I’ve been lucky enough to get my hands on every variant in the Cayenne range prior to taking delivery of my E-Hybrid long-term review car, including the S which I took for a blast through the rugged landscape of Crete in 2017.
Between them, the entry-level variant, Cayenne S, and Turbo have categorically demonstrated that Porsche’s large SUV is a force to be reckoned with. It’s refined and sophisticated, practical and athletic in varying degrees, but the newest option to join the line-up brings a whole additional set of likable features.
Here are five of my favourite that didn’t take long to stand out:
In hot or cold climates, the Cayenne’s cabin can be ‘preconditioned’ prior to boarding with the pre-climatisation feature. Unlike the more conventional variants, the E-Hybrid’s interior heating and cooling is operated electrically, avoiding the need to start the engine.
Once a predetermined time and temperature has been set, the E-Hybrid uses electrical power from its battery (or mains power if its charge cable is plugged in) to cool or heat its interior.
Pure electric driving
Up to 44km might not seem like a particularly long way for any vehicle to travel on electric-only power, but you might also be surprised to learn that the average Australian’s daily commute is less than that – about 20km each way.
Plug the Porsche in at home and in the morning, it will be filled with enough electrons to get you to work and home again independently of fossil fuels. And by very rough approximation, the power it costs to charge it battery will cost you about half as much in petrol to cover the same distance.
Typical Porsche quality
Some Porsche purists may still need time to get used to the idea of a high-riding SUV from Stuttgart but the build quality and finish is every bit as good as the company’s coupes, convertibles and supercars.
Examples of restrained, classy design are everywhere from the centrally mounted compass on the dashboard with anti-glare coated glass, leather-upholstered pistol-grip grab handles for front occupants, and the machined-finish 21-inch RS Spyder wheels (optional).
The finest attention to detail combines for an immersive quality including even the indicator stalk’s satisfying click, prismed edge to the rear-view mirror and the electronically generated click from the central solid-state switch gear.
Performance and efficiency
Adding an electric motor, battery and associated hardware to the entry-level Cayenne has dealt a significant weight penalty, but the added power and torque more than offsets extra mass in the performance stakes.
Pin the throttle from a standstill and the E-Hybrid will dispense with the benchmark 0-100km/h dash in just 5.0 seconds – the same as an Audi TT S. Need to scrub that speed off again? Mighty ten-piston brake calipers on the front axle grasp 360mm discs and hide bulk admirably.
Despite the prodigious weight, power and torque, the official combined (NEDC) fuel efficiency figure from Porsche is just 3.4 litres per 100km.
Acid Green highlights
What colour says electric to you? As the various mainstream brands pursue electrification, each company has set about branding their respective proprietary tech. For Porsche, hybridisation’s calling card is Acid Green and it’s everywhere.
From the central Perspex tachometer needle, to the virtual gauges in the digital displays, exterior badging highlights and the brake calipers, the E-Hybrid calling card is both subtle and powerful.
Off the list
Not fitted to my car are the optional Surface Coated brake discs, which add boosted braking power as well as an awesome aesthetic touch.
With a super-hard coting of tungsten, the special Porsche-developed discs can take more punishment under hard braking, last longer than iron rotors and, after a few kilometres of use polish up to a beautiful mirror finish.
Arguably, a vehicle with regenerative braking like the E-Hybrid has less use for the more expensive items, but I would be tempted to splash the extra cash just for the visual impact.
For the first time, Porsche is also offering the hybrid the option of a noisier sport exhaust which was sadly omitted from the extras list on my car. The louder pipes further enhance the many-cars-in-one promise with an unmissable bark when the V6 takes over from pure electric power.