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First drive: Porsche Cayenne Turbo S E-Hybrid. Image by Porsche AG.

First drive: Porsche Cayenne Turbo S E-Hybrid
Porsche serves up the most powerful, fastest SUV it has ever made, in the form of this 680hp part-electric brute.


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Porsche Cayenne Turbo S E-Hybrid

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What do you get if you cross a Porsche Cayenne E-Hybrid with a Mk3 Cayenne Turbo? You get this: a part-electric, plug-in hybrid V8 SUV with nearly 700hp, sub-90g/km CO2, economy of more than 76mpg and a top speed beyond 180mph. So is the Cayenne Turbo S E-Hybrid a machine of conflicts and contradictions, then, or a storming new flagship addition to Porsche's top SUV line-up?

Test Car Specifications

Model tested: Porsche Cayenne Turbo S E-Hybrid
Pricing: Cayenne range from 57,195; Turbo S E-Hybrid from 123,349, Coupe from 125,946
Engine: 4.0-litre twin-turbocharged V8 petrol with 100kW permanent magnet synchronous electric motor
Transmission: PTM all-wheel drive with limited-slip diff, eight-speed Tiptronic S automatic
Body style: five-door plug-in hybrid SUV
CO2 emissions: 85g/km (VED Band 76-90 'Alternative Fuel Cars' adjusted: 100 first 12 months, then 455 per annum years two-six of ownership, then 135 annually thereafter)
Combined economy: 76.4mpg
Top speed: 183mph
0-62mph: 3.8 seconds (with standard-fit Sport Chrono pack)
Power: petrol 550hp at 5,750-6,000rpm, electric 136hp at 2,800rpm, peak system output 680hp at 5,750-6,000rpm
Torque: petrol 770Nm at 2,100-4,500rpm, electric 400Nm at 100-2,300rpm, peak system output 900Nm at 1,500-5,000rpm
Boot space: 645-1,605 litres

What's this?

There was an easier way for us to sum up the new Porsche Cayenne Turbo S E-Hybrid in the opening paragraph at the top of this piece; we could have just said that Porsche has transplanted the electrified turbo V8 drivetrain from a Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid into the Cayenne. This would have perhaps been neater, but it would have overlooked two key facts: one, the Cayenne Turbo S E-Hybrid has an additional 50Nm on the Panamera for a peak output of 900Nm; and two, it employs a proper torque-converter Tiptronic S automatic gearbox, rather than a PDK dual-clutch, because the Cayenne is more often used as a towing vehicle than the Panamera.

Other than these points, however, it's a familiar recipe. The 550hp 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 is supplemented by a 100kW electric motor and a 14.1kWh lithium-ion battery. All told, this lot will serve up 680hp and 900Nm when fully lit, as it were, with power going to all corners via Porsche Traction Management (PTM) AWD. This, theoretically, gives you the best of both worlds - ballistically bonkers pace, in the form of 0-62mph in 3.8 seconds, 0-100mph in 8.4 seconds and 0-124mph in 13.2 seconds, with a top whack of 183mph and the sort of midrange thump to disgrace an Audi R18 TDI; and yet it backs this all up with parsimonious eco-figures of 76.4mpg, 85g/km of CO2, a 25-mile all-electric range and the ability to do 0-62mph in 6.6 seconds on its e-motor alone, with the ability to go to 84mph without resorting to its petrol engine.

Spotting a Turbo S E-Hybrid won't be easy, but at the same time it's not impossible, either. Acid Green detailing, the mark of any Porsche part-electric product, can be espied on the badging and the brake callipers, although that second detail can be confounded by the fact the TSEH (as we shall refer to it from now on) has Porsche Ceramic Composite Brakes (PCCB) and so owners can opt to switch their brake shoes to yellow if they desire. Wider wheel arches are another subtle hint that this isn't a 'mere' 462hp E-Hybrid, while whopping 21-inch wheels are a clearer giveaway as to the top PHEV Cayenne's potential. Inside, additional hybrid-type displays are added to the digital instrument cluster and the 12.3-inch touchscreen of the Porsche Communication Management (PCM) system in the centre stack, but in general this is the typically exceptional Cayenne Mk3 cabin, loaded with lots of nice toys.

Finally, if you don't like the look of the Cayenne Turbo S E-Hybrid as a full SUV, you can opt to have the same drivetrain in the Cayenne Coupe, which - weirdly enough - is 45kg heavier than the 2,490kg regular Cayenne PHEV, at a portly 2,535kg overall. Boot space also drops from 645-1,605 litres on the Cayenne TSEH to 500-1,440 litres on the Cayenne Coupe TSEH, while you lose one of the rear seats as well. Finally, price: it's well beyond the 101,155 ticket of a Cayenne Turbo, being 22,194 more expensive at 123,349 basic. If you want the Coupe, it's another 2,597 again and therefore just 54 quid shy of 126 grand, before options. Oof.

How does it drive?

