Porsche’s Cayenne Turbo and Cayenne S E-Hybrids Bring Huge Power And Huge Efficiency
Despite a 6,000 lb curb weight and 729 hp, the Cayenne Turbo E-Hybrid shredded Parcmotor Catelloni in SpainPhoto: Porsche
While the base E-Hybrid comes on the Cayenne’s seriously good steel spring suspension, the S E-Hybrid comes with the same two-valve, two-chamber air suspension that blew me away on the Cayenne S. The ride quality on offer here is excellent, as is the speed with which the suspension reacts to changes in the road. There were (once again) times when I had the SUV in Sport Plus mode and forgot about it.
America has a problem. Well, actually it has a lot of problems, but the (small) one I’m talking about here is that it just doesn’t seem to “get” plug-in hybrids. Sure, they sell here, but how often do people actually plug them in? Even though there are real benefits to doing so. We also tend to think of PHEVs as being efficient, rather than as a performance vehicle but Porsche is trying to change that with the newest versions of its Cayenne E-Hybrid.
The Cayenne Turbo E-Hybrid (especially with the GT package that we won’t get in the US) feels planted and stable. That air suspension that gives the S and S E-Hybrid its magic ride now makes the Turbo E-Hybrid feel like it’s ready to break the laws of physics. Make no mistake, this is no 911 Turbo (though our lead drivers were in them) and nobody will realistically ever take their Cayenne to the track, but the performance is real.
Of course, that made Porsche’s invitation to come and drive it on a track that’s used primarily for motorcycles even more intriguing to me. Like, Porsche knows sports cars and gives a shit about how it’s perceived as a brand, so these engineers must be mighty proud of their new technological terror if they’re going to turn a bunch of journos loose.
This is what peak SUV interior looks like in 2024. You may not like it, but it is.Photo: Porsche
Unlike the ICE Cayenne S and its turbocharged V8, the S E-Hybrid gets the same V6 engine as the base E-Hybrid, but it gets an increased power output of 512 horsepower and 553 pound-feet of torque. That comes from tweaks to the gas engine and while I didn’t exactly have my hair set on fire by the performance (it’s still a heavy vehicle at 5,311 pounds) and while I didn’t drive it back-to-back with the non-S E-Hybrid, it’s still a pretty impressive SUV that hides its weight well, even on an ultra-twisty Spanish road near Montserrat.
The new Cayenne is amazing in standard, ICE-only form. The 2023 Cayenne S is the best fast SUV on sale right now and second place isn’t exactly close. I drove the base Cayenne E-Hybrid which is powered by a turbocharged V6. That gas engine and the hybrid system put out a combined (and healthy) 463 horsepower but while the baseline level of sportiness of the Cayenne is there, I wouldn’t call it super exciting. Porsche is ready with a remedy to this situation with the 2024 Cayenne S E-Hybrid and, most excitingly, the Cayenne Turbo E-Hybrid.
Yeah, holy shit. This thing is amazing. Sure, it’s still a very heavy SUV, but it’s shockingly agile and thanks to big carbon ceramic brakes, hauling that weight down from stratospheric speeds for corners is possible for more than a single lap. I’m not usually a huge fan of “high-performance SUVs.” It just seems like you’re asking one vehicle to do everything and the results aren’t usually great. Just look at the Lamborghini Urus Performante for evidence of this.