. A trunk not so big as in view of the previous figure, but which is very easily welcoming with its hatch opening.
After a few turns around Indianapolis to illustrate our various tests, it's time to head to our evening vacation spot: The Commons of Perche. A magnificent building that is not unknown to us because we were there last June during the test of the Taycan. We exchange the ruffles to end the day.
What happiness this car. I thought I was perfect for a 5m sedan with the Panamera. But, the behavior of the Taycan is truly stunning … How does Porsche manage to give the impression of being in a 911 despite the difference in size? That’s the question that goes through my head for the 80 kilometers of this journey. The car is perfect, its handling is both comfortable and so sporty.
Leaving the motorway, we have 25 km of small winding roads left in the Perche to test the dynamism of our cars. The Taycan is terribly efficient and rigorous there, while remaining very comfortable in Sport Plus mode. The wheels do not dribble and the suspensions perfectly cope with the deterioration of the road despite a high pace. The car holds the pavement, no parasitic body movement taints my pleasure at the wheel of this fabulous car. The 918 Spyder's center of gravity is not for nothing.
I am rediscovering the pleasure I had at the wheel of this car in June, immense pleasure. The feeling of being one with this car is pleasurable. I think of a trajectory, my hands turn the steering wheel and the car acts without batting an eyelid, like an extension of myself. I am indeed at the wheel of the first 100% electric sports car.
Unfortunately, we are already arriving at our place of rest. What a fabulous place, quiet and full of charm, hidden in the middle of the countryside in a small village. Don't you find that this frame works perfectly with our cars?
The next morning, we wake up and in this large garden are enthroned our two cars. Sometimes the life of a car tester is good. We realize how lucky we are. The weather does not get better but behind the wheel of such cars, no need for sun to brighten up our day.
It is time for me to present the Taycan 4S to you which will accompany us during these 36 hours. Until recently, this was the entry-level model. Porsche has released a version called simply Taycan in rear-wheel drive. Our version is fitted with the large battery which increases its capacity from 79.2 kWh to 93.4 kWh, an option at € 5,568. According to Porsche, it saves 56 km of range. A little expensive paid, you will say to me? With the car's weight approaching 2.3 tonnes, it requires energy to move it.
Power is also needed, that of its 2 electric motors (one on each axle) which produce 571hp in total and a torque of 650Nm. As for the numbers, the Taycan is a bit more powerful than the Panamera. Its torque is less than 100Nm, but it makes up for it by immediate availability. Thank you electric.
On this Tuesday morning, I take the time to go around it. The design is unique, it is true. Our two cars are not alike, but no doubt they are Porsches. This is a tour de force on the part of the designers of the brand.
That very hollowed-out front hood, those curvaceous wheel arches, that profile of an extended 911 and that elusive rear: the Mission-E concept car is not far away. Inside, simplicity and technology erase the luxury of our Panamera. The fabric of the seats and the steering wheel in Alcantara make it look simple and efficient. The technology is there everywhere. The curved screen mimics the original 5 counters to perfection.
The two middle screens are very functional. One is for multimedia and GPS, the other for air conditioning and shortcuts. Our version is equipped with an option that will delight your front passenger: the passenger screen (€ 1,032), allowing access to all multimedia and GPS information. With these 5 screens, we are in a technological cocoon, and the geek in me is overwhelmed!
At the back, the doorway is a bit tight for my size. There is enough space on board for my 6 feet, when the front seat is configured for my long legs. The trunk is larger than that of the Panamera Sport Turismo, with 488 liters. On the other hand, it is less easy to access with its opening without a tailgate, only a trunk.
It is time to leave this magnificent place and hit the road again to continue our adventures in the Perch countryside. So I get behind the wheel of the Panamera 4S E-Hybrid, to refresh my memory. I had missed his dynamism. The noise of his engine too. The V6 bi-Turbo is a tenor in tracksuit.
The engine revs easily and delivers power up to 6,600 rpm, its red zone. The sound is fabulous. Its dynamism is almost as good as the Taycan. Why this feeling? I have the impression that the Panamera is heavier. Nothing bad, but the feat of the Taycan is to give you the illusion that it is lighter than its 2.3 tons.
The Panamera does not do so well. I am also revising my judgment on braking. Last December, that of the 4S E-Hybrid version was perfect. The management of the transition between the braking of the electric motor and that of the calipers was imperceptible. On this one, the passage between the two is felt, and it becomes a little disturbing.
The powertrain works wonders. The fabulous revivals and the flexibility of this hybridization make me forget these little flaws. I am in a fast – if not too fast – hunting station wagon with greater comfort and sportiness compared to the previous generation.
When entering Paris, the choice is complicated … Should I choose the sportiness and efficiency of the Taycan? Or the fabulous sound, comfort and sportiness of the Panamera? Power level, it's very close, ditto for the weight. In terms of price: € 135,000 for the Panamera and € 108,000 for the Taycan. Depending on the choice of options, the rates may be equal as the list is long on both sides. The sound remains …
My choice is dictated by my ears. In the not-so-distant future, cars will all be electric. If they look like the Taycan, it is with pleasure that I am heading towards that future. But I still want to enjoy the fabulous sound of this V6. While knowing that the hint of hybrid allows this Panamera Sport Turismo of 560 hp and 2.3 tonnes to consume less than 10 liters per 100 km, with the sustained pace that we have had during these 36 hours.
Thanks to Porsche France for the loan and their trust. Thanks to Commons of Perche for the fabulous welcome and the sumptuous place.
And finally, thank you to my two sidekicks Jalil C. ABC Motor and the great (by talent) JB Dessort du Billet Auto.
Photos: Ugo Missana for Blogautomobile (All rights reserved)
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