By Grant Yoxon
2011 Porsche Cayenne
New York, New York – Porsche recently introduced its next generation 2011 Cayenne sport utility vehicle at the New York Auto Show. Under cloth sheets were the . 4.8-litre V8 Cayenne S, turbo-charged Cayenne Turbo and the all-new Cayenne S Hybrid powered by a supercharged 3.0-litre V6 that, combined with its electric motor output, generates a whopping 380 horsepower.
At first glance the new models appear more compact than the previous generation, but that is an illusion as they are 48 mm longer with a 40 mm longer wheelbase (and slightly taller and wider). Adding to the illusion is new sheet metal that further distances the Cayenne from the stereotypical and inappropriately named SUV or even the CUVs (Crossover Utility Vehicle) that are more common today. If there was ever a reason to resurrect the moniker “sport utility vehicle” – without laughing at the first word – the 2011 Porsche Cayenne would be reason enough.
There is no doubt now that this Cayenne is a Porsche, no doubt that it belongs in the family of hard core sports cars, and no doubt that “sports car” and “utility vehicle” are no longer mutually exclusive.
2011 Porsche Cayenne S Hybrid. Click image to enlarge
Similarly, Porsche is committed to demonstrating that high performance and efficiency need not be mutually exclusive either. Power is up on all current engines, but fuel consumption and emissions are down. The V6 now produces 300 hp (up 10) and 295 lb.-ft. of torque (up 22), the 4.8-litre V8 is up 15 hp to 400, while torque remains the same at 369 lb.-ft., while power remains the same for the turbocharged 4.8-litre at 500 hp and 516 lb.-ft. Official fuel consumption figures in North America have yet to be published, but European tests (New European Driving Cycle) have shown much lower fuel consumption and lower CO2 emissions as well – 23 per cent less in the case of the 4.8-litre variants and 20 per cent for the V6. Transport Canada fuel consumption rating will be made available when the Cayenne goes on sale in July.
2011 Porsche Cayenne Turbo (top); 2011 Porsche Cayenne S. Click image to enlarge
A number of significant changes contribute to better fuel efficiency: first, lower weight. Use of lighter materials and components, such as the Cayenne’s new all-wheel drive system has reduced weight by 141 kg (310 lbs) for the Cayenne, 180 kg (396 lbs) for the Cayenne S and 185 kg (408 lbs) for the Cayenne Turbo. A new 8-speed automatic Tiptronic S transmission, automatic start-stop function, efficient thermal management of the engine and transmission cooling circuits, on-board electrical network recuperation and variable deceleration fuel cut-off also contribute to improved fuel economy.
Fuel consumption is not the only benefit of improved efficiency. According to Porsche, performance will be much improved as well for all variants. Zero to 96 km/h times (0-60 mph) for the V6 Cayenne is estimated to be 7.4 seconds, while the V8 Cayenne S should cover the distance in 5.6 seconds, and 4.4 seconds for the Cayenne Turbo.
While all three Cayennes promise better performance and fuel economy, none will deliver both the way the new Cayenne S Hybrid will. The hybrid uses a 333-hp supercharged 3.0-litre V6 engine in conjunction with a 47-hp electric motor to generate 380 hp at 5,500 rpm and 427 lb.-ft. of torque at a low 1,000 rpm.
This is a full hybrid system in that either drive unit can operate independently or together. Like other full hybrids, the Cayenne S Hybrid can travel short distances on electric power alone up to 60 km/h (37 mph). When more power is required, the electric motor provides additional boost to the gasoline engine.