2011 Porsche Cayenne S Hybrid Tiptronic Test Drive and Review

16 May 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on 2011 Porsche Cayenne S Hybrid Tiptronic Test Drive and Review

The Bottom Line


Jaunty exterior styling meets a plush interior

Achieves improbable balance between SUV size, sedan fuel efficiency and sports car involvement

Finally, a hybrid sport ute for performance nuts


Basic luxury items like leather ($3,655) and park assist ($1,095) aren’t standard

Steep $86,510 as-tested price pushes temptingly close to Turbo territory

Addictive thrust makes it all too easy to drain the 22 gallon fuel tank


Price: $67,700 (base), $86,510 (as equipped)

Supercharged 3.0 liter V6 + electric motor 288 volt NiVH battery

Combined output: 380 horsepower, 428 lb-ft of torque

8-speed Tiptronic automatic transmission, with auto start/stop

Fuel economy: 20 mpg city /24 mpg highway

Front brakes: 14.2 vented rotors, 6-piston calipers; Rear brakes: 13 vented rotors, 4-piston calipers

Test options include leather interior ($3,655), air suspension ($3,980), convenience package ($4,520), park assist ($1,095)

Towing capacity: 7,716 pounds

Curb weight: 4,938 lbs

Performance: 0-60 mph in 6.1 seconds, 150 mph top speed

Guide Review – 2011 Porsche Cayenne S Hybrid Tiptronic

Porsche purists cried bloody murder when the Cayenne debuted in 2002, claiming the German sport ute was diluting the brand’s sporty sex appeal. Fast forward to the model’s third generation, and the Cayenne model lineup has gained power and lost hundreds of pounds of flab, while increasing efficiency with the option of a supercharged, parallel hybrid powertrain, a setup that has also made its way into Volkswagen#8217;s more affordable Touareg.

The cabin of my Cayenne S Hybrid test car is a delightfully well thought-out space; a Panamera-like console offers an air of sedan coziness, the dashboard is swathed in smooth leather and the interior feels pleasantly spacious#8212;though its rakish silhouette and small rear window make outward visibility an iffy affair.

But you wouldn’t buy a Porsche to look out the back window; you write that check for the luxury of blurring the windshield view and straightening out kinky, curving roads#8212;and within those parameters, the Cayenne S Hybrid performs surprisingly well considering its capacity for fuel-sipping. Though the engine can shut off while coasting at speeds up to 86 mph, moderate throttle tip-in brings the 3.0 liter V6 to life, creating a perceptible nudge in thrust.

Eco nerds note: a Prius-like Hybrid Energy Flow chart offers a visual interpretation of how electric/gas energy is getting distributed and recouped from all four wheels. The supercharged internal combustion mill offers surprising acceleration, especially when the Sport button is depressed and the driver is willing to generously lay into the throttle. Though I averaged mid-20 mpg figures while behaving myself, I dipped into the teens when my inner 16 year-old got the best of me.

Steering effort feels light but communicative at low speeds, tightening up as the Cayenne gains momentum, and the brakes are disarmingly strong. Highway velocities invite a deliciously quiet hush that creeps into the cabin, a sedate quality that counters the Cayenne’s driver-oriented cockpit and dynamics.

In fact, the Porsche Cayenne S Hybrid offers a bit of a mixed metaphor in how it address the performance/fuel economy matrix: on one hand, this is a technologically advanced car that achieves impressive mpg figures thanks to a wiley combination of supercharged, direct-injected internal combustion and advanced battery formulations. It’s also a fleet, grippy SUV whose performance capabilities belie its fuel economy pretensions. The Porsche Cayenne S Hybrid combines the best of both worlds#8212;performance and fuel economy#8212;but those seemingly contrary qualities come at a rather steep price, especially when those pesky option boxes are ticked.

So there you have it: The Porsche Cayenne S Hybrid supports F. Scott Fitzgerald#8217;s maxim that the rich are #8220;different than you and me.#8221; With the proper resources, they can drive plus-sized performance cars without the penalty of single-digit fuel economy#8212;that is, assuming they have the self-control to lay off the gas pedal.

Disclosure: Review samples were provided by the manufacturer. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy .

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