German automaker Porsche has recently announced an upcoming addition to its Cayenne model range. Model year 2020 will see the popular luxury performance crossover joined by a new variant that stacks up as the most powerful Cayenne ever produced, since the original launched back on 2002.
It’s called the 2020 Porsche Cayenne Turbo S E-Hybrid, and it’s a serious piece of hardware.
Originally, the Cayenne was brought to market because Porsche realized that most loyal owners of its sports cars, like the 911 and Boxster, also had a German-built luxury performance SUV in the garage. The automaker set off to build their own SUV and the Cayenne was the result. It’s a popular model in the segment, and recently entered its third generation on sale.
With each subsequent generation, Cayenne became a stronger performer. And, with the launch of the new-for-2020 Cayenne Turbo S E-Hybrid, that’s being taken to another level. When it arrives early next year, it will represent yet another model that counts a plug-in hybrid (PHEV) powertrain as the highest performing powertrain on offer.
Specifically, the efforts of a turbocharged four-litre, 541-horsepower V8 engine are combined with a 134-horsepower electric motor, itself integrated within the Cayenne’s eight-speed automatic transmission.
With immediate electric torque output from any RPM, and the ability to enhance the output of the gasoline engine using electricity, total system output is rated at a simply whopping 670 horsepower.
That’s backed by 663 pounds of torque, available from just above idle.
Porsche says these figures are sufficient to enable 0-100 km/h sprints in well under four seconds, on route to a top speed of nearly 300 km/h.
All of that from a vehicle that can handle shorter trips (up to about 40 kilometres) using no fuel whatsoever.
That’s thanks to the innovative use of electrification to simultaneously boost performance while improving fuel efficiency. Drivers can plug the Cayenne Turbo S E-Hybrid into an external power source, like a public charger or at-home charging station, to fill its 14.1 kWh battery, which is mounted beneath the cargo load floor. A full charge takes as little as 2.4 hours, and a household Level 2 charger, running at 230 volts, will see the battery refilled in about six.
With a fully-charged battery, this high-performing crossover can drive about 40 kilometres at speeds exceeding 130 km/h, solely on electric power. That’s sufficient to get many Canadian drivers off of gasoline for their daily commute or errands.
Once the battery range is depleted, the vehicle automatically switches over to gas-electric hybrid mode. As a PHEV, plugging the Cayenne Turbo S E-Hybrid is never mandatory, because of the gasoline hybrid portion of the driveline. Translation? You never need to plug a PHEV like this one in, unless it’s convenient for you to do so.
When plugged in to a charger, drivers can use a Smartphone app to remotely control the climate control system, pre-conditioning the vehicle for their arrival using electricity, not gasoline.
The same electric motor units that enable 40 kilometres of gas-free driving per charge also serve as a performance enhancement when this Cayenne is used for spirited driving.
A drive-mode selector allows the driver to choose the current blend of gasoline and electricity propelling the vehicle. In sportier settings, the electric motors assist and boost the gasoline powertrain, adding more torque and response.
Currently, Porsche models like the now-discontinued 918 Spyder supercar, and the Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid, use a similar driveline concept. The automaker says that these are some of their highest-performing models because of (and not in spite of) their hybrid drivetrain.
The Turbo S E-Hybrid will be available in Cayenne’s standard body configuration, as well as the newly-released Cayenne Coupe body, which features a revised silhouette and more distinctive styling elements. Porsche is launching other electrified hybrid versions of both Cayenne variants as well, based around V6 and V8 engines.
To the top-dog Turbo S E-Hybrid, Porsche has specified a top-dog list of standard equipment, including Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control with electric roll stabilization, a sports-tuned rear-axle differential lock, and the extreme-performance Porsche Ceramic Composite Braking system.
Lucky owners will find themselves at the helm of one of the fastest utility vehicles on the road, and one that serves double-duty as an electric vehicle for shorter trips, but without being tethered to the nearest charging infrastructure.
Order books are now open, and the first units are expected to ship this coming winter. Pricing for the fastest Cayenne yet will start around $182,000.
If that sticker price flies so far over your head that it needs a passport, fear not, PHEV technology is advancing rapidly, and innovations made in vehicles like this one help form a path to more widespread acceptance in the marketplace.
Put another way, the Cayenne Turbo S E-Hybrid may not be coming soon to a driveway near you, but some form of the fuel-saving, performance-enhancing technology it flaunts, probably is.