Porsche Cayenne E-Hybrid 2019 Review
Toby Hagon’s Porsche Cayenne E-Hybrid 2019 Review With Price, Specs, Performance, Ride And Handling, Ownership, Safety, Verdict And Score.
In a nutshell: The E-Hybrid is Porsche’s Cayenne SUV with a green streak, teaming a V6 turbo petrol engine with an electric motor for short-range emissions-free driving.
Porsche Cayenne E-Hybrid 2019 Specifications
Price $135,600+ORC Warranty 3 years, unlimited km Service Intervals 12 months, 15,000km Safety 5-star Euro NCAP (2017) Engine 3.0-litre V6 turbo with 100kW electric motor Power 340kW at 5250-6400rpm Torque 700Nm at 1000-3750rpm Transmission 8-speed automatic Drive Four-wheel drive Dimensions 4918mm (L), 1983mm (W), 1709mm (H), 2895mm (WB) Ground Clearance2 10mm (steel suspension), 245mm (air suspension) Kerb Weight 2295kg Angles Steel suspension: 25.2 degrees (approach), 22.1 degrees (departure), 18.7 degrees (ramp over) Air suspension: 27.5 degrees (approach), 24.4 degrees (departure), 21.3 degrees (ramp over) Towing 3500kg Towball Download 280kg GVM 3030kg Boot Space 645L Spare Repair kit Fuel Tank 75L Thirst 3.4L/100km
The Cayenne has long been a game-changer for Porsche, arriving as the brand’s first SUV in 2002 and delivering the first diesel-powered Porsche during its tenure. Now diesel has been banished in the Porsche world, leaving the brand looking elsewhere for an eco-friendly option that can also fulfil towing duties.
In its place is the latest Cayenne E-Hybrid, which teams a V6 engine with an electric motor. The latest model is a big change in thinking compared with the original hybrid Cayenne, changing the way the hybrid system operates to place the focus more on performance over thriftiness.
What’s in the range and how much does it cost? For now there are four Cayenne models – the regular Cayenne ($115,900), Cayenne S (154,700), Cayenne Turbo ($239,000) and the one tested here, the Cayenne E-Hybrid ($135,600). While each uses the same basic body, there are significant differences with what’s beneath the bonnet.
For starters, the Turbo isn’t the only turbocharged model – they all have turbo engines. The Cayenne uses a 3.0-litre V6 turbo that is a Porsche-tuned version of an engine also used in various Audis. The Cayenne S gets a more powerful 2.9-litre twin-turbo V6 and the Cayenne Turbo gets a 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8. The Cayenne E-Hybrid uses the same 3.0-litre V6 in the basic Cayenne but pairs it to a 100kW electric motor.
Down the track, there will also be a Cayenne Turbo S E-Hybrid that will pair the V8 with the electric motor, creating the performance flagship of the range.
As for equipment levels, it depends on the model. As such, we’ll focus on the E-Hybrid here. Standard fare includes 19-inch alloy wheels, a 12.0-inch touchscreen, Apple Carplay (but no Android Auto, because most Porsche buyers have an iPhone apparently), satellite-navigation, partially digital instrument cluster, powered tailgate, auto wipers and headlights, dual-zone ventilation, electric front seats, partial leather trim and digital radio tuning. But the options list is extensive, encompassing things such as ambient lighting ($800), panoramic sunroof ($4490), heated front seats ($990), smart key entry ($2490), full “smooth-finish” leather ($7690) and a 14-speaker Bose sound system ($2470). If you want any colour other than black or white it’s another $2190.
What’s the cabin like? The E-Hybrid is mostly like any other Cayenne with a five-seat cabin (it’s not available with a third row). There’s the occasional lurid green highlights, such as on the speedo needle buried among what is a rare analogue addition to the digital dash.
What are the front seats like? It’s typical Cayenne with terrific front seats that are deep and supportive, giving every indication you’ll be in good shape after hundreds of kays in the saddle. Grab handles in the centre console are surprisingly reassuring, while there’s cubby holes and a useful centre binnacle, the latter home to twin USB inputs.
What are the back seats like? Those in the rear also get firm seat cushions but inherent comfort and support. Combined with generous leg and head room it makes for a very adult friendly space. There’s also a folding arm rest with cupholders, making better use of the centre space that is other compromised for passengers due to its raised, narrower seat base. A pair of USB outlets and deep door pockets look after gadgets in the rear.
What’s the boot space like? The boot is sizeable although the floor of the hybrid sits slightly higher than it does on other Cayennes, a product of batteries being packed in beneath it. That reduces capacity from as high as 770 litres on the Cayenne and Cayenne S to 645 litres in the hybrid. But it’s far from tight, the deep, broad space capable of swallowing plenty of family gear.
What are the controls and infotainment like? The Cayenne benefits from the latest infotainment functionality first introduced on the Panamera. That includes a large black panel (be careful of reflections on sunny days) with touchpad virtual buttons that at least provide haptic feedback by kickback back when you push them. You’ll no doubt accidentally click some, though, such is their sensitivity.
There’s the occasional oddity, such as the knob that looks like it’ll adjust the volume but instead zips you around the touchscreen if you don’t feel like touching. Volume adjustments are made with the dial below that one. Still, most of what you need can be controlled on the steering wheel, with rolling wheels t adjust the left and right screens within the instrument cluster and buttons for stuff like volume and phone operation.
The circular drive mode selector is handy for switching between electric and sports modes, plus there’s a Sport Response button in the centre to prime the transmission and turbo for brisk overtakes.
What’s the performance like? Combining electric and petrol propulsion makes for a surprisingly brisk SUV, one capable of hitting 100km/h from rest in 5.0 seconds. Key to its efforts is the 100kW electric motor that also muscles up 400Nm. It’s that torque that’s available very early on in the piece, any prod of the throttle rewarded with quick responses.
