Porsche is revamping its flagship Cayenne SUV, boosting performance and economy, improving comfort and specification, and introducing – it claims – a ground-breaking plug-in hybrid model. The five-model range will be in dealerships from 11 October, priced from £49,902 for the base diesel.
What’s the flagship model?
For speed, the uprated Cayenne Turbo is the obvious flagship, but the Cayenne S E-Hybrid is a bit more three-dimensional. It’s the world’s plug-in hybrid premium SUV, says Porsche. The plug-in Cayenne adopts a lithium-ion battery pack, and its 94bhp electric motor doubles the output of the outgoing hybrid Cayenne’s e-motor. Coupled with the supercharged 3.0-litre V6, the E-Hybrid’s total output is 410bhp and 435lb ft, which is good for 0-62mph in 5.9secs. So pretty rapid, but that’s not all.
Charge the E-Hybrid from the grid, and you can drive in electric mode for up to 22 miles, though not if you stick close to EV mode’s 77mph top speed. And because the E-Hybrid gets to complete a chunk of the fuel economy test cycle on zero emissions electric power, without any consideration of the carbon impact of its generation, the E-Hybrid emits just 79g/km of CO2, and supposedly returns 83mpg. Porsche GB is clearly pushing the E-Hybrid model, pricing it below the outgoing hybrid at £61,474 – the same as the S Diesel.
As for the £93,763 Cayenne Turbo, the 4.8-litre twin-turbo summons 513bhp, an extra 20 horses compared with the previous model. The vital statistics are 0-62mph in 4.5secs, 173mph v-max, 24.5mpg and 267g/km on the biggest tyres.
Enough stats already: talk me through the other tweaks!
Look closely at the hideously fake-looking press shots, and you’ll spot the cosmetic differences. The bonnet design and front wheelarches are revised, while bi-Xenon headlamps become standard with those distinctive, four-spot LED daytime running lights.
The new central grilles overlay active air flaps: when not needed for cooling, they close to reduce drag. The Cayenne now gets Porsche’s coasting function, which decouples the engine and transmission when you lift on the motorway, helping you maintain precious momentum without it being sapped by engine braking. Porsche claims the ride quality is more comfortable, without any negative impact on dynamic ability.
The rump looks wider and lower, thanks to new bumpers and a cleaner number plate surround. The S’s rectangular, single barrel exhausts have also bowed out, and the rear lamps are redesigned. Inside, a 918-inspired multi-functional sports wheel with paddles is standard equipment, as is a powered tailgate, front and rear park assist and cruise control.
What about the cars Europeans actually buy – the diesels?
Peak output of the base 3.0-litre V6 diesel climbs from 241 to 258bhp and fuel economy improves to up to 42.8mpg. Coming down are CO2 emissions – now 173-179g/km, down at least two UK company car tax brackets – while 0-62mph dips three-tenths to 7.3secs. Outputs of the 4.2-litre V8-powered diesel S look pretty much unchanged, though the 0-62mph sprint drops three-tenths to 5.4secs, C02 dips to 209g/km and fuel economy hits 35.3mpg.
The petrol-powered Cayenne S takes a big step forward, with the old 4.8-litre V8 downsized to a 3.6-litre bi-turbo V6. The V6, with 414bhp and 406lb ft, gives you two miles more to the gallon, powers to 62mph from standstill in 5.5secs, and emits up to 229g/km of CO2. A Cayenne S will set you back £60,218.