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2021 Porsche Panamera 4S E-Hybrid Sport Turismo review: Nearly perfect

Not everyone is part of the crossover craze and if you’re one of those consumers, your choices are slim. As hatchbacks and wagons play second fiddle to crossovers, it’s becoming harder to find a vehicle with a liftgate that isn’t lifted off the ground. Should you be among the ones that can afford a hot wagon, the 2021 Porsche Panamera 4S E-Hybrid Sport Turismo should be on your radar. This latest addition to the refreshed Panamera lineup is near perfection because it does nearly everything so well.

2021 Porsche Panamera 4S E-Hybrid Sport Turismo exterior

2021 Porsche Panamera 4S E Hybrid Sport Turismo rear three quarters 04
Photo credit: Stefan Ogbac / EV Pulse

You’ll need sharp eyes to spot the design tweaks on the refreshed 2021 Porsche Panamera 4S E-Hybrid Sport Turismo. Even if you can’t tell what’s changed, this wagon doesn’t hide its roots. From the oval headlights to its curvaceous dimensions, you know it’s related to the 911, 718, Taycan, Cayenne, and Macan. The long roofline and roof-mounted retractable spoiler distinguish the Sport Turismo from the sedan while a more upright greenhouse proves better visibility. Acid Green badges on the front fenders and tailgate, and Acid Green brake calipers hint at the car’s electrified nature.

2021 Porsche Panamera 4S E-Hybrid Sport Turismo interior

2021 Porsche Panamera 4S E Hybrid Sport Turismo front seats 01
Photo credit: Stefan Ogbac / EV Pulse

For those looking for a practical sports car, the Panamera Sport Turismo is it. Four people fit comfortably thanks to the roomy interior, thanks to head and legroom. Although someone can technically sit in the center position on certain configurations, the massive drive shaft tunnel forces whoever’s there to straddle their legs. Supportive seats keep you in place during spirited drives and are plenty comfortable for long trips. Both rear outboard positions are shaped like the front seats, giving you similar support levels and cushioning.

Thanks to its long roof, the Panamera 4S E-Hybrid Sport Turismo is super useful. There’s a lot of room for your gear and the 40/20/40 split-folding rear seats add extra flexibility. There is some cabin intrusion because of the angled rear window. More small-item storage would also help because the center console storage isn’t deep and the cubby behind the shifter is tiny. The available cargo cover could also be easier to remove because you need to fold the rear seats first before you can remove or reinstall it.

The Panamera’s fit and finish are befitting of a six-figure vehicle. Everything you interact with feels expensive and reassuringly tactile. Operating buttons and knobs exude a high level of satisfaction, and nearly every surface is padded or covered with something soft. Exceptional attention to detail is in full show thanks to excellent attention to detail and smart use of materials throughout the cabin. The sporting focus is also apparent; controls are oriented toward the driver and you sit low in the cockpit.

2021 Porsche Panamera 4S E-Hybrid Sport Turismo tech features

2021 Porsche Panamera 4S E Hybrid Sport Turismo dash 02
Photo credit: Stefan Ogbac / EV Pulse

Collision prevention technologies are standard on the 2021 Panamera 4S E-Hybrid. The lane-keeping assist component could be more consistent in its operation because it gets jerky when re-centering the vehicle. Its other active safety systems, on the other hand, are subtle and aren’t overly aggressive. You can further upgrade the standard suite with the Porsche InnoDrive feature, which can be had as a stand-alone option or as part of the Assistance package. This bundles together traffic jam assist and adaptive cruise control. The latter uses navigation data, cameras, and radar sensors, to predict the road so it can slow down for turns and curves, coast, or go into all-electric mode.

Porsche’s PCM interface is among the easier units. The 12.3-inch touch screen is quick and there aren’t many submenus. In case you get lost, you can easily get back to the main menu via the shortcut tabs on the left side of the display. There are also shortcuts on the center console positioned just ahead of the gear selector. Most of the buttons are capacitive, meaning it can be a little distracting to use on the move. Some of the climate functions are also under a sub menu on the main screen, which can take some time to get used to. At least Porsche retained physical knobs and scrollers to maintain some familiarity. The available Bose audio system is clear but it could be more immersive and do a better job enveloping the cabin. If you’re an audiophile, get the Burmester surround sound unit instead.

2021 Porsche Panamera 4S E-Hybrid Sport Turismo driving experience

2021 Porsche Panamera 4S E Hybrid Sport Turismo side 01
Photo credit: Stefan Ogbac / EV Pulse

The Panamera 4S E-Hybrid Sport Turismo’s biggest strength is its blend of sportiness and comfort. Take the wagon on your favorite winding road and it’ll slice through corners like a precision cutting tool. There’s no body roll, and the steering is downright telepathic. You know what the front wheels are doing and the car goes where you point it. Although the Panamera drives big, it remains as graceful and sharp as any other Porsche.

Should you choose to chill and cruise, the Panamera is up for that as well. Even with the adaptive air suspension in Sport or Sport Plus mode and the lowest height, it does a fantastic job absorbing road imperfections, minimizing impact harshness, and isolating the passenger compartment. The available 21-inch alloy wheels with massive staggered tires don’t affect ride comfort either because our test car never lost any compliance. Downsides? Road and tire noise. The large alloy wheels and wide rubber cause a lot of slapping and roar, especially on highways that aren’t smooth or paved frequently.

