by Deiondre van der Merwe
To cater to the ultra-small niche of buyers who want a high-powered coupe-SUV with a dose of electric assistance, the Cayenne E-Hybrid Coupe lives on into its second year of production, ready to fight the Bentley Bentayga Hybrid once more. The powerful SUV comes in two guises: the entry into the range boasts combined power outputs of 455 horsepower, while the Turbo S churns out 670 hp from its turbocharged V8 engine and electric motors. The coupe sets the benchmark for luxury SUVs that enjoy electrical assistance for maximum efficiency. However, the gap between the base model and the Turbo S is a considerable one, with the latter bearing a sticker that's double the price of the former. The Cayenne E-Hybrid Coupe is an undeniably strong contender within its segment, and it's worth looking at if you value performance and decadence wrapped in a package that's easy on the eyes.
As an all-new model for 2020, the 2021 version serves as a carryover model with no significant changes.
See trim levels and configurations:
You can tell from a mile away that the E-Hybrid Coupe is a Porsche-made product, thanks to the classic-shaped LED headlights and round nose that we know and love. The rear of the coupe sports two sharp full-LED rear lights joined together by a seamless band that bears Porsche badging. Both models get acid green calipers to differentiate them from the regular gas-only trims. The base model sits on 20-inch wheels, while the Turbo S gets upgraded with 21-inch wheels. The Turbo S also gets a resculpted front end with added aggression, while at the rear, it wears quad-exit tailpipes in place of the twin items on the base model.
The Cayenne Coupe has a sloped roofline that is lowered by one inch compared to the regular SUV, and as a whole, it's smaller than the Bentayga Hybrid with which it shares a platform. The base model has a total length measurement of 194.2 inches, increasing to 194.5 inches on the Turbo S. They share a 114-inch wheelbase but differ slightly in height. The entry-level model stands 66 inches tall, but the lower suspension of the Turbo S sees the figure drop to 65.1. Likewise, while the base model measures 78.1 inches from side to side with the mirrors folded, the Turbo S is marginally wider at 78.4 inches.
The good news about the E-Hybrid coupe lineup is that it's not a one-size-fits-all; there are two hybrid engines to choose from, though both are mated to the same eight-speed automatic transmission. The base model gets from 0-60 mph in 4.8 seconds thanks to a turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 engine and a hybrid-electric system. Alone, the engine produces 335 hp and 332 lb-ft of torque, but when the electric motor joins the party, the combined power outputs increase to 455 horses and 516 lb-ft. Speaking of the apex trim, it combines its twin-turbocharged V8 engine with the same electric motor as the entry-level model, the combination returning total outputs of 670 horsepower and 663 lb-ft. This powertrain allows the Turbo S to make the run to 60 mph from a standstill in just 3.6 seconds. Of course, the impressive launches of both trims can also be attributed to the standard all-wheel-drive system, as well as the electric motor's torque-filling abilities.
The Cayenne range as a whole has done an excellent job of combining practicality and performance with aplomb. The E-Hybrid models are no different, boasting the ability to be a respectable family vehicle and capable corner tackler simultaneously. Still, these SUVs aren't without their flaws. Some feel that they lack a bit of soul, getting the job done but not inciting a lot of excitement as they do it. However, the combination of comfort and capability are undeniable. The standard Porsche Active Suspension Management setup and 4D Chassis Control soaks up imperfections quickly without sacrificing handling, while the optionally available air suspension offers some extra comfort in terms of ride quality. The standard suspension takes on a twisty road eagerly, making the slightly harsher ride quality an easy trade-off. In terms of stopping power, the standard six-piston front and four-piston rear brakes - upgraded to ten-piston carbon ceramic front brakes on the Turbo S - bring the SUV to a halt without fuss.
