2011 PORSCHE CAYENNE S HYBRID: A Truly Electrifying Porsche
by: Lyndon Conrad Bell
Arguably the ride that saved the 911, Porsche’s Cayenne was introduced in 2003 as insurance against future downturns in sports car sales. Given Porsche’s largest market is the United States, when a hedge vehicle was planned, an SUV was selected as the ideal piece.
Back in 2003, as you may recall, Americans were firmly in the grasp of SUV fever. Anybody building one pretty much had a license to print money. Thus, Cayenne was born in that image and today is the company’s top selling vehicle––which it has been every year since it was introduced.
Of course, things have changed somewhat since 2003––environmental concerns are more in the forefront and the memories of near five dollar a gallon gas haven’t quite faded. So now it’s time for the savior to come in a new flavor; witness Cayenne Hybrid.
A direct injected supercharged V6 pumping 333 horsepower through an eight-speed automatic transmission is the primary power source. The engine is supplemented by a 47 horsepower electric motor. Using the quirky algorithm employed to determine the total output of a hybrid powertrain, this pencils out to 380 horsepower and an anticipated 24 miles per gallon for the Cayenne Hybrid. Rocking 427 ft-lbs of torque at 1000 rpm the Cayenne Hybrid is quick––0 to 60 happens in 6.1 seconds. Top speed is estimated at 150 miles per hour.
A hydraulic clutch lives between the engine and the motor, allowing the engine to shut down when it isn’t needed. The battery pack resides in the well formerly occupied by the spare tire. Which, of course, means the Cayenne Hybrid gets run-flats. Nickel-metal-hydride cells store electricity and all the usual hybrid energy management stratagems are employed. The engine shuts down under light loads; the electric motor restarts the engine when it’s needed again. Braking produces regenerative energy, which is stored in the batteries as electricity.
On the road, all the goodness of the Cayenne shines right through. The vehicle retains its legendary balance, acceleration and agility. Porsche calls this concept Intelligent Performance and is employing it in an upcoming version of the Panamera sedan as well. Naturally, any technology that goes on a Porsche road car spends time on the track too. A 911 GT3 R Hybrid lead part of the 24 Hours of Nurburgring endurance event earlier this year. And plans abound in Stuttgart for the electrification of all of its legendary vehicles.
This makes the Cayenne Hybrid the first of many truly electrifying Porsches.