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Surreal isn’t it, seeing a Le Mans prototype roaming the streets of London? That’s what happened yesterday morning in the British capital, where Mark Webber piloted the Le Mans-winning Porsche 919 Hybrid LMP1 race car alongside Zuffenhausen’s new Panamera 4 E-Hybrid.

The ex-F1 man and Porsche factory race driver drove his work machine through the city from Park Lane to the South Bank of the River Thames. The Aussie navigated the capital’s streets via Hyde Park Corner, Regents Street, Piccadilly Circus, Trafalgar Square, and Parliament Square to arrive at the distinctive London County Hall Hotel, adjacent to the London Eye. Amazing scenes, which you can see in detail below.

The stunt was a demonstration of how Porsche is translating its race-winning hybrid technology from the track to the road, the company says. The debuting Panamera 4 E-Hybrid – seen in the metal for the first time here – is a plug-in hybrid powered by a combustion engine plus an electric motor charged by lithium-ion batteries, the same recipe used by the LMP1, on a smaller scale.

The latest Panamera PHEV has more performance over its Panamera S E-Hybrid predecessor, yet is more efficient. The new 2.9 litre V6 ditches the old supercharger for twin turbos, and while power is down by a negligible 3 hp at 330 hp, there’s now an extra 10 Nm at 450 Nm.

Coupled to that is a more powerful electric motor that produces 136 hp (+41 hp) and 400 Nm (+90 Nm), bringing total system output to 462 hp at 6,000 rpm and 700 Nm between 1,100 and 4,500 rpm – 46 hp and 111 Nm more than the previous car. A seven-speed PDK replaces the Panamera S E-Hybrid’s eight-speed Tiptronic auto.

With the extra grunt and 4WD, the new car blows the old one into the weeds. 0 to 100 km/h is done nearly a second quicker at 4.6 seconds, while top speed is slightly higher at 278 km/h versus 270 km/h. Despite this, FC is now at 2.5 litres per 100 km, 0.6 litres better than before. A larger 14.1 kWh battery (same weight as before) means that the zero-emissions EV range has been bumped up from 36 km to 50 km, with the maximum speed in this mode now capped at 140 km/h (up 5 km/h).


GALLERY: Porsche Panamera 4 E-Hybrid