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

First drive: Porsche Cayenne Turbo E-Hybrid
Mental power outputs abound with the new Porsche Cayenne Turbo E-Hybrid SUVs, but are they as good as their bare on-paper figures suggest?

   



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Porsche Cayenne Turbo E-Hybrid and GT Package

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Porsche unleashes the most powerful Cayenne models it has ever made on the world - and, indeed, the most powerful products fitted with internal combustion engines it has ever had in showrooms, save for the 918 Spyder from a decade ago - with the new Turbo E-Hybrid facelifted models. Packing the best part of 750hp, do you really need sub-four-second 0-62mph capability from your 2.7-tonne, planet-saving, family-practical plug-in hybrid SUV? Probably not, but it's nice to have the option, eh?

Test Car Specifications

Model: 2024 Porsche Cayenne Turbo E-Hybrid SUV/Cayenne Turbo E-Hybrid Coupe with GT Package
Price: Cayenne SUV from 70,400, Cayenne Turbo E-Hybrid SUV from 130,200, Turbo E-Hybrid Coupe with GT Package from 154,000
Engine: 4.0-litre V8 twin-turbocharged petrol plus 130kW electric motor
Battery: 25.9kWh lithium-ion
Transmission: eight-speed Tiptronic automatic, Porsche Traction Management (PTM) all-wheel drive
Power: petrol 599hp at 6,000rpm, electric 176hp, system max 739hp
Torque: petrol 800Nm at 2,400-4,500rpm, electric 450Nm, system max 950Nm
Emissions: 39-45g/km (Turbo E-Hybrid SUV), 40-43g/km (Turbo E-Hybrid Coupe with GT Package)
Economy: 141.2mpg (Turbo E-Hybrid SUV), 148.7mpg (Turbo E-Hybrid Coupe with GT Package)
Electric driving range: 43-45 miles (Turbo E-Hybrid SUV), 44-45 miles (Turbo E-Hybrid Coupe with GT Package)
0-62mph: 3.7 seconds (Turbo E-Hybrid SUV), 3.6 seconds (Turbo E-Hybrid Coupe with GT Package)
Top speed: 183mph (Turbo E-Hybrid SUV hybrid mode), 189mph (Turbo E-Hybrid Coupe with GT Package hybrid mode); 84mph (both models, electric mode)
Boot space: 545-1,557 litres (Turbo E-Hybrid SUV), 404-1,344 litres (Turbo E-Hybrid Coupe with GT Package)

Styling

The Turbo E-Hybrid models have the same overarching physical exterior updates applied to all Mk3 Cayennes during this mid-cycle refresh, which means a new bonnet, new wings, new lamp clusters, new bumpers and, in the case of the SUV at least, a new position for the rear number plate. Added to this, the Turbo E-Hybrid models get capital-T-Turbo signifiers of Porsches of yore - so subtly wider arches, big alloys (21s) and more purposeful quad exhausts. But, like the other E-Hybrid models, there's still the chance of spotting the Acid Green details on the bodywork badging/brake callipers, depending on the owner's preferences at ordering time, and there are still two 'filler' caps on each of the rear wings - one for the petrol bit of the drivetrain, the other for the electric portion.

The rather clunkily named Cayenne Turbo E-Hybrid Coupe with GT Package (or Cayenne TEHCwGTP, in even clunkier shorthand) is an intriguing model, though. Whereas the 'regular' Turbo E-Hybrid is available in both SUV and Coupe bodies, the GT Package comes as a Coupe only. In trying to be both a physical and dynamic part-electric replacement for the revered Turbo GT, a model now killed off in Europe due to emissions regs, the GT Package looks eerily familiar if you knew what the old 640hp Cayenne looked like. So the new PHEV runs on 22-inch wheels with a five-twin-spoke design, it has a more prominent fixed spoiler at the top of its rear windscreen, and the four tailpipes of the regular Turbo are replaced with dual centre-exit ovals in a meaty diffuser. There's also the potential to put various door-stripe graphics on it for the sportiest of appearance; we can highly recommend gold for these, as well as the alloys, against a black body. Seriously, the Cayenne TEHCwGTP looks utterly mint in that spec.

