Hybrid vehicles are everywhere nowadays with big auto makers like Toyota, Honda, and Ford serving them up in considerable volume. But what if you want something that's a little less run-of-the-mill but still sips fuel? If you have a need for refinement, exclusivity, and fuel efficiency, the 2014 Porsche Panamera S E-Hybrid may interest to you. We recently spent some time behind the wheel of Porsche's elongated four-door hybrid model in the Deep South and came away impressed.   

Power and fuel efficiency 

With a full tank of fuel, the Panamera S E-Hybrid has a range well north of 400 miles and with an EPA rating of 50 MPGe you can bet your bladder will force you to stop before the need to refuel will. The combination of an electric motor rated at 95 horsepower and a 3.0-liter V6 gasoline engine rated at 333 horses raises total output to 416 horsepower. This combination is also good for 435 lb-ft of torque and thanks to the electric motor, 229 lb-ft of force is at your disposal below 1,700 rpm. This allows for quick starts when waiting at a light. A plug-in lithium ion 9.4kWh battery can launch the Panamera Hybrid in pure EV mode up to 15 mph. An 8-speed Tiptronic transmission helps to stretch fuel figures out even further and operates seamlessly with the electric motor and gasoline engine. 

Most hybrid vehicles substitute drivability and crisp braking in the name of fuel economy but with the Panamera Hybrid, you get the best of both worlds. We spent a good portion of our time behind the wheel on the highway and on long stretches of uninterrupted country roads and because of it, fuel economy was continually robust. On more than one occasion though we got caught behind a tractor or 18-wheeler but the power was easily summoned up to propel us around the obstruction in no time. Hauling the Panamera Hybrid down from speed was effortless thanks to brakes that applied pressure in a very non-hybrid-like linear fashion.  Since this is a Porsche, steering input was crisp and precise, which is another area where the Panamera separates itself from other hybrids

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If you have to ask...

Remember what we said earlier about the need to be exclusive? In this case, it doesn't come cheap as the Panamera S E-Hybrid starts at $99,000. This includes features like Bi-Xenon headlights which, when cruising down back country roads, came in very handy as it illuminated a wide swath in front of the vehicle. Other standard items include LED daytime running lights, automatic two-zone climate control, Porsche Communication Management with a 7-inch screen that houses navigation, and Park Assist which was instrumental when it came time to back down a long, winding driveway. However, this example also checked a wide range of option boxes including a $790 Mahogany Metallic paint scheme, Luxor beige interior ($3,655), front and rear seat ventilation ($630), 20-inch sport wheels ($3,305), and illuminated aluminum brushed door sills. As outfitted, this Panamera Hybrid commands a very patrician $131,330 price tag. While some of the aforementioned options cost a few thousand dollars, the one option that caught the most attention was the soft closing door function ($770) and is one we'd recommend springing for. 

To make sure people know this isn't just any regular Panamera model, an "e-hybrid" badge on both of the front quarter panels is prominently displayed and outlined in electric green. This same color scheme can be seen on the "Porsche" badging on the tailgate, the brake calipers, the illuminated door sills, and even the needles on the instrument gauges and clock. Another vehicle that shares this electric green styling trait in Porsche's lineup is the $1 million dollar 918 Spyder, which is also a hybrid. There's that exclusive feel again. In all, if you have deep pockets and have been searching for a fuel efficient offering, the Porsche Panamera S E-Hybrid deserves a look. 

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