The Porsche Cayenne high-performance SUV, which won the 2011 Motor Trend Sport/Utility of the Year award, debuts a completely redesigned platform for the 2011 model year. Adding to the awarding-winning Cayenne line is the Cayenne S Hybrid – the first production hybrid Porsche has ever built.
The 2011 Cayenne S Hybrid (MSRP $67,700) offers one of Porsche’s most advanced drivetrains. Consisting of a supercharged, 3.0-liter V6 paired with an electric motor through the use of a decoupling clutch, the Cayenne S Hybrid is considered a “full” hybrid. This means that it can be powered by either the gasoline engine or the electric motor separately, or by both at the same time.
The versatility of this full hybrid setup maximizes both the performance and efficiency of the Cayenne S Hybrid. With a combined 380 hp and 428 lb/ft of torque, the hybrid can leap to 60 mph in just 6.1 seconds. Much of that torque is available from the supercharged V6 low in the rpm range, which ensures responsive driving, even at slower speeds. The Cayenne S Hybrid’s sporting nature is also well preserved through its eight-speed Tiptronic S automatic transmission, which provides a manual shift feature.
The vehicle’s Hybrid Manager constantly evaluates the interaction between the gasoline and battery-powered segments of the Cayenne S Hybrid’s drivetrain to maintain the best balance between fuel economy and drivability. Under moderate acceleration, the Cayenne can travel at speeds of up to 40 mph on battery power alone, and the Hybrid Manager is also capable of shutting down the gasoline engine while coasting or cruising at higher speeds.
The Cayenne S Hybrid’s “e-power” function, accessed through a console-mounted button, also provides a unique throttle map that delays the engagement of the V6 engine for further fuel savings during regular driving. The vehicle additionally features start-stop capability that automatically shuts down the engine when the Cayenne S Hybrid’s forward motion is halted.
The 2011 Porsche Cayenne S Hybrid enjoys the many upgrades afforded to all members of the redesigned Cayenne lineup. Optional gear such as the Porsche Dynamic Light System (PDLS) leverages bi-xenon technology with dynamic cornering lights and two adaptive headlight modes that can adapt to city and highway speeds. The available Lane Change Assist (LCA) adds an extra degree of safety by scanning the traffic lanes on either side of the Cayenne and illuminating a warning LED on the outside mirrors to indicate the presence of an automobile. Another available high-tech feature found on the Cayenne S Hybrid is Adaptive Cruise Control, which uses radar to monitor the road ahead and dynamically adjust the speed of the SUV to maintain a safe distance between it and other traffic. The system is so sensitive that it can even bring the Cayenne to a complete stop if required.
Longer than its predecessors and featuring an extended wheelbase, the 2011 model offers better interior room for rear passengers. Inside, the S Hybrid model offers additional gauges, which monitor the status of the SUV’s charging system. The Cayenne’s interior centerpiece is the available Porsche Communication Management (PCM) system, which is mounted in the center of the dash and which operates the vehicle’s various systems and features through the use of a seven-inch touch-screen display combined with a rotary controller.
The 2011 Porsche Cayenne S Hybrid is a technological triumph for the premium car builder, as well as an ecologically friendly luxury SUV that doesn’t compromise the performance ideals upon which Porsche was founded.