Porsche has thrown a wealth of technological armoury at the Cayenne Turbo S E-Hybrid in order to make it drive sweetly and to mask its undeniable bulk; remember, it's 240kg heavier than its equivalent 550hp Cayenne Turbo. So, alongside the PTM, PCCB and Tiptronic S gearbox we've already mentioned, the TSEH packs Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control (PDCC) electric roll stabilisation with Porsche 4D-Chassis Control management software, a rear axle diff-lock as part of the Porsche Torque Vectoring Plus (PTV+) system, Power Steering Plus, three-chamber air suspension with Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM) and the Sport Chrono package as standard. Buyers can even option up Rear-Axle Steering (RAS) as well, if they feel like the Cayenne TSEH needs to be even more nimble.

But does all of this work? Well... to a degree, yes. The way the Cayenne TSEH goes, stops, turns in and corners flat is truly remarkable, while you'll never stop marvelling that such a big, powerful, heavy machine as this can whirr off in full electric vehicle silence; indeed, the TSEH always uses its electrical system at start-up, so it doesn't thump into life with a traditional V8 growl. But the 550hp Cayenne Turbo is, if anything, just as astonishing for handling, doesn't feel appreciably slower on the roads (there's only a tenth-of-a-second between them for 0-62mph times, after all) and it's likely to be cheaper to run in the long-term, especially if you use the TSEH more as a performance machine than as a zero-emissions PHEV. Because, once it has drained its electrical resources, you've then got a 4.0-litre V8 lugging around 240kg of extra EV ballast, which'll make for eye-watering long-distance motorway economy figures.

It's all to do with that additional weight, you see. Given a German Autobahn and a long clear run - as we had on our test drive - then, yes, you'll appreciate how much harder the 680hp/900Nm TSEH sets about 100-155mph, and beyond, than the (admittedly still brutally rapid) Cayenne Turbo would manage. But how often are you going to be doing that on British roads? Never, that's the answer, because it's obviously highly illegal to do so. In all other regards, the Turbo feels the TSEH's performance match and it sounds just as good, too. Kudos to Porsche for keeping the excellent 4.0-litre soundtrack on this PHEV model, which burbles and roars like a good 'un when you ask it for maximum power. Kudos also for using the 918 Spyder's boost strategy for the TSEH's hybrid drive system, which layers on a geeky cool factor for us petrolheady types.

However, the Turbo S E-Hybrid feels slightly more cumbersome in the curves than other Cayennes, takes a serious amount of stopping when it's charging at high speeds (thank goodness for the PCCB...) and just generally doesn't hit you with quite the sort of haymaker-wallop, small-of-the-back pick-up you're expecting the first time you decide you're going to deploy maximum acceleration. The sensation of lumbering mass is always there, lurking as an ever-present ghoul in the background, and you'll not shake it while driving the TSEH. The brakes, in particular, also deserve further scrutiny, because while they do a terrific job of hauling the Cayenne in when you need them to, modulating their smoothness at low speeds is much trickier. It would seem that reconciling the twin requirements of massive retardation power and energy-recuperation strategies has not been the easiest of tasks for Porsche, because the TSEH exhibits a weird two-stage jerk as it rolls to a halt. This is not something we noticed the last time we drove a plain old Cayenne Turbo, nor was it an issue on the 'lesser' 462hp E-Hybrid, either.

So yes, the Cayenne Turbo S E-Hybrid takes all the acclaim of being the super-powered SUV in Porsche's range and it is, as you would expect of this company, brilliantly executed in the main. But is it our favourite Mk3 Cayenne? No, it isn't. And given its tremendous expense, that might seem like a bit of a shame.


Wonderfully engineered, a magnificent blend of the saintly and the sinful, the Porsche Cayenne Turbo S E-Hybrid is going to delight the sorts of customers who want 'the max' in everything. It's a totally understandable addition to the range and a technical masterpiece. However, we think that if you want a really fast, really engaging Cayenne, you'd be better off with the lighter, cheaper 550hp Turbo, while the regular 3.0-litre E-Hybrid model even farther down the tree is the smarter choice for the eco-conscious SUV buyer with a penchant for all things Stuttgart.

4 4 4 4 4 Exterior Design

5 5 5 5 5 Interior Ambience

4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 Passenger Space

4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 Luggage Space

4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 Safety

4 4 4 4 4 Comfort

4 4 4 4 4 Driving Dynamics

4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 Powertrain

Matt Robinson - 12 Aug 2019    - Porsche road tests
- Porsche news
- Cayenne images

2019 Porsche Cayenne Turbo S E-Hybrid. Image by Porsche AG.2019 Porsche Cayenne Turbo S E-Hybrid. Image by Porsche AG.2019 Porsche Cayenne Turbo S E-Hybrid. Image by Porsche AG.2019 Porsche Cayenne Turbo S E-Hybrid. Image by Porsche AG.2019 Porsche Cayenne Turbo S E-Hybrid. Image by Porsche AG.

2019 Porsche Cayenne Turbo S E-Hybrid. Image by Porsche AG.2019 Porsche Cayenne Turbo S E-Hybrid. Image by Porsche AG.2019 Porsche Cayenne Turbo S E-Hybrid. Image by Porsche AG.2019 Porsche Cayenne Turbo S E-Hybrid. Image by Porsche AG.2019 Porsche Cayenne Turbo S E-Hybrid. Image by Porsche AG.


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