Despite many doubts when it was first announced, I must admit that the Porsche Cayenne has tuned out to be a success story. To date, over a quarter of a million examples have been sold since its launch six years ago. And the success story rolls on - in the last year, 45,478 examples of the Cayenne were sold around the world – more than ever before in a 12 month period.
With over 60 years’ experience of building some of the world’s best sports cars, Porsche has brought its expertise in engine technology and chassis development to a new segment with the Cayenne with resounding success. Versatility is the spirit of the Cayenne. Every model offers superlative performance on road and track, combined with exceptional capability off-road. Powerful yet practical in every scenario, the Cayenne is very definitely 100 per cent Porsche.
The Cayenne range has solid foundations in the form of the 290bhp 3.6-litre V6 petrol Cayenne, and the new 3.0-litre V6 Cayenne diesel with standard six-speed Tiptronic S automatic transmission. And at the pinnacle is the superlative 550bhp 4.8-litre V8 twin-turbocharged Cayenne Turbo S.
As is self evident, the desire to constantly improve is a hallmark of Porsche, and the company is used to exploring new territory. The most significant addition to the Cayenne range – the Cayenne Diesel, is a perfect demonstration of this ethos. However, while the Cayenne Diesel may use a different fuel, it certainly shares the same spirit as its petrol-engined relatives.
Hybrid drive by Porsche has a long tradition, with company founder Ferdinand Porsche being acknowledged as the inventor of this drive system. As early as 1900, Ferdinand Porsche developed the Lohner-Porsche Mixte as a serial hybrid vehicle, to use today’s terminology, with the car’s 15bhp four-cylinder connected directly to an 80 volt dynamo. The electricity generated in this way went either to wheel hub electric motors integrated in the front wheels or to a battery. This vehicle is acknowledged as the world’s first hybrid car built in standard production.
Now, joining forces with Volkswagen, Porsche has once again developed a production vehicle with a parallel full hybrid drive for introduction later to the market. Drive power in the Cayenne S Hybrid will come primarily from a supercharged 3.0-litre V6 with Direct Fuel Injection interacting with a 38kW/52bhp electric motor used either as an additional source of power to boost the output of the petrol engine or as the sole drive unit operating on its own.
Indeed, a unique function of the Cayenne Hybrid is its ability to smoothly cruise or ‘roll along’ with the combustion engine switched off and disengaged at high speeds in the so-called ‘sailing’ mode. This practice allows the driver to save fuel at speeds up to 86mph (138km/h ), for example when driving on a German Autobahn at a relatively consistent speed.