Interior

The general changes for all Mk3 Cayennes apply to all three Turbo E-Hybrid derivatives too (regular SUV and Coupe, as well as the Coupe with GT Package, in case you've forgotten from the paragraph above), which means a 12.6-inch digital instrument cluster lacking for a cowl, a small, stubby, electric-razor-like gear selector protruding from the dashboard instead of the transmission tunnel, and the option of a 10.9-inch touchscreen display for the front-seat passenger - which, cleverly, cannot be seen by the driver, even when it is fully illuminated and in operation; safety first, see? Any of the Turbo E-Hybrid cars have the 'Turbo' legend in their dial packs, while the GT Package again brings specific upgrades - most notably, an utterly glorious, 15mm-smaller-diameter steering wheel finished in Race-Tex microfibre and adorned with a yellow 12 o'clock marker - to make it feel even more upmarket to sit in. However, as any Turbo E-Hybrid has a wonderful passenger compartment, it doesn't matter which one you go for, you end up with one of the best SUV interiors going in the Cayenne.

Practicality

Like any Cayenne PHEV, you lose some boot space with the Turbo E-Hybrid models. The sole SUV variant has a 545-litre boot, rising to 1,557 litres with its rear seats folded away. Meanwhile the Turbo E-Hybrid Coupe, whether fitted with the GT Package or not, reduces those numbers to 404 and 1,344 litres respectively. You get about 150 litres more in the petrol-powered Cayennes that don't have any electric gear fitted to them, so that's a bit of a drop. Having said that, rear passenger room and stowage compartments throughout the cabin are the same in all versions of the Porsche SUV, so unless you regularly cram your vehicle's boot as full as you possibly can do, there's every likelihood that the cargo area in the Cayenne Mk3 facelifted E-Hybrids will serve you just fine.

Performance

As emissions controls have done for the Cayenne Turbo GT, so they have also done for the 'plain' 4.0-litre V8 Turbo model of the Porsche SUV. It's for this reason that the variant formerly known as the Turbo S E-Hybrid seems to have bafflingly lost its 'S', despite gaining more power and torque. Porsche's reasoning here, by the way, is that you don't need to denote a higher-output version of one of its products with said 'S', if there's no, umm... lesser model to sit underneath it in the line-up.

All of which waffling means that you don't want to get hung up on the loss of the Turbo S E-Hybrid nor Turbo GT badges, because neither of those two made anything like the power this new Turbo E-Hybrid churns out. Where the pre-facelift ultimate Cayennes had either 680- or 640hp accordingly, this new PHEV goes beyond the 700hp barrier by some distance: its peak output is 739hp.

Just roll that number around in your head a little. Seven hundred. And thirty-nine horsepower. Save for the outrageous 887hp developed by the 918 Spyder hypercar, no other combustion-engined Porsche has got close to it; no Panamera has done, certainly, while even lunatic machines such as the last GT2 RS we saw in the wild - the 991 version - can only manage 700hp on the nose. The Carrera GT V10 supercar? It sported a piffling 612hp.

Of course, the elephant in the room here (if you'll forgive that unfortunate allusion to pachyderms) is that none of the 911, Panamera, 918 Spyder or Carrera GT's powertrains were having to shift anything like the weight of these Cayenne Turbo E-Hybrids around. Officially, the lightest model is the GT Package, weighing in at 2,495kg, while the corresponding non-GTP-equipped Coupe is the heftiest at 2,595kg. But those figures are DIN. Rated in EU, which adds 75kg to the mix to account for a driver and some luggage onboard, we're talking about SUVs here which are knocking on the door of 2.7 tonnes - comfortably (or uncomfortably, depending on how you look at it) the heaviest road-going vehicles Porsche has ever put into production.

