There’s a lot to like about the plug-in hybrid version of the Porsche Cayenne. In past reviews, we’ve praised its refined chassis, robust acceleration, and the powertrain’s smooth transition between gas and electric power. These qualities helped advance the SUV to the finalist list for last year’s MotorTrend SUV of the Year competition. Now, Porsche is making a few more tweaks in hopes of delivering even better performance.
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All changes apply to both SUV and coupe body styles. First, the 2021 Porsche Cayenne E-Hybrid gets a bigger battery, with capacity increasing considerably from 14.1 to 17.9 kWh. Powertrains haven’t changed, however, which means the standard model still combines a 3.0-liter turbocharged V-6 and electric motor for 455 horsepower—it hits 60 mph in 4.2 seconds in our testing—and the Turbo S uses a 4.0-liter twin-turbo V-8/e-motor combo to deliver 670 horses. The latter is the most powerful vehicle in the entire Cayenne lineup.
Porsche is also updating its standard drive modes. As before, E-Charge mode fires the engine to provide charge to the battery pack. Now, however, the targeted state of charge for the battery is 80 percent instead of 100 percent. This new calibration will help make sure full recuperative braking power is available at all times, according to Porsche. (Meaning the friction brakes get even less to do.) The automaker has also made tweaks to the Sport and Sport Plus modes to ensure the battery retains enough juice at all times for max performance. In these modes, it is also charged at a higher, more consistent rate.
The Cayenne E-Hybrid lineup certainly isn’t cheap—for 2020, the basic SUV model starts at $83,150 and the Turbo S at $164,550—but for those willing to get spendy with their hybrid SUVs, it sounds like the tweaks made for 2021 will keep smiles on their faces.
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