To help juggle these abilities, the E-Hybrid comes with almost as many driving modes as there are days in the week. To the usual Sport and Sport Plus modes, there’s E-Power (which runs up to 84mph in pure-EV mode) E-Hold (which stops draining the battery until you tell it otherwise) and E-Charge (which decreases efficiency to top up the battery for later use).
E-Power also has an electric-only launch control feature, though with 134bhp of EV power available it’s more Nissan Leaf than Tesla. Best, in our view, to leave it in Hybrid Auto mode most of the time, where the car’s clever electronic brain balances the two power sources in a commendably smooth way.
It means you find yourself driving in a very un-Porsche fashion, brushing the throttle with a featherweight touch to try and keep the engine off as long as possible, with one eye on a little electric power limit dial in the instruments. It’ll do this even once run out of charge with braking and coasting energy recuperation, meaning over 30mpg is easily within reach even if you never go near the wallbox.
If you do plug-in, you’ll find a realistic range figure in the low twenties, so plenty for a school run and a good chunk of the average commute. You’ll get exceptional refinement, too - though even when the petrol engine is re-activated its distant, cultured note is far from unpleasant.
When you’ve finished playing the eco-game and remember you’re in a Porsche, the E-Hybrid delivers enough performance to outgun a 718 Boxster. Certainly, we foresee few situations in Britain where you’d want or need to go faster than this in a two tonne-plus luxo-SUV, making the Cayenne Turbo seem a touch excessive.
There’s little savagery in the power delivery - instead, in combination with the silky smooth eight-speed Tiptronic box, it delivers effortless punch no matter where you are in the rev range. The only time powertrain can be knocked out of sync is if you floor the throttle and then back off, when the Cayenne holds onto a low gear for a few seconds longer than is necessary.
Despite weighing in at over a quarter of a tonne more than a Cayenne S, the E-Hybrid’s weight penalty isn’t substantially apparent in the bends. It’s helped in the case of our car with the £1,500 adaptive air suspension - an option worth having - helping it to do a better job at disguising its mass than any similar rival.
During very quick direction changes it does feel less tied-down than a non-electrified Cayenne, where the lack of the Turbo’s active anti-roll bars allows some movement. But dial it down a notch and it’s still more controlled and predictable than a Range Rover Sport or even a BMW X5.
It’s more respectably competent than downright engaging, but you’d buy the more athletic Macan (or better still something not SUV shaped) if that’s what you wanted. And anyway, on air and with our Cayenne’s (relatively) modest 20-inch wheels, the cabin is so well isolated from poor road surfaces even firming up the dampers doesn’t dent comfort a whole lot.