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Porsche Panamera fuel-saving tyres to cost extra
‘Green’ tyres to save Porsche Panamera S Hybrid buyers more than $5000
18 May 2011
SPECIALLY developed low rolling resistance Michelin tyres that cut the fuel consumption of Porsche’s new Panamera S Hybrid to below 7.0 litres per 100km will be supplied as a $290 option – saving buyers a $5083 luxury car tax hit.
Naturally, most customers are expected to opt for the ‘greener’ tyres when the hybrid Panamera arrives in Australia in August, reducing the vehicle’s purchase price from $298,300 to $293,217 plus on-road costs.
The harder-compound 19-inch Michelin ‘all-season’ tyres, which provide marginally less grip than the standard ‘summer’ tyres of the same size, reduce NEDC fuel consumption from 7.1 to 6.8L/100km, undercutting the magical 7.0L/100km threshold within the federal government’s luxury car tax and raising the 33 per cent tax-free portion of the car’s purchase price from the first $57,466 to the first $75,375.
Of course, the fuel-saving tyres also reduce CO2 emissions, from 167 grams per kilometre to 159g/km, which is as efficient as many small cars and more efficient than most mid-sized cars except Toyota’s Camry Hybrid.
Apart from being the most environmentally friendly Porsche ever produced, the hybrid Panamera is the lowest CO2-emitting car in the upper-luxury class that includes diesel-powered sporting luxury saloons like the Mercedes-Benz CLS and S-class, Audi A7 and A8, BMW 6 and 7 Series, and Maserati’s Quattroporte.
As such, it qualifies for concessions in a range of countries with CO2-based vehicle tax regimes, including a €204 annual reduction in Germany, and one-off reductions of €1850 in France, €4475 in Spain, €8584 in the Netherlands, up to $US2200 in some US states and the equivalent of €4000 in Japan and a substantial €15,000 in China.
However, while the Panamera hybrid is the ‘cleanest’ Porsche, the title of the most fuel-efficient Porsche goes to the newer Panamera Diesel, which sets a new economy benchmark of 6.5L/100km, or 6.3L/100km with the ‘green’ Michelins.
Just revealed in Europe and due in Australia a month after the hybrid in September, the Panamera Diesel emits 172g/km of CO2 as standard but matches the standard Panamera hybrid’s 167g/km output on all-season tyres.
Of course, the oil-burning Panamera doesn’t deliver the V8-like performance of the hybrid, which is 95kW more powerful (279 v 184kW), offers 30Nm more peak torque (580 v 550Nm), sprints to 100km/h almost a second quicker (6.0 v 6.8 seconds) and has a 28km/h higher top speed (270 v 242km/h), making it the world’s fastest production hybrid.
Fitted with the optional Michelins, the Diesel has a theoretical driving range of 1200km, but on paper the Hybrid is even longer-legged with a 1470km range.
Of course, the catch here is that Panamera S Hybrid costs a whole $98,317 more than the Diesel ($293,217 v $194,900).
A closer comparison is therefore with the V8-powered rear-drive Panamera S, which at $279,800 is $13,417 cheaper than the hybrid as well as 15kW more powerful (294kW), up to sixth-tenths quicker to 100km/h (5.4 seconds) and 13km/h faster (283km/h).
However, the 4.8-litre V8 delivers 80Nm less torque (500Nm), is a whole 5.7L/100km thirstier (12.5L/100km) and emits 134g/km more CO2 (293g/km).
The Panamera S is not available with low-resistance tyres, which only come in a 19-inch diameter, so S Hybrid buyers who opt for larger 20-inch alloys will be slugged the full LCT rate.
The secret to the hybrid’s efficient performance is its electric motor’s 300Nm peak torque output up to 1150rpm, without which its hefty 1980kg kerb weight (180kg more than the V8 and 220kg more than the V6) would make it considerably slower and thirster.
The hybrid Panamera’s Audi-sourced 3.0-litre petrol V6 produces a beefy 245kW at 5500-6500rpm, which combines with the electric motor’s 34kW output from 1150rpm to deliver a total power output of 279kW.
However, because maximum engine torque of 440Nm is produced only between 3300-5250rpm and the electric motor’s peak torque of 300Nm is produced only up to 1150rpm, the two figures can’t be combined to total peak torque output of 740Nm, but rather 580Nm at a handy 1000rpm.
Mirroring the Australian-spec V8, the Panamera S Hybrid comes standard with twin front, side, curtain and knee airbags electronic stability control, dual-zone climate control 14-way powered and heated front seats leather seat trim air suspension, PASM adjustable damping, front/rear parking sensors with a reversing camera, dynamic cornering lights and the PCM infotainment system with seven-inch colour touch-screen, Bluetooth connectivity, satellite-navigation and a 14-speaker Bose sound system.
Apart from all-season tyres, options will include a lane change assist, quad-zone climate-control and seat ventilation.
Naturally enough, the hybrid cannot be had with the Sports Chrono Package including launch control available on other models, because it is the first Panamera to feature the eight-speed Aisin torque converter automatic transmission from the Cayenne, rather than the seven-speed ZF dual-clutch PDK automated manual fitted across the rest of the Porsche range.
Porsche’s first hybrid car is also the Zuffenhausen brand’s first model to be fitted with electric steering and, thanks to the 70kg nickel-metal hydride battery pack fitted beneath the boot floor, the highest rear weight distribution (49 per cent) of any Panamera, negating the need for all-wheel drive, which would have added even more weight and, says Porsche, increased fuel consumption by up to 0.5L/100km.
As such, the Panamera hybrid’s only other concession is a 110-litre reduction in boot capacity, which shrinks to 337 litres because of relocated ancillaries behind the wheel-arches and a central heat extraction panel, but retains the standard Panamera’s split/folding rear seat functionality and repair kit for the staggered-size front and rear tyres.
Apart from the electric motor sandwiched between the engine and transmission, the Panamera’s Sanyo-sourced traction battery provides high-voltage (288-volt) power to the climate-control, braking and steering systems, plus the water and transmission pumps.
Of course, a fuel-saving idle-stop system and an ‘e-Power’ all-electric mode are fitted, the latter working for 2km at speeds of up to 85km/h if the battery is at least 30 per cent charged, along with an engine ‘de-coupler’ that allows engine-free EV coasting or ‘sailing’ at speeds of up to 165km/h.
Porsche says the relatively small 1.7kWh battery, which is recharged on the run via an energy recuperation mode in which the motor becomes a generator during braking, is good for 300,000km or 12 years, whichever comes first.
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