A plug-in hybrid SUV might once have been an unlikely project from Porsche, well-known for decades as a prime producer of high-end sports cars. Things change, and today’s automotive world is far different from that of the recent past. As part of dealing with such change, Porsche has been reaching well beyond its traditional territory.
The Cayenne E-Hybrid is a logical extension of Porsche's popular line of Cayenne crossover SUVs. With the plug-in hybrid version, Porsche brings greatly improved real-world efficiency to that market segment, while retaining the model's highly-respected usability and performance.
What's New for 2017
Facelifted two years ago, the Cayenne E-Hybrid gets the latest upgrade of the Porsche Communication Management system for the 2017 model year. In addition, a new Platinum Edition is debuting, with a sportier appearance that includes 20-inch RS Spyder wheels. Availability of the Platinum Edition will be limited.
Choosing Your Porsche Cayenne E-Hybrid
Now available in two trim levels, the E-Hybrid uses one of the more complex drivetrains in today’s market. The 3-liter gasoline V6 engine, rated at 333 horsepower, breathes through a mechanically-driven supercharger instead of Porsche's traditional turbochargers. It’s coupled to a 95-horsepower electric motor, hooked to a lithium-ion battery. Working together, the two powerplants produce 416 horsepower and 435 pound-feet of torque. An eight-speed Tiptronic automatic transmission sends power to all four wheels. Acceleration to 60 mph takes 5.4 seconds, according to Porsche.
Using mixed-mode calculations, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) gives the E-Hybrid an MPGe equivalent rating of 47 miles per gallon. The Cayenne E-Hybrid can travel about 20 miles on battery power alone. Recharge time is better than most current plug-ins—about 2.7 hours for a full charge from a standard 240-volt outlet, or half that time with Porsche's dedicated on-board charger. Like regular hybrids, the Cayenne E-Hybrid's gasoline engine can also recharge the battery pack while the vehicle is moving. An automatic start/stop function is standard.
Looking past the driveline complexity, the Cayenne E-Hybrid is a tremendously versatile, nicely-appointed, well-built vehicle. Essentially, it’s a luxurious, super-sophisticated, all-weather upright station wagon with decent ground clearance. Owners are likely to be endlessly pleased with its capabilities and comfort, which are comparable to a regular gas-engine Cayenne.
As with other Porsches, the Cayenne’s optional equipment list is massive, requiring a fair amount of study and thought—and most likely, some restraint. Many options are well worth considering, though, such as the self-leveling air suspension with Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM). Providing driver-adjustable ride height, the air suspension could be a worthwhile choice for those who traverse varied terrain or regularly carry heavy loads. Available active-safety features include lane-departure warning, lane-change assist, and adaptive cruise control. Take your time considering the possible extras carefully to achieve the most gratifying end result
As always with Porsches, keep your priorities in mind to avoid succumbing to that dizzying option list. If anything is a “must-have,” it’s probably the auxiliary air conditioning, which helps keep the cabin cool while moving on battery power. Even with a few options added, the Cayenne E-Hybrid, while hardly inexpensive, adds up to a lot of excellent vehicle for the money.