Lighter, greener new Cayenne
Porsche’s bestselling car, the controversial Cayenne SUV, will soon boast hybrid power and more acceptable styling - due to be unveiled at the Geneva auto show on Monday.
3.6l V6, diesel, 4.8l V8, Turbo, Hybrid V6
220-, 176-, 280-, 294-, 368kW
400-, 550-, 580-, 500-, 700Nm
Eight-speed auto, six-speed manual
The first full engineering change in the Cayenne’s lifecycle ushers in a substantially lighter car featuring a raft of technical refinements, including hybrid drive technology – which should placate rabid environmentalists.
Styling (never a Cayenne strength) has been softened by new light clusters front and rear, with less of gaping-mouth grille effect.
The rear window is set at a more rakish angle too and the latest LED technology is embedded into the light clusters.
Rear styling benefits from ovoid Panameraesque light clusters.
You’ll never notice it visually, but the new Cayenne has trimmed 180kg worth of mass.
The reduction in kerb weight is primarily thanks to a 63kg lighter all-wheel drive system, increased aluminium usage in the suspension set-up (another 66kg less) and thinner doors, bonnet and boot panels – tallying another 111kg reduction.
Even the electronic engineers pitched in with a 10kg lighter wiring harness – something not easily achieved in the current age of rampant automotive digitisation.
If you’re an avid Cayenne devotee (and you’d probably need therapy if you admit to being one) you’ll notice the 40mm greater axle spacing which heralds an additional 160mm of rear seat bench adjustment.
Bumper-to-bumper Porsche’s second generation SUV is 48mm more substantial.
New cabin cues plenty of Panamera ergonomic details too, all the better for it.
The biggest engineering upgrade for the new Cayenne is the presence of hybrid drive.
Cayenne S Hybrid combines Audi’s S4 direct-injection, supercharged V6 with an electric motor worth 34kW. Performance should be swift and Porsche claims 8.2l/100km combined consumption economy too – which is remarkable for something as large as Cayenne.
The new Hybrid S expels only 193g/CO2 per km too, bestowing on it the unusual honour of being the cleanest Porsche on sale. Full electric EV drive is compatible at speeds of up to 156km/h for silent cruising.
Driven solely on battery power it’s not great (2km worth of pure electric drive drains nearly half the battery capacity) yet as a Hybrid it’s one properly fast SUV.
Combined hybrid drive system tallies 280kW of power and 580Nm of peak rotational force.
Across the five engine range (V6 petrol and turbodiesel, Hybrid S, 4.8 V8 and turbo) Porsche has been working furiously to reduce both fuel consumption and emissions.
The result is a 26% reduction in CO2 emissions and 23% less fuel consumption. Two of the new Cayenne models (Hybrid S and the Diesel) even manage to dip under the magic (for performance SUVs) 200g/CO2 per km rating.
Dynamically the new Cayenne benefits from an eight-speed automatic transmission on all models bar the manual shift petrol V6, with stop-start fuel-saving technology across the range.
With the reduction in weight, re-geared electro-hydraulic power steering and Porsche’s torque vectoring system onboard handling dynamics could shadow BMW’s X6. Porsche is expected to only release comprehensive performance figures next week, as the covers come of the second generation Cayenne at Geneva.
Another consequence of the reduction in weight (especially savings made thanks to the 63kg lighter all-wheel drive system) is lesser off-road ability. How many Cayenne owners ever engaged low-range on their vehicles though?
The second-generation Cayenne is expected to go on sale locally around August this year.