Porsche continues the electrification of its SUV lineup with the introduction of its latest high-performance hybrid, the Porsche Cayenne Turbo S E-Hybrid. Yes, it possesses a long name, but this powerful SUV can easily sprint to 60 mph in the time it takes to say that name. Faster than any previous Cayenne, this new hybrid sits at the pinnacle of Porsche’s performance SUV lineup.
This very fast Cayenne traces its roots to another very fast Porsche — the 918 Spyder. The Turbo S E-Hybrid follows the same power platform as that supercar, employing a potent V8 engine with an electric motor that provides boost for additional performance, as well as the option for efficient electric-only motoring.
The Cayenne Turbo S E-Hybrid joins the recently introduced Cayenne E-Hybrid and will be available as a standard SUV or as sportier-looking Cayenne Coupe. Both come with a long list of standard features — certainly appropriate for their place at the top of the Cayenne lineup.
Turbo S E-Hybrid
The Cayenne Turbo S E-Hybrid has a starting price of $161,900; the Turbo S E-Hybrid Coupe is priced slightly higher at $164,400. Both have a plethora of standard features including dual-zone climate control, a particulate/pollen filter, leather-trimmed adaptive sport seats with 18-way power adjustment, four USB charging ports, park assist with a rearview camera, a Sport Chrono Package, Apple CarPlay and a premium audio system with 10 speakers. Also standard are LED headlights and taillights, 21-inch AeroDesign wheels and signature Acid-Green brake calipers.
The new Cayenne has a large, readable display screen nicely integrated into the dashboard. Quick access to navigation, phone, media and other primary items gets handled via permanent controls on the left side of the screen. Adding to the high-tech look of the Cayenne’s cockpit, the center console surrounds the gear shift with hard buttons redundant to the display screen, as well as climate control settings and other drive controls. With all controls located in the center console, there is very little space for storage or placing electronic devices — aside from the cupholders.
Although the adaptive sport seats are standard, our test vehicle was equipped with optional 14-way adjustable comfort seats with a massage function — a wonderful addition for any lengthy drive. The headliner and pillars are trimmed in Alcantara for a more high-end appearance versus the standard Cayenne E-Hybrid.
Roomy Rear Seat
The Cayenne Turbo S E-Hybrid comes with a bench seat in the rear for 3-passenger seating; however, the Cayenne Coupe has two individual seats — the bench seat is an available option. Due to the lower roofline in the coupe, rear-seat passengers sit slightly lower to retain headroom. The bench seat can be folded flat for additional cargo space.
Under the Hood
Powering the Cayenne Turbo S E-Hybrid is a 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 engine that produces 541 horsepower, teamed with a 134-horsepower electric motor for a total output of 670 horsepower and 663 lb-ft of torque. The electric motor is positioned between the V8 and the 8-speed Tiptronic S automatic transmission, which makes it possible for power to be delivered from either source independently — or both for maximum thrust. Power gets sent to all four wheels: Porsche Traction Management all-wheel drive is standard on all Cayennes.
Like the Cayenne E-Hybrid, the Turbo S E-Hybrid has a plug-in hybrid system. With a 14.2 kWh lithium-ion battery pack and a standard 7.2-kW onboard charger, a full charge can be achieved in about 2.4 hours using a 240-volt connection. Porsche has not announced the electric-only range; however, during our press drive the Turbo S E-Hybrid had about 21 miles available from a full charge.
With this hybrid powertrain, the new Cayenne Turbo S E-Hybrid offers great efficiency in addition to impressive performance. Porsche hasn’t released fuel economy numbers for the new hybrid Cayenne. However, during our several-hundred-mile drive (executed with great “enthusiasm”), we achieved close to 20 mpg, which is higher than the standard Cayenne Turbo EPA highway rating.
Sport Chrono Package
The standard Sport Chrono Package allows a driver to select from four drive modes to manage power according to particular driving needs. With E-Power selected, the Cayenne will operate as a fully electric vehicle as long as there is charge left in the batteries. Acceleration is more than adequate — the electric motor provides almost 300 lb-ft of torque from idle — and the Cayenne will continue to operate as an EV up to 83 mph. Other mode options are Hybrid Auto, Sport and Sport Plus. Hybrid mode functions like a standard hybrid vehicle, using electric power when there isn’t much load and adding in the V8 engine when needed. Sport mode uses the electric motor for additional boost when available.
Sport Plus mode is for ultimate performance — not only does it provide maximum boost and power, it also charges the batteries. During our drive we used Sport Plus on winding roads in central Oregon, and when we would arrive at a small town there would be adequate charge in the batteries to switch to E-Power for a silent run down main street. Once we were out of town and back on curvy roads it was back to Sport Plus. Repeat as needed.
On the Road
Thanks to the drive-mode selector switch, the Cayenne Turbo S E-Hybrid is a tale of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. With the battery at full charge, this powerful SUV can silently cruise through town like an electric car, burning no fossil fuels and barely attracting any attention like the mild-mannered and respectable Dr. Jekyll. But stab the throttle and Mr. Hyde comes to life — the V8 spools up with a roar and acceleration is shockingly stupendous. With full-time all-wheel drive, this significantly-sized SUV launches to 60 mph in 3.6 seconds and easily kept us pinned in our seats as speeds quickly reached triple digits. We didn’t have the opportunity to take the Turbo S E-Hybrid to the track, but Porsche says this fast SUV will reach an electronically-limited top speed of 183 mph.
As a proper Porsche, this hybrid Cayenne does more than simply go fast in a straight line. The Cayenne hides its weight well with wide, grippy tires, precise steering and excellent brakes. Helping to preserve the legacy of Porschelike drivability are Porsche Ceramic Composite Brakes, Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control and Porsche Torque Vectoring Plus — all of which are standard on the Turbo S E-Hybrid.
Right for You?
Sport-utility vehicles remain popular in America because of the versatility they offer and the feeling of confidence they provide in all types of weather. With the new Cayenne Turbo S E-Hybrid, buyers retain the basic tenets of driving an SUV with the added bonus of piloting a vehicle possessing the performance of an extreme sports car. Add in a highly-efficient plug-in hybrid system and the new Cayenne Turbo S E-Hybrid becomes an excellent option for the performance enthusiast as well as those concerned with their impact on the environment.
Pros: Very quick; hybrid efficiency; excellent handling.
Cons: Expensive; limited cabin storage.
Bottom Line: Hybrid efficiency, SUV utility and legendary Porsche performance — who could ask for anything more?