Stroll into a Porsche dealership in the coming months and you’ll find that the speediest version of their largest vehicle—the Cayenne—is now a hybrid. Get behind the wheel for nine hours on the sweeping back roads of central Oregon, as I did, and you’ll discover just how far we’ve come from the idea that hybrid means “wheezy and underpowered yet thrifty.”
The Cayenne Turbo S E-Hybrid is none of those things. It’s a well-mannered monster that uses a 100-kilowatt motor to boost its four-liter V8 engine, providing 670 horses—that’s more power than the Lambo Urus. Mash the pedal and the speed and smoothness are more akin to a bullet train than a family hauler. The idea behind this dual-drive system came from Porsche’s 918 Spyder hybrid supercar. Its complex chassis-control systems are similar, too: At higher speeds, the rear axle steers up to three degrees in the same direction as the front tires, for more stable turning. Above 131 miles per hour, its air suspension automatically dips to reduce drag. For max green cred, you can switch to E Power mode and drive emission-free—up to 83 miles per hour for short stretches.
The complex powertrain of the Turbo S E-Hybrid may not be for everyone, however—unless you’re really late to your kids’ soccer games. In the coming months and years, Porsche will unveil pure electric SUVs that will be far less complicated. But it remains to be seen whether they’ll be this fun behind the wheel.
- MSRP: from $161,900
- Horsepower: 670
- 0–60 in 3.6 sec.
- Torque: 663 lb-ft
- Top Speed: 183 mph
- Max Cargo: 56.8 cu. ft
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