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Driven: Porsche spices up Cayenne

Hot ride: The facelifted Porsche Cayenne carries the same basic shape that was introduced in 2010, with a few tweaks such as a new bonnet design.

Mid-life update for Porsche’s Cayenne SUV brings efficiency gains and plug-in hybrid

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Porsche logo11 Nov 2014

UPDATED: 12/11/2014PORSCHE has beaten its competitors to market with Australia’s first plug-in hybrid luxury SUV arriving in February next year as a part of the heavily upgraded Cayenne range that begins rolling into showrooms this month.

Launched in New South Wales this week, the facelifted high-performance crossover is on sale from $104,700 plus on-road costs for the entry-level Cayenne Diesel, with the S E-Hybrid – which can be ordered today – set to charge in at $139,200.

As already reported, the base V6 petrol-powered Cayenne and sportier GTS will also arrive in February, priced from $108,000 and $154,600 respectively, while this week’s launch heralds the range-opening Diesel, $139,900 Cayenne S, $143,200 S Diesel and flagship $230,800 Cayenne Turbo.

The German sportscar marque sold a petrol-electric version of the outgoing Cayenne, but it was a more conventional, rather than plug-in, hybrid powertrain – a point of difference that Porsche Cars Australia managing director Sam Curtis says highlights the brand’s latest technology.

The S E-Hybrid is also expected to hold its own in terms of sales volume for Cayenne, which is easily Porsche’s top-selling vehicle.

“It is a showcase,” Mr Curtis told GoAuto. “We will have three plug-in models – Cayenne, Panamera and 918 Spider. It is the future global direction of Porsche.

“(But) it won’t be a model that just makes up the numbers. There will be an expectation of us from Germany that it will deliver the numbers. We will have specific targets for Cayenne plug-in hybrid.

“In terms of the market we probably need to ramp up awareness, which we are doing with roadshows at dealers with Panamera.”

Mr Curtis said it was unsurprising that Porsche was first to market with a premium plug-in hybrid offering, beating the likes of Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz – all of which are known to have rival models in the works.

“We are beating others to market with the plug-in premium SUV – (it’s) typical Porsche, we are not a follower,” he said.

The upgraded Cayenne series is expected to bring a slight sales boost, but Mr Curtis said the vehicle was a consistently strong performer for the brand and should surpass last year’s high-water mark of 1120 units by the end of this calendar year.

“We will do 1200 this year, which is pretty good for a run-out and run-in type of year,” he said, adding that sales momentum should continue throughout 2015.

“We have got this (second generation) running though until 2018. In terms of volume, we are expecting another record year next year. This year supply was a little dysfunctional ... (but) next year will be a full-year supply.

“We are forecasting in excess of 1300 next year, so (it will be) another record year.”

The S E-Hybrid promises the kind of performance expected from a Cayenne, with the fuel consumption and CO2 emissions of a much smaller car.

While the previous Cayenne S Hybrid’s combined 245kW/440Nm 3.0-litre supercharged V6 engine and 37kW/300Nm electric motor combination was good for fuel consumption of 8.2 litres per 100 kilometres on the combined cycle, the new version improves on this considerably.

The 2015 S E-Hybrid uses a 10.8kWh lithium-ion battery, a boost over the 1.7kWh nickel-metal hydride battery of the previous model, allowing for an electric-only driving range of 18-36km, depending on conditions.

The electric motor produces double the power of the previous hybrid, with 70kW on tap, and combined with the 245kW 3.0-litre blown V6 the combined output is now 306kW at 5500rpm and 590Nm from 1250-4000rpm. This plug-in powertrain brings fuel consumption down to 3.4L/100km, while emitting just 79g/km of CO2, down from 193g/km in the previous model.

The new hybrid also outperforms its predecessor in a straight line, with 0-100km/h acceleration down from 6.5 seconds to 5.9s, continuing on to a top speed of 243km/h, or 125km/h in electric-only mode.