Despite being the middle child, the Panamera 4S E-Hybrid offers blistering acceleration. An uprated 2.9-liter twin-turbo V6 is coupled to an electric motor, a 17.9-kWh battery, and an eight-speed PDK twin-clutch automatic. The total system output is 552 hp and 553 lb-ft of torque, allowing the car to hit 60 mph in 3.5 seconds using launch control. We think that’s conservative because the Panamera 4S E-Hybrid feels much quicker. Incredible power courtesy of the smooth powertrain means passing, merging, and climbing steep grades is a cakewalk. The lack of turbo lag and the electric motor’s instant response add a sense of effortlessness despite the Panamera’s 2.5-ton curb weight.

Our test car came with an optional sports exhaust system. This adds to the Panamera’s sporty character without detracting from its grown-up identity. No, it’s not as loud as in sportier Porsche models like the 911 GT3 RS but it’s enough to add more soul to the driving experience. The best part? You get to hear the twin-turbo V6’s sonorous note.

Porsche’s expertise with the dual-clutch transmission shines in the Panamera 4S E-Hybrid. The latest version is the best yet, offering crisp, swift shifts that are so smooth that it doesn’t feel like a twin-clutch unit. In manual mode, the transmission responds quickly when you use the paddle shifters. Leave it to its own devices and it acts like it’s reading your mind, downshifting when you slow down as you approach a corner and always picking the right gear for every situation. At low speeds, the car doesn’t lurch or hesitate, adding to it feeling more conventional.

Every 2021 Panamera E-Hybrid model gets the 17.9-kWh battery, replacing the old 14.1-kWh unit. This enables the car to spend more time in all-electric mode, cutting its fuel consumption in all driving situations. The EPA says the 4S E-Hybrid is good for 19 miles on a full charge but during our time with the car, we consistently got 30 miles before the gas engine activated. When driven as a hybrid, the Panamera 4S E-Hybrid can travel up to 480 miles with a full tank and a fully charged battery.

Panamera 4S E-Hybrid models with the optional 7.2 kW onboard charger can get to 100 percent in around four hours via a level 2 AC charger. Expect that time to increase to about five to six hours on cars with the standard 3.6 kW charger. Plugging into a standard wall outlet will require you to charge overnight to get to a full charge.

The mechanical AWD system is tuned with a bias to the rear wheels, adding to the Panamera 4S E-Hybrid fun-loving character. This allows the rear end to rotate more willingly, especially when you add the available rear-wheel steering system that helps the car turn in tighter. As a result, the car feels neutral but playful. Sticky Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tires provide prodigious grip levels, contributing to the Panamera’s unflappable nature. The ability to put the power down through all four wheels also helps the car get off the line quickly, optimizing torque distribution to minimize wheel spin and maximize traction. You’ll notice this when using launch control. There’s no tire squeal; the car grips while the powertrain doles out its output as it slams you into your seat.

The Panamera 4S E-Hybrid uses a blended braking system and unlike other plug-in hybrids, you operate it like a standard internal combustion vehicle. There’s not enough regeneration to bring you to a complete stop and lifting off the accelerator only gives you a little. You need to ease into the brake pedal to increase recuperation and slow the vehicle down. Handoffs from regenerative to mechanical braking are smooth and imperceptible, avoiding any jerkiness during hard stops. The recuperation is also adaptive and changes based on the road you’re driving on. Going downhill, for instance, gives you more so you can coast and better control your speed.

2021 Porsche Panamera 4S E-Hybrid Sport Turismo pricing

The 2021 Porsche Panamera 4S E-Hybrid Sport Turismo starts at $118,650. Our test car cost $142,360 thanks to several optional packages and stand-alone features. Thanks to the larger battery, every Panamera E-Hybrid model now qualifies for the full $7,500 federal tax credit in addition to local and state incentives. The Panamera 4S E-Hybrid sedan starts lower at $116,050 while the long-wheelbase Executive model begins at $127,350. Don’t get too crazy with the options, though, because they can easily cause the car’s price to increase exponentially.

2021 Porsche Panamera 4S E-Hybrid Sport Turismo final verdict

2021 Porsche Panamera 4S E Hybrid Sport Turismo front three quarters 05
Photo credit: Stefan Ogbac / EV Pulse

Traditionalists wanting an electrified vehicle that can double as a personal fun machine and family vehicle will be served well by the 2021 Porsche Panamera 4S E-Hybrid Sport Turismo. This wagon masterfully blends exciting driving dynamics with practicality, giving you a vehicle that doesn’t know the meaning of compromise. For those with the means to put this gem in their driveway, you’ll have a sedan or wagon that borders perfection thanks to how well it does everything. Simply put, the Panamera 4S E-Hybrid is a quintessential practical Porsche, a proper four-door sports car.

At a glance

  • Year: 2021
  • Make: Porsche
  • Model: Panamera 4S E-Hybrid
  • Type: 4-door, full-size luxury sedan and wagon
  • Combined horsepower: 552
  • Combined torque: 553 lb-ft
  • MPG ratings (city/highway/combined): 21/23/22
  • EV range: 19 miles
  • Pros: Incredible performance, comfortable ride, roomy interior
  • Cons: Lots of road and tire noise, not enough small-item storage, finicky cargo cover
  • Base price: $118,650
  • Price as tested: $142,360
Written by Stefan Ogbac
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