Every Porsche is first and foremost a sports car and Porsche wants you to know that!
The electrified 2021 Cayenne Turbo S E-Hybrid combines a 541HP twin-turbo V8 with a 134HP electric motor to create an extravagant 670 combined output. That’s a mind boggling number. It’s fast as well, jetting from 0 to 60mph in 3.5 seconds. Speeds of 83mph are easily reached in Electric Mode without the gas ever switching on. And for one test drive team, this over-achiever has covered a quarter mile in 11.5 seconds at 121mph. It’s one of the quickest Sport Utility Vehicles with hybrid power any manufacturer has ever created, providing the brand with massive street and industry cred. For 2021, the model gets a slightly larger electric battery capacity of 17.9kWh, further enhancing its e-mobility status.
The two decade journey of the Cayenne to its present day form is an amazing story. Almost twenty years after Porsche presented the company’s first SUV to the world public, Cayenne Number 1,000,000 rolled off the production line in Bratislava, Slovakia – a GTS in Carmine Red that was delivered to a German customer.
Porsche began thinking about creating its first SUV in the late 1980’s. Following a downturn in sales, it knew it needed to expand its product line. Built at a new plant in Leipzig, the “sporty, all-terrain utility vehicle” quickly evolved to become Porsche’s third pillar of the business behind the 911 and Boxster. It was also the driving force that helped to pull the company out of its financial crisis. Debuting in September 2002 at the Paris Auto Show, it became an instant winner with consumers. The German automaker chose the name Cayenne for its “sport-ute” because the word is understood worldwide to be synonymous with spiciness, adventure and a joy for life.
Says Porsche: “The Cayenne is the epitome of an SUV and has established an entire segment. It continues to set new standards and to surpass itself. It rescued the company from a crisis, pioneered hybridization and set new records. Porsche grew in size and profitability thanks to the Cayenne. To this day, this SUV is a symbol for the success story of the company.”
Over the decades, Cayenne designers have strived to create an elegant visual appearance paired with striking sportiness, a luxurious interior and super performance standards. Each year, they outdo themselves. The result is a PHEV that sits atop the luxury SUV segment. Before exploring the nitty gritty essentials, you should know that the 2021 Cayenne Turbo S E-Hybrid’s MSRP begins at $163,200 and quickly inflates depending on add-ons you select. So if that’s outta your price range, read no further.
But if cost is no problem and you’re looking for the most powerful engine output in the model range, this is your car. Simply put: the Cayenne Turbo S E-Hybrid will make your pulse race. The verdict for a super-majority of reviewers is this: the Porsche Cayenne Turbo S E-Hybrid blends E-Performance and electromobility with supercar performance and SUV practicality.
Says caranddriver.com reviewer Drew Dorian: “The 2021 Porsche Cayenne Turbo is so powerful and so fun to drive, it's easy to forget you're piloting an SUV. Its precise steering, adjustable air suspension, and responsive engine combine to make it feel more like a sports sedan. Futuristically luxurious, the interior of the 2021 Porsche Cayenne Turbo is as visually impressive as the SUV's performance is thrilling. Build quality is exceptional, and the cabin is completely customizable since Porsche allows you to individually select everything from the interior trim to the seatbelt colors to the surface materials. There's also an endless list of optional luxuries, including more supportive sport seats, massaging front seats, heated and ventilated front and rear seats, and four-zone climate control. All Cayenne Turbo models come with a heated steering wheel and heated front and rear seats. The slick gauge cluster is similar to Porsche's 911, with an analog tachometer flanked by two 7.0-inch screens that display selectable information, including navigation maps. The driving position is perfect, and interior space is generous. Although a third row is not offered, the Cayenne Turbo seats five comfortably, and its adjustable back seat provides plenty of head- and legroom. Cargo volume is also ample. There's 27 cubic feet of space behind the Cayenne's rear seats and up to 60 cubes with the rear seats folded flat.”
