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Panamera S Hybrid to debut at show

The Panamera S Hybrid will make its world premiere at the Geneva Motor Show next month  - but Australian Porsche dealers are already taking orders, with a starting pricetag from $298,300.

That asking price slots it into the range as the second most-expensive model behind the all-wheel drive Turbo, but the price could come down if the Australian arm of the company puts the Michelin tyres on as standard.

Porsche Cars Australia spokesman Paul Ellis says the hybrid could become the third-most expensive Panamera if luxury car tax fuel-efficiency exemptions come into play.

"Anyone who orders the car with the Michelin low-resistance tyres is subject to getting that car as much as $6000 cheaper with the Michelins. We're currently investigating if we can make those tyres standard for the Australian market, therefore the car would be priced more favourably because it comes in as standard under seven litres per 100km, we estimate there's a potential price difference of $6000 which is worth pursuing." he says.

The new Panamera S Hybrid has the same basic drivetrain as the Cayenne hybrid SUV, producing  279kW - 245kW from the supercharged three-litre V6 and the rest from the electic motor and battery system.

There's a theoretical torque figure of 580Nm (440Nm from the V6 and 300Nm from the electrical engine, as per the Cayenne hybrid) with the assistance of the electric motor, although Porsche says hybrid drivetrain torque figures are difficult to quantify in total.

The hybrid's fuel consumption claim (in European spec) of 6.8 litres per 100km and CO2 emissions of 159 g/km, achieved with the Porsche petrol-electric hybrid system and Panamera-specific Michelin low rolling-resistance tyres.

Standard rubber ups the number to 7.1 litres per 100km and emissions of 167 g/km of CO2, but even on standard tyres it's still the most frugal Porsche yet.

The Panamera S Hybrid is far from a green slug, claiming 0-100km/h in six seconds and a 270 km/h top speed, with the ability to cover up to 2km in full electric mode at speeds up to 85 km/h.

Unlike other petrol-electric hybrids, the electric motor operates as a generator and a starter, but the Porsche employs a separating clutch between the hybrid unit (which includes the nickel metal hydride battery) and the petrol engine, allowing the conventional eight-speed automatic transmission to be retained.

Further similarities to the Cayenne drivetrain range are likely some time next year, with Porsche also working on a diesel Panamera model using the 176kW/550Nm three-litre turbodiesel six-cylinder (which boasts 7.4l/100km in the SUV), but there's no firm timeframe on its arrival.