You've really got to hand it to Porsche – the company isn't averse to ruffling a few feathers. Not content with building ungainly SUVs and the so-hideous-it's-beautiful Panamera, the company has unveiled its first estate.
Unveiled at the Paris Motor Show, the Panamera Sport Turismo concept is nowhere near as ugly as its description might suggest. It's arguably prettier than the standard Panamera with a rear end that gives it better balance. It builds on the standard Panamera's practical credentials with five doors, four seats, a spacious leather-drenched interior and has a boot that is over 200 litres larger than the 445-litre trunk in the original.
Power comes from a plug-in hybrid propulsion system incorporating a 328bhp Audi-sourced supercharged V6 mated to a revamped version of Porsche's e-hybrid synchronous electric motor. This delivers an extra 94bhp on demand, bringing the Sport Turismo's total to 410bhp - over 30bhp more than the current Panamera hybrid.
0-60mph occurs in under six seconds, which is impressive considering it'll also return a Prius-baiting 80.7mpg and tax-evading emissions of 82g/km. Better still, Porsche claims the 9.4kWh lithium ion battery inside the Panamera estate provides an all-electric range of 18.6 miles at speeds up to 81mph. A full recharge is said to take 2.5 hours with a high voltage charger.
As with a lot of new cars, the interior in-car electronics revolves around a touchscreen tablet device, which you can fiddle with to adjust the temperature, get directions or adjust the performance settings and traction control. You can even control these functions before you get in, thanks to a clever smartphone app.
Naturally, a front-engined, barn-arsed Porsche estate isn't going to win many hardcore fans but we're all for it. The standard Panamera is a brilliant piece of machinery but perhaps an estate body style suits it better than the standard coupe layout. We'll give you more information on this thing as we get it.