Make no mistake, the horsepower wars are alive and well, but while exotic brands like Ferrari, Lamborghini and McLaren are trading blows north of the $250,000 price mark, there’s a fascinating competition going on in the world of much more affordable SUVs and Porsche just set a new standard.
The status quo since hybrid SUVs first appeared in any manufacture’s lineup has been to pair battery technology to a mid-range engine, then sell it to the consumer on efficiency and as middle-of-the-range model. It’s a tactic which always seemed like the mass-production manufacturers weren’t too happy to make hybrids due to high costs and only did so to lower average emissions numbers, while allowing the gas-guzzlers to go on netting millions in sales. However, that stigma was obliterated this week when Porsche announced the all-new range-topping Cayenne Turbo S E-Hybrid in both standard SUV and Coupe trims.
Sporting a 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 paired to an electric motor good for a combined output of 670 horsepower and 663 lb-ft of torque, the Turbo S E-Hybrid siblings are now the most powerful Porsche Cayennes ever built. The new Porsche SUV also comes with an MSRP starting at $163,250 and jumping to $165,750 for the coupe.
At that price, you get all the sport-focused accouterment Porsche is known to pepper throughout its upper echelon Turbo S models. The Sport Chrono Package comes standard, as does the active rear roof spoiler, Dynamic Chassis Control, 18-way adaptive sport seats, and 21-inch AeroDesign wheels. And, this being a Porsche hybrid, the brake calipers get the acid green paint job calling card as well.
Porsche’s most recent power move on the SUV market, as impressive as the spec sheet is, it’s not unfathomable. Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz have been locked in a years-long back in forth, one-upping each other, adding S, M, and AMG badges to their SUVs along with healthy helpings of power, torque and track tuned-suspension systems. Seeing as how Porsche sits a step above the other three in the market and professes to be purely a performance brand, watching Stuttgart’s new family haulers jump 100 horsepower clear of the next most potent rival made sense.
This isn’t just the beginning of a German trend either. Earlier this week Lincoln released the official spec sheet of the new Aviator plug-in hybrid and while the American SUV isn’t cranking out the same numbers as the Porsche, its 494 horsepower and 630 lb-ft of torque are on par with the more pedestrian German brands.
Is the luxury SUV segment the new front in the horsepower war? Quite possibly. With super cars now regularly flirting with 1,000 hp and seven-figure price tags, there are only a few other places manufacturers can go in their lineups with those sorts of performance numbers where the average consumer will care about it or even think it’s relevant. The SUV market seems like an arena primed for the battle.
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