Fiery and all charged up

The Porsche Cayenne E-Hybrid can travel in an all-electric mode.
The Porsche Cayenne E-Hybrid can travel in an all-electric mode.PHOTO: PORSCHE
The Porsche Cayenne E-Hybrid can travel in an all-electric mode.
The Porsche Cayenne E-Hybrid can travel in an all-electric mode.PHOTO: PORSCHE

Porsche's new Cayenne E-Hybrid provides more oomph and emission-free range than its predecessor

Porsche's latest plug-in hybrid Cayenne is not a de-tuned economy-biased vehicle. Instead, its electric motor is designed primarily to boost the performance of the car's 3-litre turbocharged V6.

The Cayenne E-Hybrid is distinguished by green brake callipers. The rest of the sport utility vehicle looks exactly the same as the latest third-generation Cayenne - it is still not a beautiful car, but looks much better than its predecessors.

Its internal combustion engine, producing 340hp and 450Nm, is also available in the petrol-powered base model Cayenne. But with electric assist, the car boasts a system output of 462hp - 43hp more than the previous Cayenne S E-Hybrid.

More exciting is that the new power train develops 700Nm of torque between 1,000rpm and 3,750rpm.

Referred to by Porsche as "boost strategy", the power control system in the SUV is as performance-focused as its 918 hybrid supercar cousin.

Five seconds is all it takes for the Cayenne E-Hybrid to accelerate from standstill to 100kmh. Porsche's Sport Chrono package gives the driver an option to select E-Power, Hybrid Auto, Sport and Sport-Plus modes.

  • SPECS / PORSCHE CAYENNE E-HYBRID

  • Price: To be announced when car arrives in mid-2019

    Engine: 2,995cc 24-valve V6 turbocharged

    Electric motor: Permanent magnet synchronous with external rotor

    Transmission: Eight-speed automatic with paddle shift

    Power: 462hp at 5,250rpm

    Torque: 700Nm at 1,000-3,750rpm

    0-100kmh: 5 seconds

    Top speed: 253kmh (electronically limited)

    Fuel consumption: 3.4 litres/100km

    Agent: Stuttgart Auto

The E-Power mode is for pure electric motor driving, which with a fully-charged battery is claimed to last 44km, although the V6 will kick in any time there is a need for power. Maximum speed with just the electric motor is an impressive 135kmh.

The Hybrid Auto mode is the most efficient hybrid driving mode because it optimises the combination of electric motor, engine and battery recuperation.

Sport and Sport-Plus modes, as you can imagine, ensure that all of the battery's charge is reserved for boosting the Cayenne's performance. The petrol engine is running all the time in these two modes.

Performance aside, the car's handling ability sets it apart from the SUV brigade. The test-car is fitted with air suspension (optional), bringing with it the ride comfort of a luxury car and a level of body control that encourages any driver to treat it like a sports saloon.

This suspension option is highly recommended. As in the Porsche 911 and Panamera, the Sport Response button in the centre of the mode knob is like a steroid injection button. It is no gimmick and is hugely useful for overtaking in the shortest possible time.

While the electric motor has brought the six-cylinder Cayenne's performance closer to its twin-turbo V8 sibling's, it is nowhere as thirsty. Porsche claims 100km is possible with just 3.4 litres of fuel, although the test-car averaged 11.6 litres.

But in Singapore, the car's 44km electric range - which can be replenished by plugging in to an electrical outlet - may allow it to be driven from home to workplace every day without using a drop of petrol.

• The writer contributes to Torque, a motoring monthly published by SPH Magazines.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 19, 2018, with the headline 'Fiery and all charged up'. Print Edition | Subscribe