A mild restyle, significant powertrain changes -- including the debut of a new plug-in hybrid alternative -- and the availability of long-wheelbase variants highlight the 2014 Porsche Panamera lineup. Set for a formal unveiling later this month at the Shanghai Auto Show, the Panamera clan will start arriving in dealers here late this year.

Visual changes to the 2014 version of this 4-door GT serve to tidy up its nose and tail. The Panamera's revamped front fascia features more prominent air intakes and repositioned LED running lamps while full LED headlamps are being added to the option roster. The rear gets a similar tweaking that brings a modified decklid with a wider rear window, a new auto-deploying spoiler and subtly recast taillights.

Bolstering performance as well as economy, the 2014 Panamera adds two new prime movers to its motivation mix. On the conventional side, a new 3.0-liter twin-turbo V6 replaces the existing 4.8-liter naturally aspirated V8 in the Panamera S and 4S. It delivers 420 horsepower and 384 lb-ft of torque -- gains of 20 and 15 output units, respectively.

     Also: 2014 models unveiled at the New York Auto Show

Making an even greener statement, the new Panamera S E-hybrid arrives on the scene as the automaker's first-ever plug-in model. Supplanting the existing S Hybrid, this even more capable variation on the gas/electric theme supplements the existing 3.0-liter naturally aspirated V6 with a new parallel e-system that swaps the existing 47-horsepower electric motor for a more potent 95-horse upgrade and energizes it with a new 9.4kWh lithium-ion battery pack in place of the current 1.7kWh unit.

Porsche says that despite its extra muscle, the Panamera S E-hybrid will be even more fuel-efficient than the 2013 S Hybrid. Capable of sprinting to 60 mph in 5.2 seconds and maxing out at 167 mph, it also promises a pure-EV range in excess of 20 miles and the ability to reach a speed of 84 mph in zero-emissions mode. Save for an 8-speed Tiptronic S automatic on the Panamera S E-Hybrid, all other 2014 Panameras will be fitted with Porsche's 7-speed "Doppelkupplungsgetriebe" (PDK) dual-clutch automatic that's been further optimized to increase economy, particularly in freeway mode.

     Also: 10 Most Fuel-Efficient SUVs of 2013

On the comfort/convenience front, the 2014 Panamera lineup will offer a new selection of convenience functions - including several specific to the new E-Hybrid -- that can be controlled by Android or iOS devices using the Porsche Car Connect app. For those requiring a bit more rear-seat space, the Panamera 4S and Turbo will be available in a new "Executive" form. On sale here early next year, these stretch variants feature a 5.9-inch longer wheelbase and also net adaptive air-suspension featuring Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM).

The 2014 Porsche Panamera family includes nine different models that range in price from $79,075 for the base Panamera to $162,075 for the Panamera Turbo Executive. The new Panamera S E-Hybrid will open at $99,975.


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