The Porsche Cayenne is credited with expanding the breadth and scope of the brand, bringing some of the company's legendary sports-car genes to family-hauling utility vehicles. And the Cayenne is again leading the charge for Porsche, this time in an effort to cement its green credentials.
The redone 2011 Cayenne range will break cover in March at the Geneva auto show, and the spotlight model is a Cayenne S hybrid that packs total output of 380 hp and can run short distances completely on electric power.
The 3.0-liter supercharged V6 makes 333 hp and works with a 47-hp electric motor. Peak torque is available low in the band, with 427 lb-ft on tap at just 1,000 rpm. The motors work in tandem or separately with the help of a decoupling clutch, which manages the transitions between the two in an effort to make for seamless operation. The hybrid can run on electric power at speeds of up to 40 mph, Porsche says.
There's also a cruising feature, which the company is dubbing a "sailing" mode, and it allows the combustion engine to be completely shut off at speeds of up to 97 mph for cruising on electric power.
The hybrid leads a lineup of Cayennes which grow 1.9 inches in length and 1.6 inches in wheelbase to expand interior space and functionality. Two of the engines also get power boosts, and the lineup as a whole has better fuel economy. Weight has also been cut, and Porsche points to the Cayenne S, which is 400 pounds lighter, as evidence.
The entry-level Cayenne is powered by a 3.6-liter V6 that makes 300 hp--up from 290 hp in the previous model--and is paired with a new eight-speed Tiptronic S automatic transmission. EPA figures are not available yet, but the model consumes 20 percent less fuel on the European cycle than its predecessor.
The Cayenne S gets upgraded 15 hp to 400 hp, and fuel consumption is cut 23 percent on the Euro cycle. The Turbo model is still 500 hp, and it also uses 23 percent less fuel.
Pricing will be released closer to the Cayenne's launch. The Cayenne S and Turbo models go on sale in North America in July and will be joined by the hybrid and the base V6 versions in the fall.
The Cayenne hits U.S. soil for a reveal at the New York auto show later this spring.