2014 Porsche Panamera gets a little less ugly, plug-in hybrid version promised

2014 Porsche Panamera S E-Hybrid front three quarterThe Porsche Panamera is a very competent sports sedan; it’s literally a four-door Porsche. It’s also catastrophically ugly. Porsche is trying to remedy that with the updated 2014 model, and it’s upping the Panamera’s green cred with a new plug-in hybrid.

At the front, Porsche has moved the driving lights out of the two side air intakes. It may be a minor change, but it makes a world of difference; the whole front end looks cleaner as a result.

At the back, things haven’t really changed. No slight styling tweaks can improve that rear end, which looks like a misshapen lump of clay with Boxster taillights.

So you still may not want a 2014 Porsche Panamera if you enjoy looking at your car, but there’s more big news.

Rumor has it that Porsche will launch a plug-in hybrid Panamera, called the S E-Hybrid. It will be the first Porsche plug-in people can actually buy, since every copy of the 918 Spyder supercar was already sold out. The S E-Hybrid features a 3.0-liter V6 and eight-speed Tiptronic-S transmission coupled to an electric motor and 9.5-kWh lithium-ion battery pack.

Total system output is 416 horsepower and 435 pound-feet of torque. Porsche says this will get the Panamera S E-Hybrid to 60 mph in 5.2 seconds, and on to a top speed of 167 mph.

The Panamera S E-Hybrid also has an electric-only range of 22 miles, and can be fully recharged in 2.5 hours from a quick-charging port. Fuel economy figures will be revealed closer to the car’s U.S. debut.

2014 Porsche Panamera S E-Hybrid rear three quarterThe plug-in will grab all of the headlines, but other Panamera models are gong green too. The regular Panamera S and 4S will ditch their V8s for twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter V6s. Porsche says they will produce 420 hp and 384 lb-ft, while netting an 18-percent gain in fuel economy.

Porsche will also upgrade the (not sold in the U.S.) Panamera diesel next year, with a new engine that will produce 300 hp.

If you prefer to be chauffeured in your Porsche, a long-wheelbase Executive model is also available for 2014, though not in plug-in hybrid spec.

The 2014 Porsche Panamera goes on sale in Europe in July, with a U.S. launch likely to follow.