A handful of people were invited to scenic Whistler by the German automaker last week to test out firsthand the redesigned Cayenne S, Cayenne Turbo and the all-new Cayenne S E-Hybrid. There was also the announcement of the forthcoming extra-sporty GTS variant as well as an entry-level model featuring the company staple 3.6-litre, six-cylinder 300-horsepower engine.
Most owners and enthusiasts are aware of how the Cayenne performs on regular roads — so to truly test the ability of these machines, the venue shifted to off-road trails of the nearby Callaghan Valley where I had an opportunity to drive the Porsche Macan compact crossover during another event.
Ingo Scheinhütte, senior designer at Porsche who worked on the current Cayenne, made the trip out and gave a brief presentation detailing some of the changes to the vehicle. “Wider and more powerful” was a recurring theme, and applies to everything from a revised hood shape and exterior front air intakes to the removal of the rear license plate light bar and reshaping of the rear bumper diffuser — all of which are meant to give the SUV a bigger, meaner presence on the road.
A driving partner and I took out an S first. It now features a 3.6 L V6 bi-turbo instead of the previous V8, making 420 horsepower, an increase of 20 over the outgoing engine. That was more than enough to slog up even the steepest gravel-covered hills along our route.
Next, we found ourselves in the eco-friendly S E-Hybrid that happens to be the first plug-in hybrid in its class (you can find further discussion on it in earlier coverage). Utilizing a 3.0 L, 333 hp supercharged V6 cooperating with a 95 hp electric motor, it produces a net 416 hp and 435 lb-ft of torque. Fuel consumption is a combined 5.0 Le/100km according to Transport Canada numbers.
No doubt the new electrified Cayenne is an exciting, and important, addition to the Porsche fleet, but we couldn’t help but anticipate the chance to pilot the Turbo through mud and partially frozen creeks. Pumping out 520 hp and 553 lb-ft from a 4.8 L twin turbo V8, it can reach 100 km/h from a standing start in 4.5 seconds. Knock 0.1 seconds off that time with the optional Sport Chrono package, which adds a stopwatch on the dash — featuring requisite green needles on S E-Hybrid models — and a Sport Plus button capable of activating enhanced engine dynamics.
The new 2015s will be arriving in stores shortly. Visit the Porsche Canada website for up-to-date information.