Photography by Rosemary De Pear
As gas prices go up and up, Porsche’s 2017 Cayenne S E-Hybrid is becoming an increasingly attractive option for those who want to combine luxury with reducing their carbon footprint.
Of the 8 variations of the Cayenne, there are two E-Hybrid options available, the upper echelon being the Platinum trim, which is what I spent a week in.
Clearly distinguished by the fluorescent green brake calipers and trim around the exterior badging, the famed Porsche brand maintains all of the elements that have made it one of the world’s top choices for luxury and performance vehicles.
Starting beneath the hood, you’ll find a supercharged and intercooled 3.0L V6 engine that produces 333 horsepower and 325 lb-ft. of torque. Add in the electric motor, which is good for 95 horsepower and 229 lb-ft. and your total output of power registers at an impressive 416 horsepower and 435 lb-ft. While many other electric hybrid vehicles have a noticeable switch from electric to gas power, the Cayenne does it ever so subtly. Yes, you can still feel it but compared to others, it’s significantly quieter.
Acceleration is brisk, smooth and precise and as the engine rows through the eight-speed Tiptronic gearbox, there’s always that Porsche-esque feeling of performance.
I admit to doing a couple of double takes while at higher speeds in electric mode due to seeing the speedometer at 80 km/h and the tachometer lying flat at zero. I chalk it up to the constant whirring of the engine in electric mode, which is nearly as quiet as it is in gasoline mode.
Steering feel, cornering and handling in this large SUV scored high marks because, well, come on…it’s a Porsche! The firm road feel only adds to the beautiful drivability of the Cayenne S E-Hybrid and you’ve got a choice of Comfort, Sport and Sport Plus for driving modes, depending on what’s ahead of you.
The most I squeezed out of the electric-only portion was 31 km, which is good if you’re a city slicker and doing shorter trips. That figure will move depending on added weight in the car, driving style and what electronics you’ve got on.
Combined fuel efficiency in gas mode registers at 10.6 L/100km and the combined electric and gas comes in at a very low 5.0 L/100 km. For a performance vehicle tipping the scales at over 5,000 pounds, those figures are quite respectable.
Charging the Cayenne can be done in 3.5 hours using 240V and the provided 3.6kW charger. An optional 7.2kW charger (which our test vehicle was equipped with) reduces it to close to 90 minutes.
If I were in the market for a hybrid vehicle, charging times would be high on my priority list and this Cayenne’s very short plug-in time certainly makes it that much more attractive for those who are doing multiple trips per day.
Inside, you’ll find an absolutely beautiful cockpit, starting with the five-dial dashboard, complete with fluorescent green needles giving you all the information you need. The steering wheel is simple, modern elegance and one of the best on the market comfort-wise. The seats are suede and heavily bolstered for a secure yet very comfortable feel and there’s ample head room throughout, plus generous leg-space in the rear.
Down the middle console is where you’ll find a plethora of buttons for climate controls, drive mode selectors, grab-handles for the front occupants and of course, the gear shift. To me, there are a few too many buttons but perhaps the next generation will see an amendment for that through smooth touch controls.
The infotainment system, which Porsche calls “Porsche Communication Management” offers easy to use controls, crisp graphics and is one of the best in the industry.
The S-E Hybrid offering starts at $90,400 and the Platinum trim at $93,100. Depending on how active you are with the option sheet, those figures can easily clear the six-figure mark with items such as a panoramic sunroof, heated rear seats, LED headlights, etc.
There’s a $3,000 purchase price incentive offered by the Ontario government on the 2017 models, which is the same figure available for the 2016. So you can bump up to the Platinum trim for “free.”
For families looking for a hybrid luxury SUV, high levels of comfort and spirited performance, the Cayenne Hybrid offerings are a very strong fit. Whether you’re doing short city jaunts or exploring Canada and the US through road trips, this SUV allows you to do it in style and reduces your environmental impact as you go.
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