In 2002, Porsche defied convention by introducing the Cayenne, a luxury SUV that perplexed purists, but ultimately became a symbol of the brand’s adaptability and survival, allowing it to continue the production of brilliant sports cars. Fast forward to 2024, and the newly facelifted Porsche Cayenne Turbo E-Hybrid emerges as the latest chapter in this storied history, showcasing not only the evolution of the Cayenne, but also Porsche’s commitment to embracing the latest technology without compromising its performance DNA.
Crafted as the follow-up to the Porsche Cayenne Turbo S E-Hybrid, the Turbo E-Hybrid is available in both standard and coupé body styles, pledging supercar-beating performance coupled with a significantly enhanced electric range. The coupe body style offers an additional GT package featuring a series of lightweight components from the Turbo GT Coupe, which we won’t see in Europe anymore. Thanks Brussels!
Other key updates include a redesigned interior, a significantly larger and more intelligent battery for the E-Hybrid variants (which are expected to dominate sales), and a revamped chassis with new two-valve dampers, aiming to enhance both comfort and performance. Time for us to test the new electrified Cayenne Turbo on a 900+ mile road trip across Germany and Belgium.
When Performance Meets Environmental Consciousness
At the heart of the 2024 Cayenne Turbo E-Hybrid is a plug-in hybrid powertrain that marries raw power with the so-called environmental consciousness. A heavily reworked 4.0-litre twin-turbocharged V8 engine stands as the centrepiece, churning out a formidable 599 PS. The new version of the V8 has a series of upgraded details and parts such as single-scroll turbochargers instead of twin-scroll variants, more responsive electric wastegates, a 350-bar fuel injection system and a two-stage variable valve lift system.
This, however, is not where the story ends. Coupled with an electric motor offering 176 PS, the combination surges to an astonishing 739 PS and a maximum torque of 950 Nm. The new Cayenne Turbo E-Hybrid is able to complete the sprint from 0 to 62 mph in 3.7 seconds and reaches a top speed of 183 mph. Our test car was running Michelin Pilot Alpin 5 Winter tyres, which proved to be highly suitable during our journey.
The symphony of power is conducted by Porsche’s sophisticated eight-speed automatic transmission, seamlessly orchestrating the dance between the V8 and the electric motor. The power is converted to the road through its four-wheel drive system featuring torque vectoring. The 25.9 kWh battery pack (up from 17.9 kWh over its predecessor) and a more potent 130 kW electric drive unit (from 100 kW) not only aid in reducing emissions but also extends the Cayenne’s capabilities with an electric-only range suitable for short urban commutes.
The electric motor contributes instantaneous torque, smoothing out power delivery and filling in the gaps where the V8 might have a momentary lag. It possesses sufficient power to propel the plug-in Porsche to a speed of 84 mph independently, without relying on the assistance of the petrol engine. The addition of the electric assistant does leave you as the driver with a weight penalty of carrying around a total 2,645 kg making it one of the heaviest vehicles in its class.
Ability Through Driving Modes
This hybrid setup is more than a green initiative; it’s a performance booster. It introduces different driving modes, allowing the driver to tailor the Cayenne’s behaviour to their preferences. You start the vehicle in the electric-only E-Power mode, which is perfect for silent city cruising, whilst Sport and Sport Plus modes unleash the full potential of the V8 for an exhilarating experience. The Off-Road mode raises the vehicle allowing to venture off asphalt, if you fancy such a thing in a 2.6-tonne luxury SUV. The choice for Hybrid brings out the unique daily nature, which works really well but does require you to be conscious to turn the rotary dial on the steering wheel the moment you drive off from your parking spot. Where E-Power might well be the responsible choice at start-up, hybrid is the better choice, because you will have enough electric power on tap without running out of battery and carrying around additional weight without any kind of performance gain.
The adaptive air suspension and optional rear-axle steering further elevate the driving dynamics, providing a greater blend of comfort and agility that defines the Porsche driving experience. The suspension set up offer new two-chamber, two-valve technology, which allow the onboard computers to adjust the rebound and compression stages accordingly based on the driver’s inputs. The input is mostly felt when you switch to Sport and Sport Plus where the suspension becomes immediately firmer. Sport Plus is purely for the track or a properly sporty drive, whereas Sport mode is wonderfully suitable during daily driving. It offers more than enough excess body movements whilst still having that poise you expect on rough road patches.
Precision and Poise on Every Turn
Behind the wheel of the Cayenne Turbo E-Hybrid, you’re not merely driving; you are in some ways conducting a symphony of power and precision that feels truly Porsche. The chassis dynamics are finely tuned, offering a ride that is both engaging and comfortable. The steering feels quite sports car-like precise, responding eagerly to inputs, and the rear-axle steering system fitted to our test vehicle enhances manoeuvrability.