Design-wise, the Cayenne Turbo S E-Hybrid exterior evokes athleticism. Three lightweight sport packages offer a contoured carbon fiber roof with panoramic fixed glass, 22-inch GT Design wheels, an carbon fiber interior package and centrally positioned sport exhausts. LED-Matrix design headlights include cornering lights and automatic high beam assistant. Four-point daytime running lights make this hybrid instantly recognizable. Across its entire rear, Cayenne displays an energized light strip reminding onlookers and following vehicles of the car’s unusual DNA. An adaptive rear spoiler which extends to a height of 135mm minimizes airflow and downforce.
The 2021 Cayenne Turbo S E-Hybrid is installed with Porsche’s latest infotainment system, which features an easy to operate 12.3-inch touchscreen centrally mounted in the dashboard. Using Porsche Connect Plus, it includes a 4G LTE mobile WiFi hotspot and Apple CarPlay capability but fails to include Android Auto. The car’s BOSE Surround Sound System uses 14 speakers with an output of 710 watts. Porsche’s Communication Management (PCM) includes Online Navigation Module, mobile phone preparation, audio interfaces including Bluetooth, USB, and Aux-in. The car has an HD Radio Receiver and uses Voice Control.
Standard on this hybrid are numerous safety and driver assistance features including forward-collision warning, automated emergency braking, and front and rear parking sensors. Other optional active driver aids are available, including a night-vision system, adaptive cruise control, and lane-keep assist.
The car comes in one trim only with the following standard features: a leather interior; a heated multifunction steering wheel in Turbo design with shift-paddles with rim in smooth-finish leather; a steering wheel with electric fore/aft and height adjustment; automatically dimming interior and exterior mirrors; interior trim in Cross Brushed Aluminum; an Alcantara roof lining; door sill guards in Brushed Aluminum with model designation on front and rear; an analog clock on the dashboard; three 12V plug sockets (1 front center console, 1 below glove compartment, 1 rear luggage compartment); 4 USB-C charging ports (2 front center console, 2 rear center console); stainless steel pedals and Turbo specific interior trim in silver.
The hybrid’s 2-zone climate control has separate temperature settings for the driver and front passenger; an automatic air recirculation mode which includes an air quality sensor, a particle/pollen filter with active carbon filter, tinted thermally-insulated glass all around with a grey top-tint on the windshield, and auxiliary cabin conditioning.
Regarding the PHEV’s handling, carbuzz.com reviewer Michael Butler says: “We don't know how Porsche does it, but time after time, it manages to make the Cayenne drive better than almost anything else in its class. The Cayenne is one of the best handling SUVs ever created, and that's a large part of the reason why we love it so much. Porsche has managed to develop a chassis that delivers crisp turn-in and a responsive front end that goes precisely where you tell it to. The hybrid versions do weigh between 582 and 619 lbs more than their equivalent gas-powered siblings, but they still manage to handle beautifully.”
The car has been given a 42 MPGe combined/city/highway rating by the EPA. Driving with gas alone, it gets an 18 MPG combined/city/highway EPA rating. These figures aren’t great when compared to competitors, such as the BMW X5 xDrive45e, which boasts a 50 MPGe rating, a 20 MPG EPA rating and a 30-mile all-electric range. The BMW’s MSRP is $17,000 less, it can seat 7 people rather than 5, and has 14 more cubic feet of overall cargo space. But you won’t convince many Porsche fans to switch. For customers who can afford its steep price tag, the Cayenne S E-Hybrid’s dynamic styling, luxurious interior and electrified supercar strength make it a hands down favorite.
The 2021 Cayenne Turbo S E-Hybrid qualifies for a Federal Tax Credit of $7,500, as well as a California Clean Fuel Award Program rebate of $1,500.
Caranddriver.com’s verdict? “Cayenne is the driving enthusiast's first choice for a luxury SUV.”
May 2021 Review
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