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Car reviews - Porsche - Cayenne - 5-dr wagon range

Launch Story

Porsche logo14 Jul 2010

By MATHIEU RAUDONIKIS

PORSCHE has pulled a rabbit out of a hat by building a bigger and stiffer yet lighter, more fuel efficient and even smaller-appearing second-generation Cayenne SUV.

The improved fuel efficiency comes from a range of technologies including a hybrid drivetrain option, new eight-speed transmission, updated engines and weight reduction measures throughout.

The Cayenne S Hybrid – the German sportscar company’s first model to use its parallel hybrid powertrain – might be the big news, but the Cayenne Diesel is still the fuel miser champion, bettering the hybrid, 7.8L/100km to 8.2L/100km.

The E2 Cayenne S Hybrid, S V8 and Turbo variants were launched in Australia this week, with the low-spec Cayenne (V6 petrol) and Cayenne Diesel models to follow in August.

The Cayenne S Hybrid is not just about fuel consumption. It still wears the Porsche badge, so performance is still a priority.

The hybrid version covers the 0-100km/h dash in 6.5 seconds, which betters the petrol V6’s 7.5 seconds and V6 diesel’s 7.8. However, it trails the V8 S’s 5.9 and the earth-shattering V8 Turbo’s 4.7 seconds.

Even without electric aids, the 4.8-litre petrol V8 Cayenne S returns impressive 11.1L/100km fuel consumption, the Turbo 12.2L/100km and the Cayenne 3.6-liter V6 10.4L/100km for the manual gearbox and 11.2 for the auto.

These are Australian fuel figures measured at Euro 4 specification. These figures are down from 13.9, 14.9, and 12.9L/200km for each model respectively, indicating that the extra efforts of the engineers were well spent.

Trying to get the best of both worlds with the Cayenne Hybrid comes at a hefty cost, as it attracts a $12,000 premium over the Cayenne S or $55,500 over the Diesel.

Choosing the diesel model is a cheaper way to save fuel, but equipment levels in the Hybrid are much closer to those of the S than the lower specification Diesel.

To give the Hybrid its combination of efficiency and performance, Porsche has employed a 3.0-litre supercharged V6 direct-injection petrol engine that produces 245kW and 440Nm.

It is supplemented by a single 37kW/300Nm electric motor mounted in between the petrol engine and the transmission. Combined, they make 279kW at 5500rpm and 580Nm from an astounding 1000rpm.

The electric motor is fuelled by a 288-volt nickel-metal hydride battery under the floor of the cargo area. This reduces the cargo volume of the Hybrid to 580 litres (1690 litres with rear seats folded), down from 670 litres on the other models (1780 litres with rear seats folded, 1705 litres for Cayenne Turbo).

To maintain the performance standards expected of Porsche, the Hybrid operates in parallel with the petrol engine to give greater acceleration.

The parallel hybrid system also allows what Porsche calls ‘sailing mode’ – where the petrol engine is switched off and disconnected from the drivetrain under light throttle applications at speeds up to 156km/h, with the Cayenne maintaining speed on the electric motor alone.

A fuel-saving idle-stop system switches off the engine when it is not needed, instantly restarting it when the brake pedal is released. Operational pressure in the automatic transmission is maintained when the engine is switched off in this mode by electric pumps so that there is no lag in the vehicle taking off once it restarts.

Bar the manual transmission V6 model, the entire Cayenne range benefits from the idle-stop technology, as well as a radical weight-loss program.

Doing away with the low-range transfer case and switching to lightweight driveshafts shed some of the weight, while the use of aluminium in both the suspension and body take off further kilos.

The measures shaved more than 30kg off the drivetrain and 111kg off the body, while even items such as the optional panoramic sunroof have lost weight, 13kg in this case. In the case of the Turbo, weight has been sliced by 185kg.

The Cayenne’s new body is bigger – 48mm longer, 11mm wider and 6mm higher overall and it rides on a 40mm longer wheelbase – yet clever design gives the new Cayenne a smaller, more athletic appearance. It is an all-new body yet unmistakably a Cayenne.

The Cayenne models are best distinguished from the front where the V8 and Hybrid models get black air intakes at the side as opposed to the body colour on the Cayenne and Cayenne Diesel. The Cayenne Turbo stands out as the high performance model with a unique centre air intake and a more distinctive ‘Powerdome’.

The longer wheelbase has allowed a bigger interior with more legroom for the rear-seat occupants, and this seat is also adjustable for position and angle. The design of the seats, dash and console are all-new to give the Cayenne a more contemporary sporting look.

The eight-speed Tiptronic ZF transmission now used across the range in lieu of the old six-speeder also helps reduce fuel consumption. The auto transmission is optional on the base-model Cayenne, which has a six-speed manual gearbox as standard.

Without the low-range transfer case, E2 Cayennes have two different drive systems. The Cayenne, Cayenne S and Cayenne Turbo use an active all-wheel drive system with an electronically controlled, multiple-plate clutch power divider to split the drive front to rear.

This system gives performance-oriented drive characteristics that the Cayenne is known for.

The Cayenne Diesel and the Cayenne S Hybrid are equipped with permanent all-wheel drive with a self-locking centre differential.

All models have a new traction management system with a switchable off-road mode to make the most of the grip in any conditions.

The E2 Cayenne has shifted focus from being a high-performance SUV capable of going anywhere, to being a hi-po all-roader with improved efficiency and better dynamics.

According to the company, this is more in tune with what the buyer wants from a Porsche where ultimate off-road ability is not a priority.

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