2019 Porsche Cayenne E-Hybrid: eco without compromise

The 2019 Porsche Cayenne E-Hybrid’s biggest rival might be parked across the showroom. That’s because the Cayenne E-Hybrid, with its 445-horsepower hybrid powertrain delivers faster acceleration and better fuel economy than the Cayenne S.

Oh, and it’s cheaper. The Cayenne E-Hybrid’s $ 80,950 base price is about $ 3,000 less than the Cayenne S. Compromise: obliterated?

CHECK OUT: 2019 Porsche Cayenne deep dive

Though the two performance-oriented crossovers look about the same from the outside—aside from hints of Porsche 918-inspired neon green on the E-Hybrid and newly available 22-inch alloy wheels—what lies beneath makes all the difference.

The Cayenne E-Hybrid starts with a 3.0-liter turbocharged V-6 rated at 335 horsepower and 332 pound-feet of torque. A 134-hp electric motor elevates the pair to a combined output of 455 hp and 516 lb-ft of torque, the latter coming on at just 1,000 rpm. That compares to the twin-turbo 3.6-liter V-6 that puts out 420 hp and 406 lb-ft of torque in the Cayenne S.

ALSO SEE: 2019 Porsche Cayenne deep dive

Beneath the cargo area, the Cayenne E-Hybrid features a 14.1-kwh lithium-ion battery pack that lets the vehicle travel up to 83 mph on electric power alone in certain circumstances. A 3.6-kW charger comes standard and works with a Level 2 240-volt connection to recharge the battery in 7.8 hours. An optional 7.2-kw charger slices that to just 2.3 hours, and Porsche says that a cellphone app will let owners check the state of charge, locate public charging station locations, and even access the vehicle’s climate control.

An 8-speed automatic shuttles power to all four corners. The 8-speed behaves mostly like a 6-speed except during highway cruising when its especially long top two gears kick in to keep engine revs low and improve fuel economy.

Porsche hasn’t released fuel-economy estimates for the 2019 Cayenne E-Hybrid.

2019 Porsche Cayenne E-Hybrid drive modes

Further widening the gap between it and the Cayenne S, the Cayenne E-Hybrid will come standard with the Sport Chrono package when it goes on sale early next year. In addition to the Sport and Sport Plus modes, the Cayenne E-Hybrid has a quartet of new drive modes accessible by a steering wheel switch: E-Power, Hybrid Auto, E-Hold, and E-Charge.

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The E-Power mode lets the Cayenne operate as an electric vehicle for about 27 miles, a figure Porsche calculated using European-market standards so the U.S. measurement should come in at a lower figure. When drivers select the E-Hold mode, the Cayenne will keep the battery’s state of charge intact until the driver wants to use it; this allows the Cayenne to qualify for emissions-free zone use in some European cities.

In E-Charge mode, the gas engine “generates more power than is needed to move the car,” Porsche says. E-Charge mode is designed to top up the battery in anticipation of an emissions-free zone, which means it wastes energy during that time, something that seems at odds with such zones’ intentions.

Hybrid Auto lets the Cayenne’s computer pick when the gas engine engages.

Additionally, the Cayenne E-Hybrid debuts some new optional equipment that will eventually migrate to other versions of Porsche’s mid-size crossover SUV—including the Cayenne S that suddenly seems outdated. These items include 22-inch alloy wheels, massaging seats, a heated windshield, and head-up display.

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