Motoring review: The Porsche Panamera S E-Hybrid is fantastic, but it doesn’t deserve a tax break


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The Independent Online

PRICE £88,967
ENGINE Capacity Supercharged 3.0-litre  V6 petrol, plus electric motor
POWER OUTPUT (BHP @ RPM) 410 @ 5,500

There is something remarkable about this  new £90,000 Porsche. I don’t mean its deficit-busting price-tag, or the fact that it will hit 168mph if you can find a former Cold War bomber base with a long enough runway. That’s fairly standard for a Porsche.

It’s not remarkable that Porsche’s latest model has four doors and four seats either. The company sells more SUVs and saloons than sports cars. No, what’s remarkable about this particular car is the suggestion that it’s an environmentally friendly Porsche. The firm says that it will do – thanks to its plug-in hybrid system – a Greenpeace-pleasing 91 miles per gallon and emits so few nasty CO2 particles that buyers won’t have to pay road tax or the congestion charge in central London. And this must be true because the Government will give you a subsidy of £5,000 if you buy one.

Far be it from me to dispute any of this. But what on earth does it say about environmental policy when the Taxman  is offering such a handsome subsidy to buyers of five‑metre‑long luxury cars  fitted with a thirsty V6 petrol engine? Not good things. True, it drives like a dream (about 10 miles silently in pure electric mode) but surely this is something Georgie Boy could have dealt with in the Budget yesterday? It’s a niche area, of course, but wouldn’t that money be far better spent encouraging affordable green cars for the masses? Just like the all-electric VW eUp I’m currently testing (full review to follow soon). At £20k plus, it’s still pricey yet this type of smaller, more affordable car is clearly a far better candidate for subsidy.

This Porsche, then, is more about making a statement, hence the lurid lime-green brake pads to illustrate your green credentials in what is one of the most brazen pieces of automotive green washing I’ve seen in a while. It’s the sort of car you’d see parked in Los Angeles or Kensington, next to a Range Rover or a Mercedes SLS.

Essentially, it won’t bring down anyone’s carbon footprint that much. And this is shame because despite all this it’s a truly beautiful place to spend time and an exquisite piece of engineering that blends petrol and electric power seamlessly. I just can’t help thinking that a green car should, well, actually be green.