The battery is housed under the floor of the cargo area – the same location as the Panamera S E-Hybrid – and the Cayenne is offered with a 3.6kW charger as standard. An integrated 7.2kW device that charges the SUV twice as quickly is also available.

Porsche says that in Germany the integrated charger can replenish the Cayenne’s battery pack in 90 minutes as opposed to slightly less than three hours.

A standard feature of the S E-Hybrid is Porsche Car Connect, which provides information on the state of the charge or overall efficiency. It also has a stationary heating/air-conditioning function that cools or heats the cabin when the engine is off. This uses the connected electricity supply, leaving more energy for use on the road.

With the conventional engine range, the base Diesel is powered by a 193kW/580Nm 3.0-litre turbo-diesel V6, offering a 0-100km/h time of 7.3s and fuel consumption of 6.6-6.8L/100km.

The S Diesel ups the ante with a 283kW/850Nm 4.2-litre turbo-diesel V8, good for a 0-100km/h dash in 5.4s and a little less economy at 8.0L/100km.

Until the Cayenne V6 arrives next year, the most affordable petrol variant is the Cayenne S, powered by a 3.6-litre bi-turbo V6 pumping out 309kW/550Nm and able to reach 100km/h in 5.5s. It consumes 9.5-9.8L/100km and emits 223-229g/km of CO2.

The performance flagship is the Cayenne Turbo with its 4.8-litre twin-turbo V8 offering up 382kW and a whopping 750Nm for a 4.5s blast to 100km/h. Fuel consumption is listed as 11.2-11.5L/100km, while CO2 emissions are 261-267g/km.

With efficiency gains across the board, the Cayenne offers an “optimised” eight-speed Tiptronic S automatic transmission with a new coasting function.

The SUV also features an updated idle-stop ‘Plus’ function that shuts the engine down when the driver starts to apply the brakes and the vehicle is travelling at a “slow walking pace”, such as when approaching an intersection.

Porsche says changes have been made to the suspension to “increase the spread between comfort and sportiness”, with all variants bar the Turbo featuring steel springs (the flagship model gets air suspension with a levelling system and height adjustment).

The Turbo and the S E-Hybrid also feature Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM), which offers three distinct modes – Comfort, Sport and Sport Plus.

As previously reported, the subtle styling changes brought with the upgraded Cayenne include a newly designed bonnet with side gaps on the wings for a “wider” look, according to Porsche, while the centre air intake has reduced in size to make the two smaller side intakes look larger.

While all variants feature the four-point LED daytime running lights and have a follow-me-home lighting function, entry models get bi-Xenon headlights and higher spec Cayennes gain LED headlights with the Porsche Dynamic Light System as standard.

At the rear, the Cayenne’s LED tail-light cluster has been redesigned, and the tailgate handle, lights and registration plate recess have been slightly restyled. The exhaust pipes have also been restyled and are now housed in the lower part of the body.

The cabin gains a new multi-function steering wheel, based on the design of the tiller from the 918 Spyder hybrid supercar. Porsche has also upped comfort levels in the rear compartment with improvements to seating as well as the addition of rear seat ventilation.

Other standard features across the range include heated external mirrors, climate control with a particle filter, 40/20/40 split-fold rear seats, 4.8-inch colour display, power tailgate, five 12-volt sockets and, on all bar the Diesel, 14-speaker Bose surround sound system.

The high level of safety features run to a brake-pad wear monitor as standard, while options include adaptive cruise control, and a collision braking system that applies the brakes after an initial collision in an attempt to avoid further damage or injury.

Arriving as an option by the end of the year is front and rear park assist with a surround view monitor.

The Cayenne Diesel gets 19-inch wheels and black brake callipers, the S Diesel, S and S E-Hybrid feature 20-inch wheels and the Turbo gains 20-inch RS Spyder hoops.

Porsche Cayenne pricing*
Cayenne Diesel$104,700
Cayenne$108,000
Cayenne SE Hybrid$139,200
Cayenne S$139,900
Cayenne S Diesel$143,200
Cayenne GTS$154,600
Cayenne Turbo$230,800
*Excludes on-road costs.

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