Details of the second-generation Porsche Cayenne have been leaked out two months before the upmarket four-wheel drive’s public unveiling at the Geneva motor show.
The information brings to light the all-new-for-2010 Cayenne’s five-strong range of engines, including the first details on the new petrol-electric hybrid drivetrain it will share with the second-generation Volkswagen Touareg, alongside which it has once again been conceived, developed and engineered.
As with its predecessor, the second-generation Cayenne will continued be manufactured at parent company Volkswagen’s factory in Bratislava, Slovakia alongside the new Volkswagen Touareg and existing Audi Q7, with final assembly at Porsche’s Leipzig plant in Germany alongside the Panamera.
Porsche will also continue offering its new four-wheel drive system with the choice of three petrol engines – all updated versions of the units used in the outgoing first-generation model. They include a 296bhp 3.6-litre V6 in the entry level Cayenne, a 395bhp naturally aspirated 4.8-litre V8 in the mid-range Cayenne S and a range-topping 493bhp turbocharged 4.8-litre V8 in the top-of-the-line Cayenne Turbo.
Also planned from the outset of UK sales in May is a successor to the Cayenne Diesel running a lightly modified version of the existing model’s Volkswagen-developed 237bhp 3.0-litre V6.
Porsche Cayenne Hybrid
The big news, however, is Porsche’s decision to add a Cayenne Hybrid to its ranks as part of efforts to give its new four-wheel drive a more environmentally friendly image than its predecessor. Set to form an integral part of the new line-up, it uses an Audi developed 328bhp supercharged 3.0-litre V6 petrol engine in combination with a 46bhp electric motor that draws energy from a lithium ion battery mounted within spare wheel well in the floor of the boot. It's an arrangement that will be mirrored in the upcoming Panamera Hybrid. Official Porsche figures put combined reserves at 375bhp – or just 20bhp shy of the Cayenne S.
All second-generation Cayenne models will receive a new eight-speed automatic boasting an automatic stop/start function as well as brake energy regeneration as standard. Porsche claims fuel consumption has been reduced by up to 23 per cent, with three of the five new Cayenne models registering better than 28mpg on the combined European cycle.
More specific is its claim for the new Cayenne Hybrid, which Porsche says returns an impressive 34.5mpg, making it the most fuel efficient model in the entire Porsche line-up while endowing it with a CO2 emission rating under 200g/km.
Improvement in engine efficiency is not the sole source of the reduced fuel consumption and emissions. Porsche has also managed to cut the weight of its SUV by up to 10 per cent, with the mid-range Cayenne S having shed an impressive 180kg at 2065kg according to Porsche’s official information. This despite claims that the new model boasts 70kg more standard equipment than its predecessor.
The reduction in weight has been achieved through a new production process for the doors that saves 39kg, a decision to ditch the transfer case with its low speed gearing and use an added number of aluminium chassis components shaves a further 66kg while a new wiring loom is said to be 10kg lighter.
Further reductions come through optimisation in the construction of the Cayenne’s bodyshell, which uses a combination of steel for the main structure and aluminum for the bonnet, tailgate and all four doors.
Porsche is yet to release official dimensions for the new Cayenne but does reveal its wheelbase has grown by 40mm to 2895mm. There are also as-yet-unspecified increases in the length of the front and rear tracks. In an attempt to address one of the first generation Cayenne’s major failings, namely its flat rear bench seat and lack of rear legroom, the second generation model gets a more heavily contoured sliding rear bench that can be adjusted by 160mm fore-and-aft and uses a back rest that can be adjusted by six degrees.
Despite its more heavily angled rear window, boot capacity also benefits from Porsche’s repackaging efforts. It has increased by 120-litres, taking from 550-litres to 670-litres. With all new Cayenne models destined to receive a folding rear seat, maximum luggage capacity grows to 1780-litres. As part of Porsche’s weight saving efforts, however, the retractable rear window has been deleted.
Although Porsche has decided to provide the new Cayenne with a conventional automatic gearbox without a separate transfer case for low range gearing, engineers claim its off-road ability is every bit as good as that of the old model owing, in part, to its lower kerb weight.
At the same time, they say it on-road dynamics have benefited greatly and suggest it will run rings around the BMW X6 – the rival they used as a dynamic benchmark during the final test phase.