There are honestly few things I enjoy more than a long drive. That’s why my girlfriend and I decided to do a roadtrip-based vacation a little while ago. We’d start in Los Angeles and then make our way up the coast to San Francisco, and damn did we have the right car for the job. Meet the 2022 Porsche Panamera 4 E-Hybrid Platinum Edition. It really could be the best long-distance cruiser and daily-driver on sale today.
Full Disclosure: Porsche lent me this Panamera with a fully-charged battery and a full tank of gas for an extended stay in California.
To understand what the 2022 Porsche Panamera 4 E-Hybrid Platinum Edition is (and why it’s an excellent road trip machine), let’s break down that very long name. “2022 Porsche Panamera 4” is easy to understand: It’s a base-model 2022 Panamera with all-wheel drive. After that, things get a little more interesting.
“E-Hybrid” means this car comes with Porsche’s plug-in hybrid powertrain. It’s a very good setup that I’ll get into soon. But then there’s “Platinum Edition.” A $9,800 premium over the standard Panamera 4 E-Hybrid, this fancy-pants trim adds unique 21-inch wheels, an adaptive air suspension and Porsche’s Active Suspension Management (PASM), among a number of cosmetic changes. If you don’t want a hybrid, you can also get the Platinum Edition treatment on the base Panamera and all-wheel-drive Panamera 4.
All in all, the Panamera I tested stickers for $127,730, including $1,350 for destination. Do the Platinum Edition changes make or break this car’s overall goodness? No. Do I think it’s a cool package anyway? Totally. Plus it sounds snazzy.
Whether you’re driving through an affluent Los Angeles neighborhood, up the Pacific Coast Highway, or through San Francisco’s Chinatown, the Panamera feels pretty much at home. A lot of that comes down to its brilliant drivetrain that just always works. The 4 E-Hybrid couples a 325-hp 2.9-liter twin-turbo V6 with a 134-hp electric motor located in the 8-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox. In total, this setup makes a very stout 455 hp and 516 lb-ft of torque. That’s more than enough oomph to get yourself up one of Frisco’s 30-percent-grade hills.
This car simply does what you ask it to do without so much as a peep. The Panamera 4 E-Hybrid goads you into pushing it harder than you might think. That’s a good thing. You bought a Porsche, after all. That sporty attitude should be there. It makes mundane tasks like running to the pharmacy because you need to buy Prilosec for your acid reflux a fun little adventure.
Adding to the sporty theater is the Panamera’s exhaust. It comes alive in a seamless but very showy way when you exit full-electric mode. From there, it provides a nice rasp that’s always welcome in a car that wears the Porsche crest. Hell, you can even hear turbo noises every once in a while, which is a super nice little treat.
Noise not your thing? You can flick the steering-wheel-mounted drive mode selector to ePower and you’ll be running on battery power exclusively for (an admittedly limited) 18 miles of range, supplied by a 17.9-kWh battery pack. If you’ve got your full charge — which Porsche says will take a little less than 5 hours on a 240-volt outlet, or under 3 hours on a 400-volt outlet – those 18 miles should be enough for you to do some daily errands, maybe even your commute. If it isn’t, you’ll just have to use the gas engine. Don’t be too sad. It’s still a peach.
Good lord can your speed get away from you when you’re driving this thing. While cruising up the straighter, quieter parts of the Pacific Coast Highway, you quickly lose sight of just how fast you’re going. 85 mph feels like 20 mph. There’s no noticeable difference in sensation. The Panamera 4 E-Hybrid just chews through miles like all good German super-sedans should.
Even at higher speeds along the empty California coast, there’s plenty of passing power on deck. Forget about just stepping on the gas pedal to gain speed. There’s a magnificent button meant for being an asshole. Located on the drive-mode dial is a tiny, unlabeled black button. Push that, and the Panamera drops into kill mode. The revs jump, the throttle response sharpens and the turbos spool. This so-called Sport Response button is meant to be used for passing, which happens so fast that the poor schmuck in the Altima you’re driving by can’t even make out what just happened. Put simply, it rules.
If I had but one gripe with the E-Hybrid’s long-distance highway performance it would be the lane-keeping assist which never really… assisted. I constantly found myself having to correct fairly simple mistakes the computers were making. No matter, the steering wheel feels great to hold anyway.
Early one day, I left my girlfriend with her family to really put the car through its paces on a nearby canyon road. The Panamera 4 E-Hybrid is every bit as good around a corner as you’d imagine it would be – even for a heavy-ass luxury limo. Few cars have instilled such confidence in me.
That all comes down to the drivetrain and steering. Everything works together beautifully. That electric motor I used to putt around downtown is now supplying extra torque, pushing me to go even faster. Every pull of the steering-wheel-mounted paddles is met with an instant shift.With the aid of rear-axle steering, this long German four-door shrinks around you like you wouldn’t believe. Through a corner, the Panamera feels like it’s the size of a Civic, not a 7 Series.
Oh, and if all of that wasn’t good enough for you, driving around twisty roads at speed actually brings another positive to the table: your electric range will go up. Put the Panamera 4 E-Hybrid in either Sport or Sport Plus mode, and the hybrid system will use engine power and regenerative braking to keep the battery topped up for maximum acceleration when you need it. The harder you drive the car, the more battery charge you get back.
Man, does Porsche know how to lay out an interior. I should know. In all, our trip came out to over 24 hours of driving. I spent more than a day of my life inside that car. Not once did my shitty back get tired in the red, 9-billion-way adjustable seats
Throughout the interior, everything is exactly where you want it to be. It’s really an ergonomic masterpiece. If you long for the days of buttons in place of screens, this is the car for you. But just because there are a lot of buttons doesn’t make the cabin any less intuitive to use. The same goes for the center screen. Every menu and icon makes sense. It’s a lovely blend of old-school and new-school that works together cohesively.
Speakers are scattered throughout the vehicle, and while I’m no audiophile, I know good sound when I hear it. The standard Bose system brings good sound. It was perfect for our hours and hours of road-trip playlists we listened to during our journey. If you want even more audio bliss, a $5,940 optional Burmester system is available.
I didn’t spend too much time in the back seats, but people I drove around told me they were extremely comfy and had plenty of head- and legroom. A wonderful family car, then. There was ample trunk space, too. With the Panamera’s signature liftback, my girlfriend and I were able to get two large carry-on suitcases, two backpacks and a few other odds and ends in the rear with plenty of room to spare.
I miss this car. Maybe it’s because it’s hard to not form a bond with a vehicle you’ve driven over 1,000 miles and created wonderful memories in, but I find myself thinking about it a lot. That’s a surprise. It’s not really a me car, given the fact that I own a tiny sports car (a BMW Z4) and an American SUV (a Ford Explorer).
But this nearly 200-inch German box of seriousness grew on me like few things ever have. I came in thinking this would be an incredibly serious car. A vehicle for serious people going about serious business. I am not that, and as it turns out, neither is this car.
It’s fun. It’s playful. It wants to have a laugh with you, even if it’s a bit restrained. Touches of this silliness are all around — whether it’s the burbly exhaust note from that gem of a V6 or the little green accents throughout the interior and exterior, this is a friend who likes to party.
To me, road trips are sort of their own big party. There’s music, laughs, dumb decisions and memories being made. Few cars have ever been more suited to this sort of adventure than the Panamera 4 E-Hybrid.