Despite its weight, such is the Cayenne Turbo S E-Hybrid’s power that it level-pegged with the new Audi RS6 Avant during an impromptu drag race at Bruntingthorpe airfield, even at speeds beyond 100mph.
It makes up for its heft and frontal area with tectonic torque and almost seamless gearshifts. There aren’t many full-sized SUVs that will give you a proper punch in the gut from acceleration alone, but this is one of them and the effect of any full-bore start won’t be forgotten in a hurry. The official figure of 3.8sec to 62mph feels entirely believable.
The rest of the time, you’ll marvel at how effortlessly the two sources of power co-exist. The car starts in electric mode, and even once you’re up and running, it will look to switch off the engine as often as possible, particularly when coasting on quicker roads or crawling around town. The transitions are rapid and smooth, too, so you’re never caught short for acceleration, and the V8 always starts with an unmistakable growl that sets the bodyshell throbbing in almost comically dramatic fashion.
Hybrid mode, in which the car to some extent adapts to your driving style, is particularly good at knowing exactly when to fade out the engine, feed it back in or give in to the whims of the driver’s right foot and provide absolutely everything on offer. In this sense, the Turbo S E-Hybrid is as easily drivable as any comparably big SUV, including those without the added complications of a second source of propulsion. The top speed in electric mode – for those times when you want to drain the drive battery very quickly indeed – is 84mph.