Powerful SUVs aren't known for their frugal fuel consumption figures, but hybrid technology has made the burden that much easier to bear. While no figures are available from the EPA for the 2021 model year, the 2020 figures should remain unchanged. The base model has a combined estimate of 21 mpg on gasoline and electric power, while on electrons alone, the EPA rates it at 41 MPGe. The Turbo S E-Hybrid, meanwhile, achieved 18 mpg combined and 39 MPGe on electric propulsion. Both models are rated by the EPA as having a meager 14-mile electric range, while in total, the base model has the highest possible distance at 434 miles from its 19.8-gallon gas tank.
Ideally, a 7.2 kW outlet will achieve a full charge in two hours, but the more common 3.6 kW outlets will do the job in four.
You can opt for your Cayenne to seat either four or five occupants depending on the configuration. As standard, it comes with two seats in the rear, but a 2+1-seater bench can be equipped at no extra cost. The inside of the SUV is spacious enough to accommodate even six-footers, though the front is the best place to be for taller adults. The seating is comfortable, with eight-way power-adjustable front seats standard for the base model and 18-way power-adjustable adaptive sports seats on the Turbo S. Notably, the former model makes both 14-way and 18-way power-adjustable seats optionally available.
One downside that befalls almost all hybrid and electric vehicles is that the battery tends to encroach on trunk and cargo space. This is true for the coupe because the battery is situated just beneath the trunk. The E-Hybrid coupe offers a 17.6-cubic foot trunk, smaller than the 22 cubes found in the regular Cayenne Coupe and 22.7 cubes in the standard-bodied Cayenne E-Hybrid. If you're in a pinch, 50.8 cubes become available with the rear seats folded.
As for general storage, the door pockets are a decent size, and a large glove compartment allows for small-item storage. The center console up front offers quite a bit of storage space, and there's another storage console in the rear if you opt for the four-seater setup.
It comes as no surprise that this SUV is loaded with standard convenience features at this price point, but there are a few notable exclusions from the standard fare that might leave discerning buyers a little put out. Keyless entry is standard at base-level, as are eight-way power-adjustable front seats, a multifunction steering wheel, and dual-zone climate control. The Turbo S gains a panoramic sunroof, 18-way power-adjustable front seats, and heating for the front and rear seats. At this level, a heated steering wheel is also included, along with power steering column adjustment. If this isn't enough luxury, there are multiple packages to choose from that improve the list of features. The Premium Package for the base model adds 14-way power-adjustable front seats with heating and ambient lighting as well as lane change assist. The Premium Package Plus adds all of those features, with the addition of four-zone climate control and ventilation for the seats to both the base and the top model. Advanced driver aids are notably scant, and while adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist, and a surround-view camera are standard on many cheaper rivals, all these are optional in the Cayenne. Likewise, you need to pay extra for a head-up display.
The cabin of the E-Hybrid Coupe has loads of premium tech to keep you satisfied. A 12.3-inch touchscreen is standard on both models, enabling Apple CarPlay, Sirius XM, HD Radio and Bluetooth streaming. It also features an onboard navigation system, while audio is delivered through a ten-speaker sound system. Two optional sound systems are available, including a 14-speaker Bose setup that comes standard on the Turbo S and an available 21-speaker Burmester system for $7,000. Four USB ports come as standard on both models, and wireless charging is also available for around $700. The infotainment suite pairs with the digital driver display so that navigation and other functionality can be viewed on the programmable right-hand cluster.
At the time of writing, the 2021 model was recall-free. The 2020 Cayenne E-Hybrid was also free of recalls, but the Turbo S E-Hybrid Coupe was on the receiving end of three. The recalls related to issues including possible fuel leaks, transmission fluid leaks, and incorrect warnings for brake pad wear.
Should any problems arise, however, Porsche offers a four-year or 50,000-mile basic warranty and a 12-year corrosion warranty. It's worth noting that the standard battery warranty is valid for eight years or 100,000 miles. The drivetrain is covered for four years or 50,000 miles, and roadside assistance is valid for the same period.