That said, you probably don't need us to tell you that anything with nearly 750hp, fully 950Nm of torque and wielding an on-paper 0-62mph time that's well below the four-second marker is going to be quick, with the now-legendary capital 'F'. Fully lit, with both its 599hp petrol V8 and new 176hp electric motor giving it their all, the Cayenne Turbo E-Hybrids are bonkers for acceleration. And, having sampled them on track, we know that they do that unnerving trick all mega-power cars tend to do, which is this: beyond 100mph, acceleration does not tail off noticeably. At all. Keep your foot in and these mighty Cayennes will hammer past 150mph in the blink of an eye, so their top speeds of 180-190mph look, if anything, a touch reserved.

They sound brilliant too, thanks to the bassy rumbles of the V8s, but fuel economy is something to monitor. While the new, more powerful e-motor and enlarged 25.9kWh battery pack - both features every Cayenne E-Hybrid enjoys as part of the facelift - give the SUV much more electric driving range, concomitantly reducing CO2 outputs to less than 50g/km on the WLTP cycle, the whole 141-149mpg on-paper stats have to be taken with a pinch of salt. That's not something specific to the Cayenne PHEVs, of course, as all plug-in hybrids will only achieve such lofty numbers if you connect them up to the mains electric regularly. Yet we enjoyed an enthusiastic drive up a twisting mountain road in a Turbo E-Hybrid SUV with little to no battery power left in it, and ending up seeing a dizzying 7.7mpg on the average economy read-out. Yikes!

OK, not everyone is going to be driving their Cayenne PHEV like that regularly, but there is the suspicion you'll be looking at around 20mpg-ish from the Turbo E-Hybrids if you often drive them without their electrical systems offering up any assistance. And that doesn't make them very economical at all, does it?

Ride & Handling

The two-valve Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM) dampers which are the technical highlight of the revised Cayenne range are introduced for the Turbo E-Hybrid models, which means you now have one dedicated valve for compression and one for rebound. Two-chamber air springs are also standard-fit on the Turbo-badged PHEVs, resulting in heavy, giant vehicles that are truly astounding in how well they manage their not-insignificant mass.

All Cayenne E-Hybrids grip hard, steer beautifully and stop reasonably well, despite their brakes being asked to do regenerative work as much as they do actual retardation. And with the trick new PASM in the mix, these SUVs have resolute control of their bodies. There feels like there's a gnat's more squidge and movement in the Turbo E-Hybrid's set-up than there is in either the GT Package or the S E-Hybrid, mainly because both those two PHEVs are lighter (the GTP by 100kg, thanks to having a carbon-fibre roof, Porsche Ceramic Composite Brakes and other weight-saving measures), but driven hard on both road and track, the Turbo E-Hybrids impressed us mightily for handling.

They were also every bit as civilised and sophisticated to be in when they were driving in a more reasonable fashion at everyday traffic speeds, and their in-town refinement is second-to-none - despite the fitment of huge alloy wheels. It's quite amazing that something with 739hp and a V8 onboard can whisper about urban streets as if it were nothing more than an oversized Nissan Leaf. Although that's doing the Porsche E-Hybrid's e-motor a disservice; with 176hp and 450Nm, this PHEV's gearbox-mounted electric propulsion unit is more powerful than the motors some manufacturers fit to full-on EVs these days. Cough Stellantis cough.

And yet, as good as the Turbo E-Hybrid and the Turbo E-Hybrid with GT Package were - the precis of that latter SUV is that it's obviously more alert and playful than the plain Turbo E-Hybrid, and more focused if you happen to find yourself on an empty race circuit - we find ourselves curiously lukewarm to them. Not, of course, that they are in any way bad. Just that we didn't find the drive of them as memorable as some other hyper-rapid SUVs, including many Porsches (both of the Cayenne and also the Macan variety), that we've sampled in the past.

