Open gallery Close by Richard Lane 5 June 2020 Follow @@_rlane_ Share
How we test cars
Well before the Porsche Cayenne took hold, time was when the wildest Porsche usually took the form of a turbocharged Porsche Porsche 911 replete with an enormous wing and, if extra security was required, front driveshafts.
In the turbulent wake of the Porsche GT2 RS and the subsequent launch of the new Porsche 911 Turbo S – a car with 641bhp, a 2.6sec 0-62mph time, hips wider than a bin lorry and a wing – you could argue that nothing has changed.
Cayenne Turbo S E-Hybrid isn’t exactly lacking in presence but the optional sports exhaust lets the 4.0-litre V8 shout even louder – and it really is loud. Richard LaneDeputy road test editor
However, if you accept that modern Porsche is really an SUV company that builds proper sports cars mainly to protect its pedigree (last year, it sold almost 200,000 Cayenne and Porsche Macan models compared with only 80,000 of everything else, which is a sobering statistic for the purists), then the ‘wildest’ model it makes is now the £123,000 Porsche Cayenne Turbo S E-Hybrid.
In truth, this most extreme take on the third generation of Porsche’s financial saviour can lay claim to that title no matter how you frame the question. With 671bhp, it is the most powerful model the company makes, and with the capability of all-electric running, it is also one of the most frugal, at least on paper. It will go places no 911 or Porsche Panamera ever could and it will take an entire family along for the ride.
It is, if nothing else, wildly ambitious. What we’ll now discover is whether it’s also any good.
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The Cayenne line-up at a glance
The Turbo S E-Hybrid costs more than twice the price of the entry-level model in the Cayenne range, which uses a 335bhp V6 and more conventional suspension that consists of adaptive dampers and steel springs. Air suspension isn’t standard fit until you reach the level of the Turbo, which is also the entry point for Porsche’s mighty 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8.
All models get variable four-wheel drive with a rear-biased torque split and ZF’s eight-speed automatic gearbox.
Verdict Model tested: Rating:
Porsche Cayenne Turbo S E-Hybrid
GoodStunning, seamless performance is available at any momentCabin blends utility and luxury ambience to unrivalled effectElectric powertrain element is well-integrated, if short-livedBadConfidence-sapping weight undermines the driving experiencePoor electric driving range compared with cheaper plug-in SUVsDoesn’t ride quite as sweetly as ‘lesser’ Cayenne models