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2011 Porsche Cayenne S Hybrid (photos)

The hybrid version of Porsche's Cayenne SUV gets ample power from its supercharged engine and electric motor, and also gets the best city fuel economy of the Cayenne lineup. But Porsche doesn't make a serious effort with its cabin electronics.

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Wayne Cunningham
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Porsche's first hybrid is built on its Cayenne SUV platform, which shares a power-train with the Volkswagen Touareg Hybrid.

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The Cayenne S Hybrid uses the same body styling as other Cayennes, with the addition of a badge that reads "hybrid" in Porsche script on the fenders.

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The power train combines a supercharged 3-liter V-6 with an electric motor, nickel metal hydride battery pack, and eight-speed transmission. Fuel economy is rated at 20 mpg city and 24 mpg highway.

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The Cayenne S Hybrid is a five-passenger SUV. Cabin room is ample, and the car affords a high seating position.

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The Cayenne S Hybrid uses an air suspension, which can lower the car for sport driving or raise it up for off-roading.

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The cargo space offers a good amount of room, but it is somewhat compromised by the rear slope of the hatchback.

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Porsche makes a luxury play with the cabin appointments, using such features as a leather-wrapped dashboard.

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The steering is heavily boosted, making for light wheel turn and eliminating road feel.

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Paddles on the steering wheel are these molded metal pieces, which fit neatly over the spokes.

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Porsche uses five gauges, with the tachometer front and center, sports car style. The gauge to the immediate right of center is actually an LCD.

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The LCD in the instrument cluster shows a variety of information, such as navigation.

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With the optional Porsche Communications Management, an LCD head unit is fitted into the dashboard. It brings in navigation, audio functions, and a Bluetooth phone system.

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The Cayenne S Hybrid's eight-speed transmission has a manual mode, but not a specific Sport mode.

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Controls for changing the ride height and engaging sport mode for the power train are mounted behind the shifter.

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The LCD shows a power flow animation for the drive train, typical on hybrids.

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The navigation system's maps look very good, with topographic details and buildings rendered in 3D.

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The touch screen allows destination entry, but Porsche should offer a cabin tech interface on the level with that of Audi and BMW.

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The Bluetooth phone system offers typical functions, such as contact list download.

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The Cayenne S Hybrid comes with a minimal set of audio sources.

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The audio interface offers the capability to assign a unique name to a CD, which the system will remember whenever that same CD is played.

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The iPod interface lets drivers browse by album and artist.

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The Cayenne S Hybrid shows a heat map for parking distance, and a rear view camera is available as an option.

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