America has an issue. Nicely, truly it has quite a lot of issues, however the (small) one I’m speaking about right here is that it simply doesn’t appear to “get” plug-in hybrids. Certain, they promote right here, however how usually do folks truly plug them in? Regardless that there are actual advantages to doing so. We additionally have a tendency to think about PHEVs as being environment friendly, slightly than as a efficiency automobile however Porsche is attempting to alter that with the most recent variations of its Cayenne E-Hybrid.
The brand new Cayenne is wonderful in normal, ICE-only type. The 2023 Cayenne S is the perfect quick SUV on sale proper now and second place isn’t precisely shut. I drove the bottom Cayenne E-Hybrid which is powered by a turbocharged V6. That fuel engine and the hybrid system put out a mixed (and wholesome) 463 horsepower however whereas the baseline stage of sportiness of the Cayenne is there, I wouldn’t name it tremendous thrilling. Porsche is prepared with a treatment to this example with the 2024 Cayenne S E-Hybrid and, most excitingly, the Cayenne Turbo E-Hybrid.
Full Disclosure: Porsche wished me to drive the 2024 Cayenne S E-Hybrid and Turbo E-Hybrid so badly that it flew me to Barcelona the place I attempted to not eat an excessive amount of ham, however positively overindulged in cafe con leche and loved talking my very restricted Spanish with a hearty lisp.
Not like the ICE Cayenne S and its turbocharged V8, the S E-Hybrid will get the identical V6 engine as the bottom E-Hybrid, nevertheless it will get an elevated energy output of 512 horsepower and 553 pound-feet of torque. That comes from tweaks to the fuel engine and whereas I didn’t precisely have my hair set on hearth by the efficiency (it’s nonetheless a heavy automobile at 5,311 kilos) and whereas I didn’t drive it back-to-back with the non-S E-Hybrid, it’s nonetheless a reasonably spectacular SUV that hides its weight nicely, even on an ultra-twisty Spanish street close to Montserrat.
Whereas the bottom E-Hybrid comes on the Cayenne’s severely good metal spring suspension, the S E-Hybrid comes with the identical two-valve, two-chamber air suspension that blew me away on the Cayenne S. The experience high quality on supply right here is superb, as is the pace with which the suspension reacts to adjustments within the street. There have been (as soon as once more) instances after I had the SUV in Sport Plus mode and forgot about it.
Whereas the S E-Hybrid is probably going going to be the amount vendor right here, probably the most thrilling model is the Turbo E-Hybrid which successfully replaces the Turbo S E-Hybrid of the earlier technology. This monster makes a mixed 729 hp and 700 LB-FT of torque. These are successfully supercar numbers, even when the 5,719 pound curb weight isn’t a supercar quantity. For some context, the Lucid Air Sapphire I drove not too long ago – a 1,234 hp EV with 429 miles of vary – ideas the scales at simply over 5,300 lbs. The Turbo E-Hybrid is type of a porker of a Porsche.
In fact, that made Porsche’s invitation to return and drive it on a observe that’s used primarily for bikes much more intriguing to me. Like, Porsche is aware of sports activities automobiles and offers a shit about the way it’s perceived as a model, so these engineers have to be mighty happy with their new technological terror in the event that they’re going to show a bunch of journos unfastened.
Yeah, holy shit. This factor is wonderful. Certain, it’s nonetheless a really heavy SUV, nevertheless it’s shockingly agile and because of large carbon ceramic brakes, hauling that weight down from stratospheric speeds for corners is feasible for greater than a single lap. I’m not often an enormous fan of “high-performance SUVs.” It simply looks as if you’re asking one automobile to do every thing and the outcomes aren’t often nice. Simply have a look at the Lamborghini Urus Performante for proof of this.
The Cayenne Turbo E-Hybrid (particularly with the GT bundle that we gained’t get within the US) feels planted and steady. That air suspension that provides the S and S E-Hybrid its magic experience now makes the Turbo E-Hybrid really feel prefer it’s prepared to interrupt the legal guidelines of physics. Make no mistake, that is no 911 Turbo (although our lead drivers had been in them) and no person will realistically ever take their Cayenne to the observe, however the efficiency is actual.
In fact, my second on-track session marks the primary occasion of my getting carbon ceramic brakes smoking coming again into the pits. I’ve by no means felt so comfy pushing one thing so large so onerous and that’s positively value one thing.
At the start of this factor, I talked about how America doesn’t plug in its plug-ins. Porsche has an answer to that, too. Certain, it’ll work finest if you happen to do as you’re speculated to and juice it up nightly, however Porsche has designed the automobile to always monitor and high up its traction battery as you drive. Because of this you’re typically not going to be ready the place you’re operating on ICE solely and that’s good for gas economic system and mom earth gaia.
Porsche has additionally rigged up the E-Hybrids to remain in EV mode for approach longer than you’d count on. Throughout my drive on the Spanish Autovia (aka freeway), I needed to hold checking to see if the combustion engine had engaged and most often, it hadn’t. Porsche hasn’t given us EPA gas economic system numbers, however I believe that they’ll be fairly spectacular, particularly within the wildly highly effective Turbo model.
Finally, would I purchase any of the E-Hybrid fashions if it was my very own greenback? Hell yeah, I’d. Should you’re the type of one who has a good commute – even 30-40 miles a technique – you’ll end up spending approach much less on gasoline than you count on and also you’ll all the time be able to boogie, even if you happen to forgot to plug in. Given the present state of America’s EV charging community (learn: piss-poor and unreliable), this center step is seeming an increasing number of like a strong transfer.