As with the engine, the motor also drives through the eight-speed automatic, helping maximise its usefulness all the way up to freeway speeds (the electric motor can power the car up to 135km/h). Performance is modest, at best, when running purely on electric, although you can still comfortably keep pace with city traffic, safe in the knowledge you’re not burning any fossil fuel.
You’ll typically get about 35-40km from a charge, one powered by a 14.1kWh battery (charging from a household powerpoint takes about six hours, or two if you’ve got a wallbox charger). But it’s when the engine fires up that the Cayenne produces its best, using the additional 250kW and 450Nm for significantly more punch. Combined, the petrol and electric systems make 340kW and 700Nm.
Sure, there’s plenty of car to move – at almost 2.3 tonnes it’s hundreds of kilos heavier than the base Cayenne – but it still responds enthusiastically, with a broad spread across its rev range. Unsurprisingly, it requires 95-octane premium unleaded and fuel use is claimed at 3.4 litres per 100km. But that figure is largely unachievable, mainly because of how it was calculated using the government-stipulated laboratory test that covers just 11km in 20 minutes.
In other words, for most of that official test the Porsche would be running on electricity, making it easy to keep its claimed fuel use very low. So, run the E-Hybrid purely on electricity and you’ll obviously use no fuel, with electricity typically consumed at around 35kWh per 100km. That would mean it costs about $10 to run for each 100km. But once the petrol engine fires up you can easily use north of 10L/100km, something that would cost somewhere between $15 and $25 to cover every 100km. And use the drivetrain’s full 0-100km/h in 5.0 seconds potential and you’ll use much more fuel than that.
What’s it like on the road? The higher centre of gravity and firmness to the suspension means the Cayenne simply doesn’t have the fluidity or relaxed nature of Porsche’s Panamera luxury sedan. But it’s remarkably capable, pointing directly and assuredly at corners and hanging on tenaciously as you ramp up the pace. Our car was running on optional 21-inch tyres, which are also wider than the standard 19s.
By SUV standards the Cayenne is among the best on offer. While air suspension is optional, our car was running on the standard steel springs, which deliver on control and still have the ability to stiffen the dampers. Not that it makes much sense dialled up to the stiffest Sport+ setting, the ride quality taking an unwelcome hit. Even in its calmest mode it’s tilted more to control and precision rather than outright comfort.
That said, there’s never any jarring or bucking, the Cayenne displaying a depth of maturity in keeping with its premium positioning. Brakes are powerful, although there’s some inconsistency to the reactions on moderate, around-town pedal applications. That’s not unusual in hybrids as the car divvies up braking force between reversing the flow of the electric motor and traditional pads on steel.
What’s it like off the road? The Cayenne E-Hybrid gets most of the same respectable off-road credentials as other Cayennes, but it’s a light duty off-roader at best. Blame that partly on the car-based design and limited wheel articulation.
There’s also flimsy underbody protection; it’s like a fury plastic similar to what you might find on a luggage cover of a hatchback. It certainly wouldn’t take much of a scrape with a rock to tear through it. Still, with 210mm of clearance (claimed) on the standard suspension and 245mm (claimed) with the optional air suspension raised it’ll clamber over plenty.
As with so many like this, the limiting factor is tyres. Anything capable of providing this sort of grip at speeds up to 253km/h is not going to have the strength and durability needed for rocks and gravel. Plus, there’s no spare, just a repair kit. So any sort of sidewall damage could leave you stranded.
Also, the E-Hybrid is limited in how deep you can take it into water. Whereas other models in the Cayenne lineup can traverse up to 530mm of water (similar to many proper off-roaders) the hybrid system limits the E-Hybrid to 250mm (or 280mm with air suspension). Best not to go too deep into water then.
Does it have a spare? There’s no room for a spare beneath the floor. So instead there’s a can of goo and an air compressor. Tyre pressure sensors at least provide an early warning of issues.
Can you tow with it? The E-Hybrid can tow the same 3500kg that regular Cayennes can, the towball download limited to 280kg. While we haven’t tested it, it’s unlikely to deliver the same frugality of the diesel with a heavy load out back. Sure, the combined 700Nm of torque from the hybrid system should have no issue lugging heavy weights, but hybrids typically work better in stop-start traffic. With near-constant (often heavy) throttle applied towing over long distances the Cayenne E-Hybrid will likely be thirstier than a diesel.
What about ownership? As with most luxury cars, the standard warranty is just three years (with no limit to how far you drive), falling well short of mainstream brands. Each additional year of warranty coverage adds about $1890 and can provide coverage up to 200,000km. The battery for the electric motor carries its own warranty protection up to eight years and 160,000km.
Servicing is due every 12 months or 15,000km and there are three levels of service, a basic check-up, intermediate service and major service. Costs vary between dealerships but we’ve given an approximate cost of each. The first, third, fifth and seventh services are all minor check-ups with oil changes, typically around $700. The second and sixth services are intermediate services at around $1100 and the fourth and eight services are major ones at about $1800 each. While the minor and intermediate services are similar to what you pay with other Cayennes, the major ones require more work for the electrical drive system.
What safety features does it have? The Cayenne comes with 10 airbags for front and side airbag protection for all outer occupants, as well as a knee airbags up front. There’s also an active bonnet that pops up to move pedestrians further away from solid bits underneath the bonnet.
While it’s lacking some of the level 2 semi-autonomous tech now common in luxury cars, it does come with auto emergency braking that operates up to 250km/h. The Cayenne has been rated five stars by Euro NCAP, but that rating hasn’t yet translated into an Australasian NCAP rating. Euro NCAP determined that occupant protection was good front and rear and that the pedestrian protection was generally good, with the exception of potential pelvis injuries.