OCT 22nd 2014

Driven: Cayenne joins 918 in Porsche's hybrid line‑up

Once maligned by true Porsche aficionados, the Cayenne laid the foundation for Porsche’s rise into one of the most successful car companies of recent times and, even though large SUVs remain in vogue around the world, to be really ‘on trend’ some consideration towards good old Mother Earth must also appear to be shown. Enter the Cayenne S E-Hybrid – the third plug-in electric vehicle to grace the Stuttgart line-up following the Panamera S E-Hybrid and the ballistic 918 Spyder.

Identifiable by its ‘acid green’ brake calipers and similarly accented badging, the Cayenne E-Hybrid is powered by a supercharged 3.0-litre V6 petrol engine coupled with an electric motor. They combine to produce a total output of 416hp and a headrest-challenging 435lb ft of torque from just 1250rpm. Much of that torque is delivered from rest via the E-Drive mode – the Cayenne’s default setting when you first twist the key.

Porsche Cayenne e-hybrid

This helps greatly towards ensuring a sub-six second dash to 62mph, but its real purpose is in affording owners the ability to conduct daily commutes of up to 22 miles using only electric power and speeds of up to 77mph without the engine kicking in. The 10.8kWh lithium-ion battery pack located under the boot floor is the same size as that in the Panamera S E-Hybrid but has improved cell capacity and can be fully charged in less than an hour and a half where the appropriate charger is available. While on the move, the E-Power function enables the battery to be charged up directly from the petrol engine, effectively using it like an electricity generator. Doing so takes around 30 minutes for a full re-charge, though this does result slightly more sluggish performance when on the move and can have a significant effect on overall fuel consumption.

Silently creeping around town is one thing but Porsche buyers want more than that. Pressing the throttle pedal beyond a certain point awakens that supercharged V6 from its dormant state to provide plenty of extra kick and should you keep your right foot all the way in provides a fairly raucous soundtrack. Feeding the throttle in rather than giving it sudden stabs does result in a more seamless integration of the two power sources.

Porsche Cayenne e-hybrid

 

Even though the E-Hybrid weighs in some 270kg heavier than a conventional Cayenne S the handling, crisp as it can be for a large SUV, isn’t noticeably affected. It holds its line well in faster corners and thanks to Porsche’s clever suspension setup doesn’t wallow around. Just as impressive as its driving performance is the official fuel economy, which Porsche quotes as 83mpg on a combined cycle, while emissions are just 79g/km.

As important as the horsepower and torque are to many, in this case it’s the aforementioned figures relating to miles per gallon and CO2 emissions that are most likely to pique the interest of potential Cayenne S E-Hybrid buyers who will very much feel like they’re getting to have their cake and eat it.

Power to weight: 180hp/ton
0-62mph: 5.9 seconds
Top speed: 151mph
Engine: 3.0-litre supercharged V6 with permanent magnet synchronous electric motor
Power: 416hp at 5500rpm
Torque: 435lb ft at 1250 to 4000rpm
Transmission: Four-wheel drive, seven-speed automatic
Wheels: 8.0×18 alloy
Tyres: 255/55- R18
Economy: 83.0mpg
CO2: 79g/km
Price: £61,474
On sale date: Now

Porsche Cayenne e-hybrid

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