With its very limited edition 918 Spyder and more mainstream Panamera S E-Hybrid – not to mention the coming electric Mission E – Porsche has shown that it takes electrification seriously. The premium automaker’s next step in its electrification strategy is represented by the 2016 Cayenne S E-Hybrid, a move that has brought plug-in hybrid power to its popular SUV model.
The Cayenne S E-Hybrid uses essentially the same components as its Panamera sibling to achieve plug-in capability. There have been some changes, like upgrading this S E-Hybrid model’s lithium-ion battery pack from 9.4 to 10.8 kilowatt-hours. This battery replaces the spare tire found in conventionally powered Cayenne models and allows the Cayenne S E-Hybrid to travel about 14 miles on battery power. Electric-only driving is possible at speeds up to 78 mph before the engine starts and the vehicle operates likes a regular hybrid. E-Power is the default mode so the Cayenne S E-Hybrid always starts on electric power, given sufficient battery charge.
An E-Charge mode modifies charging strategy so the electric motor becomes a generator, enabling the battery to recharge up to 80 percent while driving. This provides adequate battery power for electric-only driving once desired destinations are reached, such as urban areas where zero-emission driving may be preferred. Unlike most regenerative braking systems that are either on or off, the Cayenne S E-Hybrid’s regen system provides some modulation in the brake pedal while slowing down.
The Cayenne plug-in uses a supercharged 3.0-liter V-6 mated to an eight-speed Tiptronic automatic transmission, same as the Panamera. A single 95 horsepower permanent-magnet motor located between the engine and transmission provides hybrid capability. Power is delivered to all four wheels via a limited-slip center differential. The supercharged V-6 and electric motor deliver a combined 416 horsepower.
As expected from a Porsche, the Cayenne S E-Hybrid provides excellent performance, especially considering it is a 5,000-plus pound SUV that can carry 5 people and tow up to 7,716 pounds. It can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in 5.6 seconds, 0 to 100 mph in 14.4 seconds, and has a top speed of 151 mph. Efficiency is a combined 22 mpg in hybrid mode and 47 miles-per-gallon equivalent (MPGe) during electric driving
All this goodness does not come cheap at a base MSRP of $78,700, but that is in line with what one would expect to shell out for a Porsche. The combination of performance, prestige, and greater efficiency combine to make this an attractive offering for Porsche fans.