Despite many doubts when it was first announced, I must admit that the Porsche Cayenne has turned out to be a success story. To date, more than 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.