Electrified cars are all too often about numbers: pure electric range, charging time, kilowatt-hours and, of course, value.
When it comes to an electrified luxury crossover like the Porsche Cayenne E-Hybrid 2019, the standard knee-jerk reaction is to throw the last one.
Except … not.
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At $ 81,000, it's cheaper than the twin-turbo Cayenne S, at $ 4,000, and it's a better performer. The value is relative.
Suddenly, electrification at Porsche has made its way into the mainstream scene – although we have not been waiting for a 911 hybrid for long.
The 2019 Cayenne E-Hybrid combines a 3.0-liter Turbo V-6 with a 14.1-kWh lithium-ion battery that powers an electric motor. An 8-speed automatic transmission shuttles in all four corners. The result is an exceptionally strong acceleration of any speed and the ability to conserve battery charge for up to 27 miles of electric range.
Cayenne hybrid genesis
The last time Porsche hybridized its Cayenne scratched our heads. The Cayenne S E-Hybrid, which retired in 2015, had a 10.8 kWh battery and a 95 hp electric motor. It was about $ 3,000 more than the sheer Cayenne, and it hardly seemed worth the extra coin, let alone its S badge.
The latest model, as we experienced on a day trip from the French Mediterranean coast to Provence and back, reverses this idea. It loses its s-nomenclature, but we're not sure why.
The Cayenne E-Hybrid's battery is stowed under the back seat and sends cargo to a 134-horsepower electric motor. In contrast to the Panamera E-Hybrid with dual clutch automatic, the Cayenne exchanges a conventional 8-speed automatic with torque converter.
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Porsche says crossover shoppers prefer its smoother layers and that it also helps the electrified Cayenne get behind up to 7,700 pounds to draw.
Paired with the Turbo-6, the overall system performance is a substantial 455 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque, the latter of which passes at just 1,000 rpm.
There is no noticeable delay, something that was useful when I passed a heavy caravan after a lumbering caravan on one of France's many May holidays (there are four; color me jealously).
In fact, there's more thrust than I needed – and it's electric. An unmarked button on the steering wheel-mounted drive mode button fires 20 seconds of electrical boost to propel the Cayenne E-Hybrid forward, holding its substantial 5,000-pound curb weight.
For comparison, a Porsche 911 from 1964 weighs about 2,400 pounds. Things have changed.
French villages quickly get on side roads and I often braked myself. As with all hybrids, they are regenerative and that means they can feel a bit rubbery.
At a stop, the engine of the Cayenne shuts off automatically. A quick glance at the steering wheel drive mode knob places the Cayenne E-Hybrid in electric power mode and only runs about 27 miles of electrical energy – a figure that is calculated using a European standard that is probably 20 23 miles is translated in the US
For well-heeled Europeans driving from rural areas to city centers that prohibit exhaust emissions, the battery can be charged for later access.
If these drivers forget, an e-charge mode will make the gas engine extra heavy to juice the battery. That seems to be like cheating, because well, it is.