New Porsche Cayenne hybrid proves quiet achiever

Liz Dobson
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Distinctive brake callipers help the Cayenne S E-Hybrid stand out from the rest of the range. Pictures / Ted Baghurst / Supplied


With the Porsche Cayenne S E-Hybrid sitting in my work basement carpark and the premium plug-in electric SUV in dire need of some juice, it was time to call in some favours.

I had been tasked by Porsche New Zealand to use the petrol-electric Cayenne S in electric mode for city commuting during my test period. But there was no electric socket anywhere near my parking space, and my jokey suggestion of plugging it into the company’s huge emergency generator was rejected.

Instead I borrowed a long extension lead from the company’s electricians, slotted the special charger into the Porsche, snaked the cord through the basement to the nearby electricians’ office and the closest socket.

Finding a suitable plug-in spot can be tricky when not at home

With the SUV now plugged in and charging, I smiled as I looked at the definitely not Porsche-posh extension lead by the car and the unwieldy attempt to top up the Cayenne.

“In five years we’ll be laughing about this as electric charge stations will become so common and work will have at least two,” I said to our electricians.

Okay, maybe the last bit about a work charging station was taking it too far, but as more electric vehicles go on sale in New Zealand then having to use extension cords at work will be obsolete.

The Cayenne SUV joins the Panamera S and the 918 Spyder to have the E-Hybrid technology, with Porsche claiming that it’s the only manufacturer to offer three plug-in hybrid models.

Porsche’s hybrid technology is on show big time this weekend at Le Mans (see pages 33 and 35) with two Kiwis, Brendon Hartley and Earl Bamber, piloting the German company’s 919 super sports hybrid during the world’s most famous 24-hour endurance race.

While the 919 and the large SUV Cayenne may seem diametrically opposed they are joined by Porsche’s hybrid technology.

The Porsche Cayenne S E-Hybrid has a 3-litre V6 supercharged engine producing 245kW plus the addition of 70kW of power from the electric engine, giving a combined power output of 306kW and 590Nm of torque.

This enables driving performance on the level of a sports car: zero to 100km/h in 5.9 seconds and a top speed of 243km/h.

It’s also fuel efficient at 3.4l/100km and due to the lithium-ion battery you can drive all-electric up to 36km with a top speed of up to 125km/h in “silent mode”.

Paired with an eight-speed tiptronic auto transmission, the vehicle is aimed at business people who want an electric luxury SUV to drive during the week to and from work, but the power of the V6 engine to head away for the weekend or tow the boat.

Porsche NZ reckons owners will power up the vehicle overnight at home via a charging dock and, if needs be, at work give it a top-up — if, unlike me, you have a socket near your carpark space.

Priced at $175,300 (up about $3000 on the standard Cayenne S petrol) mine was specced up to $189,900 and included a panoramic sunroof, roof rails and 21in black SportEdition wheels.

To make it stand out from the Cayenne line-up it has distinctive brake callipers and emblems in acid green.

The rest of the car is identical to the recent facelift Cayenne, except the high-voltage battery is stored in the boot where normally the spare tyre is kept.

Inside, the plug-in differs from other Cayennes by having two additional buttons on its centre console, “E-Charge” and “E-Power”.

E-Charge replenishes the battery for future electric driving and this increases fuel consumption by about 20 per cent, according to Porsche.

In E-Power mode, the Cayenne moves solely on the single electric motor. This is mainly aimed at European markets, where it allows owners to avoid congestion fees in certain cities.

Every time the Cayenne starts, it’s in E-Power mode by default, assuming there is enough juice in the battery.

Charging can take up to three-and-a-half hours or 90 minutes on a high-voltage feed with more and more fast charge stations found around New Zealand.

In city driving the instant torque from the electric engine is tremendous and once you hit the motorway and plant your foot, the power is instantly impressive. The only downside to driving around the city was coping with pedestrians accidently stepping in front of a silent 2240kg large SUV.

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