Drive Porsche Cayenne S Hybrid Review

22 Апр 2014 | Author: | Комментарии к записи Drive Porsche Cayenne S Hybrid Review отключены
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Pros

Practical cabin

Decent equipment levels

Performance

Stylish and functional cabin

Cons

Spare wheel takes up boot space

Brakes and throttle lack Porsche precision

Some modern diesels make more sense on paper

There’s barely a car maker around that hasn’t finally acknowledged the benefits of hybrid cars. The most recent is sports-car specialist Porsche. Having reneged on its promise never to build a diesel, the car maker has now bitten the environmental bullet and fitted a petrol-electric drivetrain to its second-generation Cayenne SUV.

The Hybrid is part of a five-model Cayenne range — which also comprises V6, diesel, V8 and V8 Turbo models — that is aimed at giving those who may have considered the V8 a reason to enjoy similar performance, using less fuel.

Price and equipment

It’s bang in the middle of the Cayenne range that stretches from $103,500 to a hefty $239,900(all plus on-road costs) for the Turbo but the Hybrid is priced and specified more similarly to the V8 than the more affordable V6 models. At $159,900, it’s a $12,000 stretch more than the V8, bringing with it claimed 22 per cent fuel economy benefits.

The Hybrid comes with dual-zone airconditioning, partial leather trim, front and rear parking sensors, reversing camera and electric seats; the driver’s seat, steering wheel and mirrors also have a memory function. The central colour screen that controls the main functions and the satellite-navigation also includes additional menus specific to the Hybrid to highlight how efficiently you’re driving.

Full iPod integration is included, as is a Bose sound system, although audiophiles should consider the optional Burmester set-up. It’s one of many (often expensive) options, some of which are standard on the Turbo.

The Cayenne hasn’t been independently crash tested yet, but safety features include six airbags and a stability control system.

Under the bonnet

It may be a hybrid, but Porsche hasn’t forgotten about performance expectations. The 3.0-litre V6 has a supercharger to boost output, along with the modest 34kW electric motor. Overall output is 279kW, while the impressive 580Nm of peak torque is available at just 1000rpm.

The Hybrid, however, will only use its electric motor on its own for gentle acceleration from a standstill.

Once the petrol engine kicks in (early) it takes over most of the driving duties, although call on maximum thrust and the electric motor assists. Responses to throttle inputs are initially lethargic, though, requiring a more considered squeeze to spark the 2.2-tonne soft-roader into action.

The shift to engage the engine when more power is required is generally seamless — as are the shifts from the traditional eight-speed auto the Cayenne Hybrid uses rather than the CVTs favoured in most hybrid cars. Only when you come to a stop does it occasionally let out a mild rumble and there can be some confusion with the anti-lock brakes when stopping up a hill.

Unlike other Cayennes that can split torque infinitely between front and rear wheels, the Hybrid allots 60 per cent to the rear and the remaining 40 per cent to the front.

Of course, the ultimate purpose of a hybrid is to save fuel. After a generous freeway run and a week around town we averaged about 11 litres per 100 kilometres.

That’s impressive by four-wheel-drive standards — even more so when you consider the Cayenne is a decent performer able to reach 100km/h in 6.5 seconds — though Lexus’s 4WD hybrid is noticeably more efficient.

How it drives

The Cayenne is one of the more competent off-roaders through the bends. The electric (rather than hydraulic) steering is reasonably accurate and its lightness doesn’t detract from the feeling of stability.

The brakes, though, let the side down. Trying to recapture energy normally lost as heat, the regenerative system is too sensitive and occasionally inconsistent.

They take some getting used to and never inspire the wonderful feel of other Porsches. It’s the most obvious sign the Cayenne Hybrid has lost some of that Porsche precision. The ride from the air suspension is a mixed bag, too, depending on the setting you’ve dialled: comfort, normal or firm.

Gone is the low-range four-wheel-drive system that was part of the original model and allowed slow-speed hill climbing or serious off-roading. Instead, the traction control system is designed to make the most of what is decent ability but unlikely to scare the traditional rough-roaders.

Comfort and practicality

Porsche Cayenne Electric Cars

It may look relatively compact from the outside, but inside the Cayenne is quite spacious.

There’s no seven-seat option but rear occupants get decent legroom, although a raised central seat makes it tighter for three.

While the car sits high on the road, the view from the driver’s seat is more low-slung, emphasising the sporty intentions.

Unlike the Prius, the cabin of the Cayenne Hybrid is very un-hybrid. The layout is almost identical to that of the regular Cayennes, with some tweaks.

An otherwise decent, flat-floored boot is largely ruined by the spare tyre that sits upright on its right side (batteries are beneath the floor).


Competitors

LEXUS RX450h

BMW X5 xDrive40d

AUDI Q7 4.2 TDI

Engine 4.2-litre twin-turbo V8 diesel, 250kW, 800Nm Fuel use/CO2 emissions 9.2L/100km, 242g/km Pros More efficient as part of recent update; oodles of grunt from punchy V8; quality interior. Cons Looks and feels big. Our score Not yet rated. Price $127,814 (plus costs) .

Overall verdict

Rating: 3.0 out of 5 stars

The second-generation Cayenne is a more convincing effort than the original, though enthusiasts will still grumble that it’s not a real Porsche.

That said, the Hybrid is less compelling against predominantly diesel-powered competition. The Hybrid’s fuel economy is only OK, although it does have the advantage of running on cleaner-burning petrol.

Still, that doesn’t solve the problem that the Cayenne Hybrid feels somewhat removed from the Porsche philosophy of superb driver controls and enjoyment; the sensitive brakes are a case in point.

And when the faster, more powerful V8 can save you $10,000, it makes the Hybrid difficult to justify.

Porsche Cayenne Electric Cars
Porsche Cayenne Electric Cars
Porsche Cayenne Electric Cars
Porsche Cayenne Electric Cars
Porsche Cayenne Electric Cars

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