2012 Cayenne Hybrid New Car Test Drive
The Porsche Cayenne SUV has generated huge amounts of cash, enabling Porsche to return to racing and expand its sports car lineup with more variants of the 911, Boxster and Cayman sports cars. The Cayenne is the company's best-selling model ever, with 282,000 vehicles sold as of the end of July 2010.
For 2011, Porsche Cayenne receives significant changes, plus new V6 and Hybrid models, in addition to the V8 and turbocharged V8 models. Porsche Cayenne competes against the Range Rover, the BMW X5 and X6, and the Mercedes-Benz ML 50 and ML63 AMG, depending on model and engine.
The 2011 Cayenne has all-new front, side and rear appearance. Through careful application of engineering, the 2011 Cayenne is an astounding 400 pounds lighter than the previous-generation even though it is better equipped and two inches longer overall. The 2011 Cayenne hood, doors, and decklid are all made of aluminum.
New technology added to the 2011 Cayenne includes a new lightweight all-wheel-drive system with a multi-plate clutch to manage torque between the front and rear axles, eliminating the normal reduction gearbox and saving 73 pounds of weight.
While the entry level Cayenne has a 300-horspower 3.6-liter V6 engine, the new 8-speed Tiptronic S automatic transmission makes it approximately 20 percent more fuel efficient than the previous model.
The 2011 Cayenne S with its 4.8-liter V8 also has a significant decrease in fuel consumption, down by 23 percent on the European driving cycle, with engine output now 400 horsepower compared to 385 horsepower in the previous Cayenne S.
The pinnacle model, the 2011 Cayenne Turbo with the 500-horsepower, twin-turbocharged, 4.8-liter V8 is also 23 percent more fuel-efficient than its predecessor.
Porsche's new 8-speed Tiptronic S transmission with wide gear ratios contributes to fuel economy, along with the Automatic Start Stop function first introduced on the Panamera, efficient thermal management of engine and transmission cooling, on-board electrical network recuperation, deceleration fuel cut-off and lightweight construction.
Another new technology is Porsche Torque Vectoring Plus (PTVP). PTV Plus uses variable torque distribution on the rear wheels as well as an electronically controlled rear axle differential lock, increasing both driving dynamics and stability in curves. The system automatically brakes the inside rear wheel in turns and racetrack corners in order to make the Cayenne turn in like a race car. We drove Cayenne S models first without and then with the system at Barber Motorsports Park, home of the Porsche Sport Driving School in Alabama, and the difference in cornering performance was dramatic.
The Cayenne S Hybrid, after some three and a half years in development, uses a supercharged version of the VW/Audi 3.0-liter V6 engine, generating 333 horsepower, with a 47-horspower electric motor added in for a total of 380 horsepower and a total of 428 foot-pounds of torque at just 1000 rpm. close to the output of the 4.8-liter V8 engine in the regular S model. Porsche says the Cayenne Hybrid will accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in 6.1 seconds, and reach 150 mph. It's the cleanest, greenest model in Porsche history at 193 gram of CO per kilometer on the European testing cycle.
The hybrid system uses a 288-volt nickel metal-hydride (NiMh) Sanyo battery fitted beneath the luggage compartment and regenerative braking, the process of storing electricity regained from applying the brakes and driving under normal conditions. Porsche's very first hybrid system has an E-mode switch, which can operate the vehicle entirely on electricity in slow-moving commuting situations up to 37 mph (we actually saw 41 mph going downhill).
In the sailing mode, which can operate up to 97 mph, both the engine and electric motor shut off completely, and the vehicle also shuts down every time it comes to a stop, with regenerative braking to recharge the battery. The battery charging system, developed with battery partner Sanyo, keeps the charge between 45 and 75 percent.
The Cayenne S Hybrid is a full parallel hybrid, meaning that it can operate on electricity, gasoline, or both, and uses the standard 8-speed Tiptronic S automatic transmission. The electric motor and the decoupler or clutch mechanism are placed ahead of the transmission. The system incorporates hill descent control as well as a hill-holder.
Porsche estimates that the Cayenne S hybrid will achieve 21 miles per gallon in the city (a 30 percent improvement compared to the V8-powered S version) and 25 miles per gallon on the highway.
All Cayenne models except the Turbo come with steel suspension as standard equipment, but for the first time it can be combined with Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM) as an option. PASM is a highly sophisticated system providing active, infinite damper control on the front and rear axle. It offers the choice of the three settings: Comfort, Normal and Sport.
The Cayenne Turbo comes with a new air suspension system with PASM standard. Any 2011 Cayenne can be ordered with Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control (PDCC), an optional system that actively stabilizes the vehicle through dynamic distribution of roll forces.
The 2011 Porsche Cayenne lineup includes Cayenne V6 ($47,600), Cayenne S ($63,700), Caynne S Hybrid ($67,700), and Cayenne Turbo ($104,800). (All New Car Test Drive prices are Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Prices, which do not include destination charge and may change at any time without notice.).