2021 Porsche Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid Sport Turismo first drive review: All of the things

It's quick, fast, comfortable, functional and, yes, even a little frugal. The Turbo S E-Hybrid is the Porsche Panamera that can do it all.

This is the top-dog Panamera.

Fun fact: It takes longer to say "2021 Porsche Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid Sport Turismo" than it does to hit 60 mph in one. But straight-line acceleration is only one of its many accolades. As this Panamera's superlative name suggests, this thing can pretty much do it all.

Launching a 5,311-pound wagon to 60 mph in 3 seconds is certainly no small feat, but in the Turbo S E-Hybrid, it's a cake walk. The 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 under the hood is absolute dynamite, producing 563 horsepower and 567 pound-feet of torque. But the E-Hybrid adds a 17.9-kilowatt-hour battery into the mix, with an electric motor that produces a supplemental 134 hp and 295 lb-ft of instant torque. Put it all together through the magic of weird hybrid math and the Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid is officially rated at 690 hp and 642 lb-ft. That doesn't just make it the most powerful Panamera; it's the most powerful new Porsche, period.

In addition to crazy power, the 17.9-kWh battery helps with efficiency, too. Porsche has yet to release official fuel economy data for its 2021 Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid, but the older version -- which used a 14.1-kWh battery -- could go about 20 miles on electric power and was rated at 49 miles per gallon equivalent. I don't expect the final MPGe rating to change too much, but the increased battery capacity should result in greater EV range. Even so, you'd be hard pressed to find another car with nearly 700 hp that's this good on gas -- or this good to drive.

Porsche made some small tweaks to the Panamera's steering and braking systems for 2021, but they're not so noticeable as to warrant much discussion. The Turbo S E-Hybrid is as entertaining as any other Panamera; the steering is great and the chassis has excellent overall balance. Mile after mile, it's abundantly clear that this car is cut from the same cloth as the Porsche 911.

The Turbo S E-Hybrid comes standard with all the Panamera's good stuff, including an adaptive air suspension, Porsche's sportier Dynamic Chassis Control setup, rear-axle steering and torque-vectoring tech. The suspension can be cushy-comfy when you're eating up highway miles, but quickly sharpens up when it's time to chuck the big wagon into a corner. Long as the Panamera is, the electronic torque-vectoring and rear-wheel steering go a long way in making this wagon seriously nimble on winding roads. And when you aren't treating the Panamera like a sports car, it's never the least bit crashy, even on the Turbo S E-Hybrid's standard 21-inch wheels and low-profile tires.

How's 690 hp from a hybrid sound?


The Turbo S has the same drive modes as the other Panamera E-Hybrid models. It always defaults to the fully electric E-Power setting on startup, but I usually end up selecting Hybrid Auto so the engine will wake up if I'm feeling rowdy. Sport and Sport Plus modes keep the engine running at all times and actually send supplemental power back into the battery pack -- great for recharging on the freeway, by the way -- and there's an Individual mode where you can tweak different settings to your liking.

Driving the Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid is a total treat 97% of the time. I wish the brakes weren't quite so grabby, though I know that's hard to tune when you've got a combination of regenerative and mechanical braking, not to mention some big-ass ceramic composite stoppers. Also, when the V8 wakes up in Hybrid Auto mode, it's quite an event -- you'll feel some extra vibration through the steering wheel and the sudden roar can be a little jarring, especially if the sport exhaust is turned on. These are very small complaints in the grand scheme of things.

Standard driving aids include lane-keeping assist and traffic sign recognition, but everything else costs extra, including Porsche's neat InnoDrive tech that combines full-speed adaptive cruise control and steering assist. At least the Turbo S E-Hybrid gets Porsche's full smattering of infotainment tech with a reconfigurable gauge cluster and a 12.3-inch central touchscreen, running the always-excellent Porsche Communication Management software. Apple CarPlay is included but Android Auto is still a no-go and the Turbo S E-Hybrid comes equipped with a wireless charger, onboard Wi-Fi, embedded navigation and a Bose surround-sound audio system.

The cabin is comfortable and cleanly designed.


It's pretty hard to fault the Panamera's interior, what with its supportive and comfortable seats, excellent build quality and loads of creature comforts. The Turbo S E-Hybrid has soft Race Tex roof lining, 14-way adjustable seats and a head-up display standard, but everything else carries over from other Panamera models.

You don't have to get the Turbo S E-Hybrid as a longroof Sport Turismo, but like, why the hell wouldn't you? The Sport Turismo gets the same SportDesign front fascia as the other 2021 Panamera models, as well as some new taillights. It just looks rad and if you fold the rear seats flat, there's 45.4 cubic feet of cargo-hauling space back there. Win-win.

Sure, the Sport Turismo body style is a $4,000 upcharge over the standard Turbo S E-Hybrid, but it's not like that's a big pill to swallow on a car that costs roughly $190,000. Load it up with options -- including this test car's rich shade of Papaya Metallic ($3,310) -- and it's really easy to dive into the low $200,000s.

Like this shade of Papaya Metallic? That'll be $3,310.


As far as other fast wagons are concerned, the Panamera Sport Turismo's main competitors are the Audi RS6 Avant and Mercedes-AMG E63, both of which cost a ton less than this Turbo S E-Hybrid. Of course, they're also a lot less powerful and don't offer the ability to drive on battery power alone. The Sport Turismo technically competes with these cars, but it's really a step above.

Honestly, the Turbo S E-Hybrid Sport Turismo's biggest competitors are Porsche's other Panamera models -- between the new 4S E-Hybrid and gas-only Turbo S, it's possible to get your kicks for a bit less cash without any loss of style or on-road poise. But for those who won't settle for anything but the best, the Turbo S E-Hybrid Sport Turismo won't ever let you down. It's like the complete discography of what the Porsche Panamera offers and its greatest hits are right there in the name.