In summary, both Turbo E-Hybrids are considerably sharper and more invigorating to drive than the Turbo S E-Hybrid they have to replace. So in that regard, job jobbed for Porsche, right? Hmm. Perhaps. The issue we have is that, while they're both better than the TSEH PHEV - which always felt like piloting a small yet very-fast-moving moon around the place - they're also no match for the Turbo GT, which is perhaps a stupidly high dynamic bar to ask a plug-in hybrid to clear, but they also don't feel as rewarding and as balanced as the pre-facelift Cayenne GTS did. And as one Porsche person put it on the launch, they would be 'very surprised' if a facelifted GTS model wasn't already in the pipeline...

Value

Regrettably, this is an area where the Turbo E-Hybrid and the Turbo E-Hybrid with GT package slip behind the Cayenne S E-Hybrid V6 PHEV lower down the range. Sure, the former cars bring with them elevated levels of both standard equipment and performance, but in reality the operational zones where the Turbos really leave the S E-Hybrid behind all dwell in speed ranges which are wholly illegal. For town driving and regular extra-urban motoring duties, the 519hp Cayenne PHEV will not leave you wanting in the slightest. Which then makes the socking great 42,500-43,100 uplifts required to turn your V6-powered S E-Hybrid Coupe or S E-Hybrid SUV (respectively) into their Turbo V8 equivalents look a step too far.

And the GT Package? Hold your breath: it costs from 154,000. That's not a huge increase from the 150,500 the Turbo GT was commanding when it went off sale, admittedly, and Porsche would no doubt cite ultra-luxury competitors like the Lamborghini Urus, Aston Martin DBX and Ferrari Purosangue as being the natural rivals to the Turbo E-Hybrid with GT Package - all of which cost more than the German SUV does. However, it still feels like an awful lot for what is not the best-driving Cayenne we've ever been in; either the Turbo GT or even the old V8-powered GTS would take that mantle, for us. And that's why we find it hard to ignore the considerably more affordable (if still not exactly cheap) charms of the S E-Hybrid variant of the Cayenne instead.

Verdict

Technically, both the Porsche Cayenne Turbo E-Hybrid and the Turbo E-Hybrid with GT Package are towering achievements from the German manufacturer. To manage to blend such a disparate variety of almost contradictory attributes into one cohesive, desirable package is nothing short of a marvel. What you have with either of these vehicles is something which can travel around town with all the lightness of touch of the smallest city EVs, yet which has the outright pace of most supercars. They're practical and family-oriented if you need them to be, and yet they're supremely capable on track and a riot on the right roads if you don't. They have ride and handling squared off like a dream. They have pace and parsimony (kind of) in working in blissful union.

OK, they're heavy, they're incredibly expensive and we think there have been Cayennes before them which were even more supremely talented in the driving engagement stakes, but other than that these Turbo E-Hybrid Porsches are thoroughly brilliant machines - and clearly right at the forefront of the top-end premium SUV game.



Matt Robinson - 24 Oct 2023



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2024 Porsche Cayenne Turbo E-Hybrid Coupe with GT Package. Image by Porsche.2024 Porsche Cayenne Turbo E-Hybrid Coupe with GT Package. Image by Porsche.2024 Porsche Cayenne Turbo E-Hybrid Coupe with GT Package. Image by Porsche.2024 Porsche Cayenne Turbo E-Hybrid Coupe with GT Package. Image by Porsche.2024 Porsche Cayenne Turbo E-Hybrid Coupe with GT Package. Image by Porsche.

2024 Porsche Cayenne Turbo E-Hybrid Coupe with GT Package. Image by Porsche.2024 Porsche Cayenne Turbo E-Hybrid Coupe with GT Package. Image by Porsche.2024 Porsche Cayenne Turbo E-Hybrid Coupe with GT Package. Image by Porsche.2024 Porsche Cayenne Turbo E-Hybrid Coupe with GT Package. Image by Porsche.2024 Porsche Cayenne Turbo E-Hybrid Coupe with GT Package. Image by Porsche.








 

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