What is it?
It’s a Porsche, but not as we know it because it’s an SUV. No surprise really as these days everyone is doing SUVs and the Porsche Cayenne and smaller Macan have been with is for enough years to have seen a number on the road.
The reason everyone – Porsche as well as Jaguar, Bentley, Maserati etc – is making SUVs is because that’s what people are buying in various levels of price, specification and performance.
Which brings us back to the Cayenne, which is certainly an SUV, but as far as the business user is concerned, unless you go for the plug-in hybrid, which is what we have here.
Not only a PHEV, but one with a downsized engine with battery-powered boost. It is also a lot better than the original Cayenne hybrid which you couldn’t plug into the wall – the battery was charged by a somewhat thirsty supercharged 3.2-litre V6 and the emissions were not particularly good.
There has been some fettling down the years with the arrival of the Cayenne S e-Hybrid ix or seven years ago featuring a larger battery bringing CO2 emissions down toa more tax and congestion charge efficient 79g/km.
The latest version retains the 3-litre V6, but with added turbocharger which develops 335hp with an additional 134hp supplied with by the electric motor. This is powered by a battery located under the boot floor.
What do we think?
Porsche says the latest tweaks provide more power and performance which is exactly what Porsche is all about, with a heavy dollop of luxury thrown in.
Increased battery capacity gives an all-electric range of 27 miles, a WLTP fuel consumption figure of 83.1mpg and 79g/km of CO2.
Achieving anything close to the mpg figure relies on some control twiddling and a very light right foot. For instance there is a steering wheel-mounted knob with which you can dial-in a drive mode including from eco to sport.
From the control screen you can also select all-electric, hybrid (with which the car makes up its own mind), hold the battery power until you need it, or use the engine to charge the battery up.
All this and it’s pretty quick too with a 5-second 0-62mph time and a top speed of 157mph. Handling is there as well allowing you to take corners enthusiastically while retaining good composure.
Behind the wheel, there’s plenty to marvel at, not least the way Porsche’s engineers have made a big 3-litre, turbocharged V6, an electric motor, eight-speed automatic transmission and a four wheel drive system all live in perfect harmony.
There’s also plenty of kit on board in terms of touchscreen, heated seats, sat-nav, parking sensors, blind spot indicators etc.
An aside here – how will autonomous cars actually work? I encountered thick fog one day and the dashboard informed me that the sensors were unable to read the road ahead. Similarly they can get gunged up with road crud.
Graphics on of the 12.3-inch touchscreen are clear enough but not the most intuitive. There is a distinctly sporty feel to the dashboard which mirrors that of the more sporty Porsche models, highlighted by the centrally-mounted rev-counter.
It’s comfortable enough inside and the seats are nicely supportive.
So, to finish off, let’s look at a couple of headline numbers, starting with a price of north of £70,000. And that fuel consumption? Needless to say I achieve nowhere near the 83.1mpg, I actually averaged 34.9mpg over a mixed bag of town, country and motorway driving.
Maybe I need a word with my right foot and make better use of the battery.
Porsche Cayenne e-Hybrid
- Price range: 72,560 – £144,930
- Engine: 3-litre V6 PHEV
- Max power: 410hp
- Max torque: 590Nm
- 0-62moh: 5.9 secs
- Fuel economy (WTP) 83.1mpg
- CO2: 79g/km
- BiK Rate: 11%