Here’s a fun fact to tuck away for the next quiz at your favourite local pub: the typical ear of corn has 800 kernels arranged in 16 rows. There are variations, of course, but those numbers are correct far more often than not. Count ’em up the next time you’re at a barbeque.
It seems there are nearly as many different variants of Porsche’s Cayenne SUV as there are nibs of corn on a cob. When it comes to the Canadian market, there are no fewer than 19 separate trim levels – and that’s before exploring Porsche’s seemingly endless option book.
Tested here is the 2022 Porsche Cayenne Coupe E-Hybrid, with its fast roofline that prioritizes style over practicality and an electrified powertrain that meshes a twin-turbocharged V6 with an electric motor to crank out over 450 hp.
Purists were aghast when Porsche introduced the Cayenne all those years ago, clutching at their Piloti shoes and failed IMS bearings while wailing about dilution of the brand. Fast-forward a couple decades and we find a crossover-type vehicle that looks every inch a Porsche, complete with headlights fit for a 911 and arrest-me-now Carmine Red paint that drew stares from the proletariat.
The coupe suffix in this model’s name denotes a swooping roofline – one that exchanges cargo space for an attractive silhouette. Like any good Porsche worth its salz, a spoiler juts from its rear like a spoiled child’s bottom lip.
Part and parcel of the plug-in hybrid (PHEV) drivetrain are a 3.0L twin-turbocharged V6 engine and an electric motor that work together to make 456 hp and 516 lb-ft of torque. The hybrid system utilizes a 17.9-kWh lithium-ion battery pack to store its extra electrons, distributing them as it sees fit under the command of the driver’s right foot. Drive conservatively and you’ll be rewarded with roughly 30 km of all-electric range in which the V6 is never fired and the 75-L fuel tank not touched.
Driving Feel: 9/10
This trim isn’t the most powerful Cayenne Coupe, hybrid or not, nor is it as quick as some variants of other models in the Porsche lineup. Still, it isn’t purported to be. Scooting to highway speeds from rest in a tick over five seconds is more than enough to stoke the fires of most drivers, even if there are no shortage of other Porsches – SUVs or otherwise – that can turn the same trick in less than four seconds.
Still, it is a commentary on the world in which we find ourselves when this amount of thrust is considered less than elite. This example’s optional sport exhaust system can be goaded into emitting a rude braaap, delighting those of us who misspent our youths fitting loud mufflers to our cars Four driving modes (e-power, hybrid, sport, and sport+) are selectable by spinning a dial on the steering wheel, with each mode increasing the reliance on gasoline power while progressively firming the suspension. The combination of (optional) dynamic chassis control, rear-axle steering, and adaptive air suspension delivers the type of cornering characteristics once reserved for razor-edge sports cars.
Fuel Economy: 7/10
This hybrid powertrain can theoretically return 5.1 L/100 km when making copious use of the electric motor and battery. In actuality, one is far more likely to lean into the six-cylinder with some frequency, contributing to a real-world economy somewhere in the 11.0 L/100 km ballpark. We burned 65 L of premium over 500 km of driving split roughly equally between highway cruising and rural driving.
We need to make one thing clear about this test unit: its mix of features and options are very bizarre, with choices akin to permitting immature children the ability to build their own breakfast at a dessert buffet. For example, it’s highly unusual for a machine in this price range to go without a 360-degree camera system yet have an $1,100 matte carbon fibre wallet for the paper owner’s manual. Handled by adults, the Porsche configurator could easily spit out a sensibly (and lavishly) equipped Cayenne Coupe with a price tag south of this $153,000 test unit.
Porsche has decided to drag its slab-o’-buttons centre console into the modern era by, well, removing the buttons. Controls do have a tactile click when pressed but are part of a completely flat gloss-black surface. Infotainment is handled with typical German precision (and stubbornness), meaning there is a slight learning curve for what should be simple tasks like selecting a radio preset, but all is forgiven thanks to crisp graphics and lightning-fast processing times.
The options list on this tester included a $25,030 bundle that infused the cabin with niceties such as rear seat heating and four-zone climate control, plus a carbon fibre roof which surely made up the bulk of that outrageous sum. It also added a “Comfort Access” package, even though we naturally assumed that accessing comfort in a machine costing $153,135 would have been an unavoidable part of the deal. The seats are true thrones, with their centres finished in a tremendous black-and-white classic checker pattern.
The coupe designation of this Cayenne means it’s a machine that skews far more towards sport than utility. Roughly 565 L is available behind the rear seats – a result of the swooping rear roofline that looks the business but severely eats into cargo space. In fact, coupe variants have about 25 per cent less area for gear than a standard Cayenne.
Safety tests in Europe have resulted in comprehensive five-star ratings. However, their tests are slightly different from North American standards. The Cayenne comes with nearly a dozen airbags and standard advanced safety features such as autonomous braking – though the likes of lane keeping and adaptive cruise control should be standard at this price.
On the topic of price, it’s tough to wax poetic about value in any practical sense of the word when discussing a vehicle from Porsche; after all, this is an automaker that will gladly charge customers $660 to emboss a logo onto headrests or $570 for the privilege of having a painted car key in its own leather pouch. However, in this six-figured rarified air, the Cayenne Coupe E-Hybrid compares exceedingly well with other one-percenters in terms of performance and build quality. Some shoppers affix a towering amount of value to the Porsche badge – a trait upon which it’s tough to apply a price tag.
For customers shopping the upper echelon of the SUV market – in terms of both engine power and brand prestige – the 2022 Porsche Cayenne range offers a wide menu of choose-your-own adventure build choices from the nearly 20 different variants and a deep well of options. This plug-in hybrid does an alarmingly good job of letting the neighbours know you’ve arrived while positively (and profitably) rendering Porsche’s sports-car attributes into an SUV format.
|Engine Displacement||3.0L engine, 99 kW electric motor|
|Engine Cylinders||Turbo V6|
|Peak Horsepower||455 hp @ 5,250 rpm|
|Peak Torque||516 lb-ft @ 1,000 rpm|
|Fuel Economy||11.8 / 10.6 / 11.3 L/100 km cty/hwy/cmb (gas only); 5.1 Le/100 km, 44.9 kWh/100 km cmb (electric only), 27 km est. electric-only range|
|Cargo Space||460 / 1,400 L seats up/down|
|Model Tested||2022 Porsche Cayenne Coupe E-Hybrid|
|Price as Tested||$153,280|
$48,580 – Premium Plus incl. Sport Package in Black, $25,030; Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control (PDCC), $4,090; Sport Exhaust System incl. Tailpipes in Silver, $3,670; Carmine Red, $3,590; Adaptive Air Suspension, $2,480; Rear-Axle Steering, $1,840; Illuminated Carbon Fibre Door Sill Guards, $1,580; On-board AC-charger with 7.2kW, $1,400; Tinted LED Taillights, $1,130; Owner’s Manual Wallet in Matte Carbon Fibre, $1,100; Smartphone Compartment with Wireless Charging, $780; Tinted LED Main Headlights with Matrix Beam, $660; Porsche Crest Embossed on Headrests, $660; Vehicle Key Painted with Key Pouch Leather, $570