Hedging bets is in vogue. Like all other car companies, Porsche has learned that battery-electric technology is not about to sweep the world and change the face of the industry. Battery-electric works well in low-volume luxury high-performance vehicles like their very own Taycan Turbo S, which remains one of my favorite supercars, a toy for acceleration junkies that can also attack mountain roads with style. But marketplace critical mass will not be reached without breakthroughs in battery chemistry, and trillions invested in power generation, let alone a charger in every garage.
Hedging bets, Porsche is investing in demonstrable upgrades of its existing gasoline and gas-electric hybrid vehicles to keep them relevant and fresh. Cayenne received a healthy list of upgrades in the past year—the Cayenne Turbo GT I drove earlier this year is arguably the most exhilarating Super-SUV available in the U.S.—and now it’s Panamera’s turn.
Panamera’s greatest advance is hidden from view, a form of active suspension available as an option on the E-Hybrid models. Active suspension had a moment in the sun in the early 1990s, but quickly lost favor in production luxury vehicles. I spent plenty of seat time in the early 1990s Infiniti Q45 Active and loved it, but it also did not make a huge difference in overall performance. For that time, active was simply too complicated with limited real benefit, not ready for prime time. Funny, but in racing the story was entirely different: active suspension worked so well on Williams-Renault Formula One cars of the era that the technology was banned.
Though the game show doesn’t have the level of danger included in the original “Squid Game” —a fictional Korean series in which participants are often seriously maimed or killed—two former contestants of “The Challenge” have threatened to sue Netflix over hypothermia and nerve damage they reportedly suffered while playing “Red Light, Green Light.”