Porsche's marketing and PR people might be busy showing the second-generation Panamera to the world these days (the press introduction is ongoing, while the public will see it in Paris in one month from now), but Zuffenhausen engineers working on the sedan are far from having completed their tasks.
Let's take the prototype in the video below, for instance, which has been recently spotted in the proximity of the Nurburgring. This shows plenty of signs of a mid-life prototype, from the "impromptu" front grille, which might as well be confused for a spindle grille from the distance to the disorderly-placed tail pipes.
Since the Panamera 4S, the Turbo and the 4S Diesel are already on the menu and the soundtrack of the prototype appearing to spell "V6", this should be the new S E-Hybrid - usually, such test vehicles come with a "hybrid" sticker, but we couldn't see one on this prototype, so we had to settle for the plush toy on the dashboard, which probably belongs to the test driver we see behind the wheel.
If we are indeed talking about the gas-electric Panamera, this should see the new 2.9-liter V6 of the 4S getting some electric assistance - we'll remind you the current Panamera S E-Hybrid offers an overall output of 420 hp, relying on a 9.4 kWh lithium-ion battery pack that allows it to deliver an EV range of 35 km (22 miles).
We'll obviously get a greater overall output, but we also expect the battery density to increase.
As for the scale footprint, always a delicate aspect with hybrids, the current S E-Hybrid weighs 4,600 lbs and there aren't too many clues of things improving in this area of the car. That's because the second-gen Panamera has largely maintained its weight, albeit while becoming larger and improving torsional rigidity.
In theory, Porsche should follow the launch scheme of the first Panamera (pre-facelift), meaning that the 2017 model year of the internal combustion model will lead to the hybrid being introduced in 2018, as a 2019 model. Nevertheless, the automotive market currently shows a tendency of accelerated life cycles, so we can't be sure about the timing mentioned above.