What's it like?
The Cayenne defaults to its electric-only driving mode on start-up, so there’s no engine noise as you pull away. Sadly, this only heightens the road noise, of which there is a lot at any speed.
Anything other than a soft prod of the throttle will invite the petrol engine to join the party, but its extra shove is welcome when it comes to overtaking and the noise is sufficiently raucous at high revs.
You can choose from the usual Sport and Sport+ driving modes via a dial on the steering wheel, plus an electric-only mode and ‘hybrid auto’, which lets the car decide what’s best. There’s also a boost function that gives you the full power of the electric motor and engine for 20 seconds.
What’s particularly impressive is that, despite its extra weight, this Cayenne feels agile through the corners, helped by quick, well weighted-steering. Our test car came on air suspension, which dealt with small imperfections in the road well. On either of the two harder settings, you’ll feel more vibrations coming into the cabin.
The interior is much the same as the regular Cayenne. That is to say, it’s very nice, indeed, with swathes of leather and Alcantara covering most surfaces. The bespoke bits for this E-Hybrid model are mainly confined to the driver’s information screens, which can show your remaining electric range and the battery’s state of charge.
On a varied route and through sampling the various driving modes on offer, our test car returned a mere 34mpg. But with CO2 emissions of between 72 and 78g/km depending on which tyre size you choose, this should still be the cheapest Cayenne in the current range to tax and fuel - and with the right wheel choice, it will even qualify for the under 75g/km emissions exemption from the London congestion charge.