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Porsche's enlightening perspective

Friday, June 19, 2020

HOW do you make the best sport utility vehicle (SUV) better? You harness the power of electricity like Porsche has for its largest model, the Cayenne. The superiority of the Porsche Cayenne E-Hybrid is built on the pillars of performance, luxury and efficiency.

The Cayenne has completed the transition from its controversial initial styling to the belle of the ball in its recent third-generation upgrades, to the point where it's passing down its design language to other Porsches in the line. The familial elements are there, but the Porsche manages to do something unique. The shape demarks it as understated and, at a distance, it blends into the sea of other SUVs. However, draw closer and those in the know, or more specifically those in elevated income brackets, will recognise it. It's like people telling you: 'nice watch!', but that one person gives you the thumbs up because they know you're rolling a Seamaster 300M on your wrist. Specific to the E-Hybrid is the acid green badging. That colour is applied to the massive brake callipers.

The interior is far from understated. Think the bridge from the Starship Enterprise meeting a stately English living room. Puddle lights at all four doors illuminate entry into a sea of stitched leather and high-quality accent materials. Sit in the seats with the Porsche crest embossed into the headrests and all is serene. There's no real hint of the tech lying underneath until the vehicle is turned on. All the major switchgear is buried under touch-sensitive, piano gloss black which is discretely hidden when not lit up. The same goes for the large infotainment screen. Turn the traditional start knob and everything comes to life, silently.

During the day, drivers can open the panoramic sunroof and enjoy the lap of luxury as everything possible is either automated or electronically operated. At night, the ambient lighting can be set to enhance the calm of the refined cabin, which does its best to eliminate the outside world. As an SUV, there's plenty of space for passengers. Cargo can be stowed away in the wide array of storage solutions it has.

The Porsche always starts its journeys on electric power, able to run on its 136bhp electric motor for 44 kilometres up to a maximum speed of 135km/h on a full charge. Charging can be provided externally, filling up the batteries as quickly as 2.3 hours or recharged while being driven under one of the several E-modes. It doesn't stop there. Late for meeting, maybe on the other side of the island, then engage a virtual warp drive by accessing SPORT+ mode. Hold down the brake, hit the throttle to activate launch controls and both the internal combustion engine and the electric motor combine forces for 462bhp to push the Cayenne E-Hybrid to 100km/h in five seconds. Next stop, 253km/h. Once at your destination, simply switch back to electric power and ride in silent comfort.

Adding hybrid technology to the Porsche Cayenne amps up the elements that make it a great SUV, in full electric mode passengers are left to enjoy its technology, serenity and quality. For those who live within the 44 kilometre range, the potential is there for an owner to never use fuel. Most of all, the already sport nature expected from a Porsche is there to be accessed with a press of a button.