Porsche reveals the new Cayenne

Porsche have announced the all-new Cayenne which has been completely redesigned and redeveloped and now features several class-leading and significant innovations.

If you’re reading this and thinking “Why should I care about a Chelsea Tractor with yet more performance?”, then give me a moment to explain.

Introducing the Cayenne S Hybrid
If you visited the Geneva show in 2009 then you’ll probably have noticed the Cayenne Hybrid displayed in all its frameless splendour, and Porsche are now using the Cayenne S Hybrid to showcase the introduction of this new generation of their SUV.

The Cayenne S Hybrid features a sophisticated parallel full hybrid drive, using a 328 bhp supercharged 3.0 litre V6 petrol engine accompanied by a 46 bhp electric motor to produce 375 bhp (380 PS) and 580 Nm/427 lb-ft at just 1,000 rpm. Porsche are most proud of the Hybrid’s fuel efficiency claiming 34.4 mpg imp, which equates to CO2 emissions of just 193 g/km.

The big news however about Porsche’s Cayenne S Hybrid is the price, which at 78,636 Euros (in the German market including 19% VAT) is just 6,000 Euros more than the regular V8 Cayenne S.

Porsche are claiming that the Cayenne S Hybrid delivers similar acceleration to the Cayenne S, making it quite an attractive proposition bearing in mind that V8-engined Cayenne S achieves 26.9 mpg on the combined cycle.

In the Hybrid the two drive units are connected to one another by a separator clutch masterminded by the Hybrid Manager. Indeed, this separator clutch is essential to run the Cayenne S Hybrid either on its electric motor or combustion engine alone, or with both drive units operating together. Given a reserved, moderate style of motoring, for example in a residential area, this allows the driver to cover short distances on electric power alone and therefore absolutely free of emissions and with hardly any noise, driving at a speed of up to 40 mph.

To ensure fast acceleration when setting off, the electric motor may however serve to provide additional thrust through its boosting effect. Intelligent management of the separator clutch makes the transition among the hybrid-specific driving modes most inconspicuous, comfortable and quick for the driver. At the same time the combustion engine may be completely switched off at speeds of up to 156 km/h or 97 mph, being fully disengaged from the drivetrain when no further power is required. In this so-called sailing mode, cruising along without power, the drag forces exerted by the combustion engine and their braking effect are eliminated in the interest of lower drive resistance and fuel consumption.

The Cayenne range now comprises 5 models; 3.6-litre V6 Cayenne (300 bhp – 28.5 mpg), 3.0-litre Cayenne Diesel (240 bhp – 38.2 mpg), 4.8-litre V8 Cayenne S (400 bhp – 26.9 mpg), 3.0-litre Cayenne S Hybrid (380 bhp – 34.4 mpg) and 4.8-litre V8 Cayenne Turbo (500 bhp – 24.6 mpg).

A lighter more dynamic SUV with less focus on its off-road prowess
The Cayenne has traditionally been one of the most competent SUV’s off-road, but Porsche have acknowledged that most owners rarely take advantage of such capabilities and therefore in the interest of efficiency and dynamic prowess (on-road) the Cayenne loses some of its heavy-duty 4×4 metalwork saving 180 kg or 400 lb (for the Cayenne S) in the process.

Despite the reduction in weight, there’s more space inside the Cayenne – the wheelbase is now 40 mm or almost 1.6” longer. In all, the new Cayenne is 48 mm or 1.9” longer than its predecessor. But despite its larger exterior dimensions, the new generation of the Cayenne is said to feel far more compact and dynamic.

Porsche gets its own Efficient Dynamics religion
Ask any motoring journalist who regularly wades through pages of press materials and they’ll tell how much they’re irked by BMW’s constant reinforcement of the words ‘Efficient Dynamics’ in nearly every paragraph… Well Porsche have coined their own catchy phrase, “Porsche Intelligent Performance” which I’m sure we’ll hear plenty more about in 2010.

“Porsche Intelligent Performance” is all about more power on less fuel, greater efficiency and lower CO2 emissions. Sound familiar?

These objectives result, not least, from the introduction of the new Tiptronic S eight-speed automatic transmission with Auto Start Stop and a wide spread of gear ratios, thermal management on the engine and transmission cooling circuit, on-board network recuperation, variable engine cut-off and intelligent lightweight construction.

Cayenne Turbo becomes more acceptable for those with a green conscience
If you’ve owned one of the first-generation Cayenne Turbos then you’ll be well aware how thirsty these beasts can be when driven enthusiastically, but Porsche have made great strides with the fuel efficiency of their sports-cars especially the Gen2 911 which we’ve regularly seen produce mpg figures in the late-20s.

Porsche are claiming that fuel consumption for this new generation of Cayenne is down by up to 23 per cent across the range, and this benefit is clearest when looking at the new Cayenne Turbo. The outgoing Cayenne Turbo was good for 19.0 mpg on the combined cycle but the new Cayenne Turbo, with its 500 bhp (368 kW) 4.8-litre V8 bi-turbo consumes just 24.6 mpg. That’s nearly 30% more efficient, which will delight those of us who’ve considered the Turbo a ‘guilty’ pleasure.

The new Cayenne will be on display at next-week’s Geneva show and will then go on sale from 8th May. UK prices are yet to be confirmed but in Porsche’s home market the range will start at 55,431 Euros for the 3.6 litre Cayenne up to 115,526 Euros for the 500 bhp Cayenne Turbo.

So, it looks like Porsche have pushed the boundaries with their new Cayenne – more dynamically capable on-road, much more efficient to drive and with a model to suit most SUV customers.

Sounds good, but what do you think about the way it looks…?