For a company known best for its sports cars and racing heritage, the Cayenne SUV has ironically become the brand’s biggest success story in the past decade. The 2015 Porsche Cayenne gets a well-deserved update for the new model year with some new powertrains and updated styling that promise to keep it among the company’s top-selling models, although that may change with the recent introduction of the Cayenne’s little brother, the Macan.
The two biggest changes for ’15 are the addition of a plug-in hybrid model under the E-Hybrid label and the Cayenne S dropping its naturally aspirated 4.8L V-8 in favor of a 3.6L turbocharged V-6. The E-Hybrid effectively replaces last year’s non-plug-in hybrid. The gasoline-powered engine remains the same: a 3.0L supercharged V-6 making 333 hp. But the electric motor doubles its power from 47 to 95 hp to enable all-electric driving at part-throttle with a fully charged battery and a claimed electric top speed of 78 mph. Combined net-power output of the hybrid drivetrain is 416 hp and 435 lb-ft of torque, enabling a 0-60 time of just over 5 seconds and a top speed of 151 mph. The addition of the Cayenne S E-Hybrid also gives Porsche the claim of being the only brand to offer three plug-in hybrid models, the other two being the Panamera sedan and the 918 supercar.
The Cayenne S, a model beloved for its mellifluous naturally aspirated 4.8L 400-hp V-8, finally capitulates to the relentless industry-wide trend of engine downsizing, trading its bent-eight for a 3.6L twin-turbocharged V-6 shared with the smaller Macan Turbo. For the Cayenne, the engine makes 20 more horsepower than its little brother at 420 hp. Torque output remains at 406 lb-ft. Output is 20 hp and 37 lb-ft higher than last year’s V-8. Porsche claims the new engine shaves four tenths of a second off the 0-62 mph run (0-100 km/h in metric-speak).
Aside from the mechanical changes, all ’15 Cayenne models get revised front-end styling with new front fenders and hood and “airblades” in the lower outer grilles. However, they’re not just styling gingerbread. The airblades are designed to direct air more effectively to the dual intercoolers. The Cayenne also gets new headlights, with bi-xenon lights on all launch models in the U.S. The four-point LED running lights that have lately become a Porsche trademark continue on the new models year. The top-of-the-line Cayenne Turbo gets standard directional headlights with the Porsche Dynamic Light System.
Around back, the Cayenne gets a revised tailgate design with a more smoothly integrated handle, license plate recess, redesigned taillights, and new exhaust tips. Inside, the Cayenne adopts a new steering wheel design inspired by the 918 supercar.
The Cayenne Diesel and Turbo are mostly mechanically unchanged from 2014. The updated Cayenne Lineup will launch with the Cayenne Diesel starting at $62,695, the Cayenne S starting at $75,095, the Cayenne S E-Hybrid starting at $77,395, and the Cayenne Turbo starting at $114,595. All prices include $995 destination. The 2015 Porsche Cayenne will be available in U.S. dealerships starting November 2014. Other models likely to follow later are an updated base model, and a new Cayenne Turbo S. The odds of the U.S. getting the torque-beast Cayenne Diesel S model are unknown, but we sure wouldn’t mind 627 lb-ft of torque.