Porsche currently retails 18 Cayenne models in Canada – nine with conventional SUV styling and nine with a sleeker, coupe-like appearance.
That’s a high degree of choice for the consumer, and it makes sense given that the Cayenne is the best-selling Porsche nameplate worldwide. While the compact Macan SUV was the bestselling Porsche in Canada (3,657) in 2021, the Cayenne was a close second with 2,443 sold, an increase of 101 units over 2020.
As one might expect, most Cayenne models are gas-only, but there are two plug-in hybrids in the lineup, including the e-Hybrid which, like the Turbo S E-Hybrid, is available in coupe and SUV form. For this review, the spotlight is on the e-Hybrid Coupe.
Powering the e-Hybrid Coupe is a 3.0-litre turbocharged V6 paired with an electric motor and a 17.9 kWh lithium battery pack. Putting the power to the ground is Porsche’s eight-speed Tiptronic S automatic transmission and standard all-wheel drive.
In terms of output, the turbo V6 is rated at 335 horsepower and 331 lb-ft, while the electric motor produces 134 and 295 respectively, for a combined rating of 455 horsepower and 516 lb-ft. Porsche replaced the 14.1 kWh battery pack with a bigger 17.9 unit for Cayenne plug-in models last year, which pushed electric range up from 22-23 km (13-14 miles) to 27 kilometres (17 miles). Total combined range is approximately 692 km (430 miles).
For the purposes of this review, Porsche Cars Canada set me up with a Carmine Red tester with a Black cloth / leather interior. All Cayennes come well kitted out with loads of standard equipment, but because this one is a press unit, it comes with about $50,000 (!) worth of options. I won’t list them all but will call out the biggest one, as it includes the most stuff.
The Premium Plus including Sport Package in Black ($25,030) is two packages in one. The first, the Premium Plus package, includes front and rear (outboard) heated seats, comfort access (automatic door unlocking), automatically dimming exterior and interior mirrors, lane change assist, ambient lighting, LED Matrix headlights, four-zone climate control and Bose Surround Sound System.
The Sport Black Package includes sport design package in black (black trim), carbon fibre roof, interior carbon fibre package, Race-Tex headliner, leather interior in black / silver houndstooth, 18-way adaptive sport seats with memory package and 22-inch GT Design wheels.
Say what you will about the relentless creep of homogenous SUVs across our landscape, but the Cayenne e-Hybrid Coupe, especially in Carmine Red, really breaks the dull box mould as a sleek and handsome utility. The sloping rear roofline shrinks the greenhouse, which hampers outward visibility and reduces space for backseat passengers and cargo, but the Coupe’s curb appeal is undeniable. Highlights for me are the 22-inch GT wheels, blacked out trim bits, and Matrix LED headlights.
Same is true on the inside, which is awash in design details that are unmistakably Porsche. From the dash-top clock to the houndstooth 18-way sport seats, and pin-sharp 12.3-inch HD multimedia touchscreen display, the Cayenne e-Hybrid’s cabin has meticulous brand details that enhance its appeal. The houndstooth seats, monogrammed headrests and carbon fibre door garnish with Cayenne written in it, really drive the Porsche feeling home, and are all stand outs for this reviewer.
Elsewhere, the combo analogue-digital instrument cluster is deeply customizable, yet also well laid out and easy to navigate. Same goes for the centre console, which utilizes a traditional gear shift lever and is free of undue clutter. The Porsche Communication Management (PCM) system is now compatible with Android devices, which is a nice quality of life addition.
As for the drive, the Cayenne e-Hybrid is as worthy of the Porsche badge as any other in the lineup. In short, if anyone thinks the e-Hybrid designation makes this Cayenne a slouch in the performance department, allow me to debunk that notion.
Beyond its official 5.1 second zero-100 km/h time and 253 km/h top speed, the Cayenne e-Hybrid just feels fast. Is it the fastest or most powerful Cayenne? No, but I drove one of those last Fall. Feel free to check it out
if you’re so inclined.
So, this isn’t that, but it’s still really good. Toggling through the various drive modes, just tunes this car to varying degrees of fast and responsive, leaving it up to the driver to dial it to their liking. With 516 lb-ft of torque under the right foot, the Cayenne e-Hybrid can easily turn into a rocket, both off the line and from rest. Electrification, with its light switch power delivery, makes all the difference in this regard.
As for chassis kit, my tester has Porsche’s Adaptive Air Suspension ($2,480), which does a decent job of absorbing uneven road surfaces, but 22-inch wheels leave precious little room for tire sidewall, so jolts to the driver’s posterior are sharply felt over broken and bumpy tarmac. Tire and cabin noise were moderate during my weeklong test, but well within the range of other performance cars.
Also ticked on the order form is the Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control (PDCC – $4,090), a ride stabilization system that scrubs out body roll in cornering for improved handling, regardless of speed and drive mode. I didn’t have any closed course time with my tester, but its handling reflexes feels light and responsive on public roads.
In terms of electric range, it’s a bit of a mixed bag. The bigger battery pack boosts the rating, but it’s still quickly depleted. On the plus side, however, the Cayenne e-Hybrid allows the driver to choose how electric power is used. These include Hybrid Auto, E-Power, E-Charge and E-Hold.
The names are self-explanatory, but to clarify, Hybrid Auto utilizes either the gas engine or battery power or both depending on the driving situation, E-Power prioritizes battery power until depletion, E-Charge enables the gas engine to charge the battery while driving and E-Hold keeps the battery at a set charge level. Engine shut off / re-start at stop signs and traffic lights are part of deal here too, as is regenerative braking.
I should note that I averaged 10.8 L/100 km in a week of mixed driving, which is below the published combined figure, and that was without the benefit of daily charging, as I’m currently not set up with a home charger. Home charging could improve that number, but a vehicle is only as efficient as one’s driving style. Your mileage may vary.
Overall, the Cayenne e-Hybrid Coupe impresses. While it isn’t the most powerful Cayenne, it more than makes up for with impressive efficiency gains, while still delivering a level of performance commensurate with the badge, all in a sexy package. As for alternatives, the BMW X5 PHEV has a significantly lower starting price ($80,600) but is less powerful, while Audi and Mercedes don’t sell a comparable vehicle in Canada at all.
I suppose that makes the Cayenne e-Hybrid a bit of a unicorn, at least for the moment. But given the rapid pace of electrification industry-wide, it shouldn’t be long before new challengers emerge.
The vehicle was provided to the writer by the automaker. Content and vehicle evaluations were not subject to approval.