Common amongst luxury vehicles at this price point, the IIHS and NHTSA do not have reviews of the Cayenne for its safety. A glance at the list of standard safety features will be enough to quell most safety concerns, however. A ten-airbag system is standard on both models and includes dual-front airbags as well as front knee, front side, and side curtain, as well as rear side airbags. As for the more modern features, a rearview camera is standard along with park sensors for the front and the rear. Forward collision warning joins the list along with automatic emergency braking. There are plenty of additionally available safety features that include a head-up display, adaptive cruise control, lane-keep assist, and a night-vision camera.
The Porsche Cayenne E-Hybrid Coupe is impressive by many standards. Of course, there are a few small gripes worth mentioning. The somewhat unexciting driving experience and lack of standard safety features are its two main downfalls, the latter taking the top spot. This is especially true for the Turbo S that could certainly do with a few more standard driver assists for its price. Still, the SUV will likely be seen parked in the driveway of a wealthy family because it offers excellent performance and luxury at both trim levels. The base model and the Turbo S are worlds apart, both in pricing and power outputs. But this allows for some variation in the lineup; some shoppers simply don't need the big V8, they just like the car for its style and premium feel. Either way, the hybridized SUV is a good option to consider thanks to its excellent handling, efficient fuel figures, and all-round deluxe feel. The clean conscience and 14-mile electric range are mere bonuses.
When you're considering the pricing of these vehicles, it's worth remembering that you're paying for the badge as much as you're paying for the car itself. The base model E-Hybrid coupe starts at $87,600, while the Turbo S nearly doubles that figure at $166,200. The latter is closer in price to the Bentayga Hybrid, which is far less powerful. These prices are calculated without the addition of the $1,350 delivery fee and numerous options that can quickly add tens of thousands of dollars to the final invoice.
We can't justify the $166,200 asking price of the Turbo S, so we'll advise that you opt for the E-Hybrid Coupe in its base form and make some changes to the base specification. The Lightweight Sport package and Premium Plus package as a combination will cost $21,590. It adds 18-way adjustable front seats, a Bose sound system, four-zone climate control, lane change assist, heating for the front and rear seats and ambient lighting. The performance aspect of the package adds sportier exterior styling with the addition of a carbon-fiber roof, carbon interior trims, and 22-inch GT-Design wheels. Adding these features brings the total cost to $111,340 including destination and handling fees.
When we put the two luxury hybrid SUVs next to each other, the first thing we notice is that the Bentayga costs double the price of the E-Hybrid Coupe at the base level, despite boasting the same powertrain, but with even less power. The Turbo S obliterates the Bentayga in terms of power, with 670 horsepower to the Bentley's 443 hp, all while wearing a similar price tag. Both SUVs have undeniably luxurious interiors, but the Porsche has a cleaner layout in its cabin design, while the Bentayga is overtly opulent. Surprisingly, despite the traditional SUV shape, the Bentayga boasts a much less practical trunk at just 15 cubic feet. The better buy of the two would be the Cayenne E-Hybrid, especially in terms of performance for the money. Still, the Bentayga's exclusivity may be the deciding factor for wealthy buyers.
The Range Rover and the Porsche Cayenne have been at it for as long as we can remember, fighting for the attention of shoppers who won't settle for anything other than pure luxury. These two SUVs certainly offer that, but what would set them apart if we put them side by side? For starters, the Cayenne E-Hybrid comes with a more powerful 455-hp V6 engine and the Range Rover relies on a 392-hp 2.0-liter turbo. Both provide excellent comfort in terms of ride quality, though the Range Rover may just take the cake as Land Rover puts more focus onto the comfort aspect. That being said, the Porsche is more adept at handling a twisty road. Both interiors are excellently swathed in premium materials and loaded with tech, so the better cabin will most likely come down to personal preference. The two contenders are similarly priced and have nearly the same fuel economy figures. It's an extremely close one, but the Porsche will likely win the hearts of performance-focused shoppers.