The fuel-miser version of Motor Trend's 2011 Sport/Utility of the Year winner, the 2011 Porsche Cayenne S Hybrid, hits showrooms next month. The gasoline/electric hybrid will start at $68,675 including destination fees.
All-new for 2011, the Porsche Cayenne lineup gets significant improvements over the previous-generation vehicle, with sleeker bodywork, lighter curb weight, and improvements in driveability and performance. The Cayenne S Hybrid, an all-new variant for 2011, pairs an Audi-sourced twin-supercharged 3.0-liter V-6 to an electric motor. The result is a total of 380 horsepower and fuel economy ratings of 21 mpg city and 25 mpg highway. Not bad for an SUV that can hit the 60 mph mark from a standstill in just 6.1 seconds and reach a top speed of 150 mph.
Porsche's unique Hybrid Manager system allows the Cayenne S Hybrid to operate exclusively on gasoline or electric power, or a combination of the two, depending on driving conditions. A decoupling clutch located between the two power sources is designed for smooth transgression from one power mode to another. It also allows both gasoline and electric power supplies to be disconnected altogether when coasting ("sailing," in Porsche-speak) at speeds up to 97 mph - such as when maintaining speed on a downhill grade. In the event that the driver wants to accelerate again, a touch of the gas pedal reconnects the powertrains while being virtually imperceptible to occupants.
The Cayenne S Hybrid also features a 288-volt nickel metal-hydride battery stashed neatly beneath the rear cargo area. The battery captures energy from the Porsche's regenerative brakes, using it to power the electric motor when accelerating. The storage location optimizes interior space while also lowering the vehicle's center of gravity for optimized handling.
Other models in the 2011 Porsche Cayenne range include the standard Cayenne, powered by a naturally-aspirated, 300-horsepower, 3.6-liter Porsche-designed V-6 engine, along with the Cayenne S and Cayenne Turbo, both powered by a 400-horsepower, twin-turbocharged, 4.8-liter V-8 engine.
All prices include a $975 destination charge.