The 2015 Porsche Cayenne debuts with a few interesting lineup changes. The most radical change is the premiere of the Cayenne S E-Hybrid, a quick, powerful gas-electric SUV with all-electric driving capabilities. Other updates include modest restyling and a downsized (but more powerful) S-trim engine.
The Cayenne S E-Hybrid trim replaces the standard Cayenne S Hybrid and joins the 918 Spyder and Panamera S E-Hybrid in Porsche's growing plug-in lineup. Porsche calls it the first plug-in hybrid premium SUV.
Like the Panamera plug-in, the Cayenne S E-Hybrid packs a 333-hp 3.0-liter supercharged V6 and a 95-hp electric motor. The bigger bodied Cayenne gets a larger 10.8-kWh lithium-ion traction battery to keep the motor buzzing. Total system torque is 435 lb-ft (590 Nm), available between 1,250 and 4,000 rpm.
The Cayenne S E-Hybrid hits 62 mph (100 km/h) in 5.4 seconds and tops out at 151 mph (242 km/h) – 78 mph (125 km/h) when under electric power alone. Porsche has not yet estimated US mpg numbers, and it doesn't say how far the SUV can travel on electric power. For reference, the Panamera S E-Hybrid is estimated at 50 mpg-e combined and can roll up to 15 miles (24.1 km) on electric power alone.
The non-hybrid Cayenne S enjoys a power upgrade, courtesy of a new 3.6-liter twin-turbo V6. Despite its smaller size, the V6 develops an extra 37 lb-ft (50 Nm) of torque (up to 406 lb-ft/550 Nm total) and 20 hp (up to 420 hp) over the outgoing 4.8-liter V8. The new engine offers enhanced performance on the pavement, pushing the Cayenne S to 62 mph in 5.2 seconds (down from 5.6 seconds) and topping out at 160 mph (257 km/h).
The 2015 Cayenne will also be available in 520-hp eight-cylinder Turbo and 240-hp turbo V6 Diesel trims. There is no word of a gasoline Cayenne base model as Porsche offers in the 2014 line, helping to make room for the new Macan.
The 2015 Cayenne rests on a retuned chassis that Porsche claims offers more comfort while maintaining a high level of sporty response. The body looks about the same as the 2014 Cayenne from afar, but a closer inspection reveals a few updates, including new air blades at the sides of the front-end, a new hood, refashioned front fenders, redesigned lighting, and newly developed tailpipes.
Inside, the new Cayenne gets a new sports steering wheel with paddle shifters based on the wheel of the 918 Spyder. The rear seating is said to be more comfortable and can be outfitted with optional seat ventilation.
The new Cayenne rolls out to US dealerships on November 1 with prices starting at US$61,700 for the Diesel, $74,100 for the Cayenne S, $76,400 for the S E-Hybrid, and $113,600 for the Turbo. All prices are before the $995 destination charge.