Porsche Cars Australia public relations manager Paul Ellis told CarAdvice that the new plug-in hybrid Cayenne will be the real kickstarter for that technology for the German sports car brand, despite a plug-in drivetrain also being available in the Panamera sports sedan.
"We're planning to sell upwards of 60 S E-Hybrid Cayennes a year," Ellis said. "That's a significant number coming from zero base. Hybridisation is a really important part of our future."
The new Cayenne S E-Hybrid is powered by a 3.0-litre supercharged V6 petrol engine that develops 245kW and 440Nm. An electric motor churns out 75kW and 310Nm from a standstill. Porsche quotes the maximum power of the complete system as 306kW and 590Nm. These combined figures mean the E-Hybrid is no slouch and scampers from 0-100km/h in a claimed 5.9 seconds and uses only 3.4L/100km combined.
The plug-in Cayenne model will be positioned as the second-most affordable model in the updated range, at $139,200. That's more than $10,000 cheaper than the previous Hybrid model (which was a simpler petrol-electric series hybrid rather than the technologically-advanced plug-in version that allows the car to drive on electricity for an expected 30-plus kilometres), and puts it about $145,000 cheaper than the Panamera plug-in model which features a near-identical drivetrain.
Ellis said the Panamera is attracting some tech-savvy buyers but that he expects the Cayenne will appeal to a broader audience.
"First time Porsche people are coming to embrace the new tech in the Panamera," he said. "Cayenne will be significantly different because of the price point. It will be the car to get us cranking with plug-in hybrid technology because it will be more affordable to more people than the Panamera."
According to Ellis, strong demand for the new smaller Macan SUV (below) is also meaning that some buyers are looking to the larger Cayenne as an alternative, rather than be forced to wait up to 12 months for their car.
"Cayenne is also benefitting from Macan buyers coming in to look and then realising that they have to wait so long for a Macan that they step up to a Cayenne," he said.
Stay tuned for our review of the updated Porsche Cayenne range.