While those opposing abilities rather leave claims that this 2.5-tonne, V8-powered SUV is both a performance and ecological triumph open to closer inspection, let’s be clear from the offset: this car is a technical marvel. The powertrain, mating the turbocharged V8 to an electric motor via an eight-speed gearbox, is a triumph of seamless, sometimes intoxicating integration.
Where hybrids of old occasionally pondered their way along, the electric assistance jumping in occasionally late and often disruptively, this one delivers huge slabs of measured performance slickly and on demand, be it ushering you around town smoothly and silently or kicking you in the back and launching you up to motorway speeds.
Most striking is its high-speed performance, although its a valid debate as to whether its truly most suited to a flat-out autobahn blast rather than our 70mph versions. A more confidence-inspiring high-speed SUV is hard to imagine, while the extra zip available from pressing a racing-style steering wheel-mounted go button, which unleashes 20 seconds of optimised performance, is both entertaining and useful if you need to overtake.
The full electric mode is noteworthy too, for its silent, easy operation and as a defence should cities impose electric-only driving areas, if not as the last word in green mobility. Perhaps more noteworthy on the economy front was our real-world, motorway heavy economy of close to 30mpg over 150 miles, which was astonishing given the aforementioned concerns in regards to economy when the battery is flat.
However, there’s no denying that the car’s added heft comes with noteworthy dynamic downsides. At low speeds you feel a broken road surface with more force than any other Cayenne, while more significantly, even with all that power and torque, the weight casts an ever-present shadow over the car’s ultimate potential.
Yes, it is fast, and yes it accelerates with eye-widening pace, but it doesn’t take long before you realise you are braking earlier and entering corners slower than you might in a Turbo. As with many cars running brake-regen systems, the pedal feel is pretty wooden too.
And the rest? Bar a few details, from the outside and inside it is very much a Porsche Cayenne. Which is to say, over-crowded dash aside, it matches or sets most of the standards for the class.