We’re yet to drive the new Cayenne S Hybrid but impressions from the passenger seat reveal Porsche’s first series production petrol-electric model will be a clear thorn in the side of rivals such as the BMW X6, Lexus RX400 H and Mercedes-Benz M400 Hybrid.
With performance – both off the line and through the gears - on par with the 400bhp naturally-aspirated 4.8-litre V8 Cayenne S, the new four wheel drive displays exceptional levels of mechanical refinement without any indication of the complex processes taken by its advanced driveline, which was developed in a joint venture between Porsche’s own Weissach based engineers and their counterparts at Volkswagen’s engineering centre in Braunschweig, Germany.
Step off is typical strong, with the electric motor and its 184lb ft of torque providing primary propulsion from standstill up to speeds of 50km/h or until the energy level of the battery runs low.
The only indication of the introduction of the petrol engine – the same unit used by Audi in the S4 – to the drive process from the passenger seat is when the needle on the rev counter – now placed in the centre of the instrument binnacle as with Porsche’s more sporting models - springs to life.
At loads under 2500rpm, the supercharged 3.0-litre V6 is so well isolated from the cabin its operation is barely audible. Under greater throttle load there is a low level growl as acceleration builds but it is never over bearing.
Out on the motorway the over riding impression is of wind noise around the large exterior mirrors. The decoupling of the clutch at speed occurs seamlessly when the driver backs off from the throttle, allowing the Cayenne S Hybrid to coast at zero revs in a state not dissimilar to a bicycle when it is freewheeling with the engine fully disengaged.
Further to the mechanical aspects of the new Porsche, there has been a wholesale improvement in interior ambiance. The new dashboard, similar in style to that gracing the Panamera, is of a much higher quality than that of the first generation Cayenne.
The question that now remains is: how much will Porsche charge for it?