Whether navigating tight corners or cruising on the highway, the Cayenne Turbo E-Hybrid instils confidence throughout. Although masked well, it feels too heavy for our liking. The hybrid system seamlessly transitions between electric and petrol power, and the regenerative braking system not only contributes to efficiency, but also adds a layer of environmental consciousness to the driving experience.
The brake paddle transition however doesn’t feel natural on the first initial miles and that is mainly due to the fact that there are two braking modes and their tuning is too far apart. A gentler setting is applied in the E-Power and Hybrid modes, whereas Sport and Sport Plus modes receive a more assertive configuration. Not a highlight, but something you will get used to eventually.
Elegance and Innovation Converge
Inside the Cayenne Turbo E-Hybrid, Porsche has created a haven of luxury and technology. The seats strike a perfect balance between support and comfort, making them ideal for both long journeys and spirited drives. The interior design is a testament to Porsche’s commitment to minimalism and sophistication, with controls intuitively placed for ease of use.
The centrepiece of the interior is the 12.3-inch touchscreen, housing Porsche Communication Management (PCM). PCM encompasses navigation, smartphone integration, and a suite of connectivity options, and it feels robust with relatively quick responses. The 12.6-inch curved digital instrument cluster in front of the driver replaces the analogue unit and offers seven different display options. You also have a head-up display with three modes. The passenger has access to 10.9-inch passenger touchscreen, which you can’t really read or see from the driver’s position due to the application of a special foil. The additional touchscreen allows the front passenger to take the strain off the driver, for example by operating the navigation or selecting a media service.
Safety hasn't taken a back seat either. The Cayenne Turbo E-Hybrid is equipped with a comprehensive set of driver-assistance features, including adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assist, and automatic emergency braking. In Europe in 2024, you will also be greeted by the automatic speed warning system, which is enabled as standard every single time you switch on the car. It became a standard part of the start-up procedure to disable this feature every single time we entered the Cayenne. Unnecessary and annoying! Thanks Brussels!
Out of all the technology available, Porsche managed to make a comprehensive package that connected well with our inputs. However, some niggles were found here and there with the onboard Android Auto quite often disabling the wireless connection with our phones and the adaptive cruise control being too pro-active with adjusting to speed limits. The incorrectness of the speed info database and inability of the speed sign camera to read the speed correctly due to the winter weather conditions often caused for unnecessary annoyances. Just a normal cruise control would be a wonderful feature.
Exterior Offers Fusion of Form and Function
The exterior design of the 2024 Cayenne Turbo E-Hybrid features distinctive design elements that set it apart from its non-hybrid counterparts. Acid green brake calipers, E-Hybrid badging, and specific aerodynamic enhancements not only convey its hybrid identity but also contribute to the overall efficiency of the vehicle.
The muscular stance and wide wheel arches, housing 21-inch alloy wheels, give the Cayenne a commanding presence on the road. Turbo E-Hybrid model includes also two twin tailpipes in brushed stainless steel and enlarged cooling air intakes accented by shiny black air blades. Another distinct feature is the fact that you have alongside the refuelling nozzle on the rear right (only to be opened using a button in the driver’s door) a charger port on the rear left of the car which offers a 11 kW AC charging port. DC charging a Cayenne might well be available quite soon when a full EV Cayenne hits the market.
Pinnacle of Performance and Sustainability
The 2024 Porsche Cayenne Turbo E-Hybrid is more than a luxury SUV; in many ways it’s a testament to Porsche’s mastery in blending power, precision, and sustainability. It is a wonderful travel companion and showcased a great level of luxury during the 900+ miles we used the vehicle. Its abilities are enormous, but do come at a cost where you are carrying around additional weight and loose the highly needed storage space (which isn’t ample in the first place) due to the additional battery you are carrying around.
As a SUV and a hybrid the 2024 model of the Cayenne is highly versatile in its ability to transport you from A to B, it is also a heavy piece of machinery and comes at a price tag that makes you stand still for a few seconds. Even though, our test car was dressed in a lovely interior and exterior colour combo and came with every single feature you could think off, the price of our spec was a hefty one at €220,000, which translates into £188,000 at the current exchange rate. In the UK the Cayenne Turbo E-Hybrid starts at £130,200.
Add this to the absence of the Turbo GT on the European market, and it means that we won’t see many new high performance Cayenne models on our roads anymore. Which is a shame for a car that has been such a life-changing feat for a sporty brand like Porsche. Times are changing, and at this moment in the era of electrification we should cherish that we can still order a V8-powered Cayenne that has the ability to amaze your passengers with its sheer performance and poise whilst leaving you with a smile on your face.