While I stand firm in my belief that the twin-turbocharged S is the sweet spot of the Porsche Cayenne lineup, I'm also not one to pooh-pooh excess for excess' sake. After all, it's hard not to get excited about a V8-packing SUV that harnesses the power of electricity to deliver a whopping 670 horsepower. And hey, wouldn't you know, there's now a 'coupe' version of that monster, too.
Yes, sitting at the tippy top of the 2020 Porsche Cayenne range is the new $164,400 Turbo S E-Hybrid Coupe. It's the most expensive Cayenne and the ultimate expression of the SUV's performance potential: 670 hp, 663 pound-feet of torque, 0 to 60 mph in 3.6 seconds and a 183-mph top speed. This is a scorcher of a sporty-crossover-coupe-thing, with or without my tester's searing Lava Orange paint.
That performance pretension is even more true with this specific Cayenne Coupe, which has the optional Lightweight Sport Package, yours for the not-insignificant sum of $11,570. (It's $12,750 if you want the exterior details in black; carbon fiber costs $15,050.) This adds a louder exhaust, an Alcantara-wrapped steering wheel, carbon-fiber interior trim, a carbon-fiber roof and a few minor styling tweaks. Larger 22-inch wheels are part of this pack, too, though something must've happened to those between when this German-spec test car leaving its homeland and when it arrived in my driveway, because the wheels you see here are 21s. I'm not complaining, though -- the smaller-diameter wheels don't really account for any loss of handling ability, and they look just as good.
This package doesn't turn the Turbo S E-Hybrid Coupe into a lightweight, however. Yeah, it shaves 48 pounds off the total curb weight, but this chonky coupeover still tips the scales at 5,625 pounds. Thankfully, the Cayenne's fantastic chassis and steering do a lot to mask the sheer heft of this SUV. All versions of the Cayenne are beautifully tuned right out of the gate, and the Turbo S E-Hybrid's standard air suspension, adaptive dampers and torque-vectoring all-wheel drive do a lot to maintain balance and composure while giving this crossover surprising on-road precision.
The steering is light enough in Normal mode to help you breeze through parking lots, but click the drive mode selector over to Sport or Sport Plus and you'll be rewarded with the kind of weight and feedback you'd expect in a sports car like Porsche's own 911. The $1,620 rear-axle steering option is also a must, as it ever so slightly helps the back end scooch its way through corners. Turbo S E-Hybrid models come standard with Porsche's carbon ceramic composite brakes, and they're endlessly powerful, with huge, 17.3-inch rotors up front clamped by Acid Green calipers (which are a little much against this car's orange exterior).
All Cayennes offer sharp reflexes, but what sets the Turbo S E-Hybrid apart is its bazooka of an engine. Take the Cayenne Turbo's 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8, add the 14.1-kilowatt-hour battery and 134-hp electric motor from Porsche's other E-Hybrid models, and you get the aforementioned 670 hp and 663 lb-ft. You will never, ever want for power, whether you're coming out of a corner on a mountain road or just trying to shoot the gaps between slower traffic on the highway. I have to say, there's something oddly satisfying about silently cruising around under electric operation, nailing the throttle and waking up that bassy V8 as you blast off. I love that sort of good/evil juxtaposition.
And yes, you can drive around powered solely by electricity, just not for very long. The EPA hasn't officially rated the Turbo S E-Hybrid as of this writing, but the standard E-Hybrid has a 14-mile electric range. Put the Cayenne in its Sport Plus mode and the powertrain can send extra energy back to the battery, making it easy to recharge on the go. You don't have to rev the Cayenne to high heaven in order to achieve this, either -- I'm told the maximum charging takes place between 2,000 and 3,000 rpm. If you do want to juice up the old-fashioned way, it'll take about 2.4 hours to replenish the battery via the standard 7.2-kW onboard charger.
The Cayenne's Hybrid Auto mode is where you get the best blend of gasoline-electric driving, the engine shutting off when it isn't needed. Sport and Sport Plus keep the V8 awake all the time, and use the electrons for supplemental thrust. The Turbo S E-Hybrid comes standard with Porsche's Sport Chrono package, too, which includes the all-systems-go push-to-pass button in the middle of the drive setting dial. Use it once, and you'll use it all the time.
Aside from the superlative powertrain, the Turbo S E-Hybrid isn't all that different from other Cayenne Coupes. The badges have Acid Green outlines and there are lots of wheel design options. The active rear spoiler is just as huge and horrible, and the battery's charging port is in the same location as the fuel door, just on the driver's side.
Functionally speaking, the Turbo S E-Hybrid has the same 22 cubic feet of space in the trunk (53.3 when you fold the seats) as the standard Coupe, as well as the same two- or three-across rear seating options and the same beautifully appointed interior. Honestly, the best thing about this car is the houndstooth cloth seat inserts, which are only available with the Lightweight Sport Package, and do a whole lot to jazz up the Cayenne's cabin, especially compared to the dull-as-a-DMV-wait-line gray interior of the S Coupe I recently tested.
Tech goodies carry over unchanged, too, meaning the fantastic Porsche Communication Management infotainment suite is housed on a 12.3-inch touchscreen, and both Wi-Fi and Apple CarPlay are standard. The Porsche Connect app will let you manage charging schedules and check your battery's status, and you can precondition the interior, as well.
Lots of driver-assistance niceties are available, though I continue to roll my eyes at how many things aren't standard on a car that starts at $164,400. This particular tester is nicely equipped with things like a head-up display ($1,270), surround-view camera ($1,200) and lane-change assist ($950), but it doesn't have adaptive cruise control or traffic sign recognition, both of which require you to spend even more money. Hell, even keyless entry is $940.
All decked out, you can spend well over $200,000 on a Cayenne Turbo S E-Hybrid Coupe; my tester rings up at $192,590, including $1,350 for destination. That makes it twice the price of the Turbo S-less Cayenne E-Hybrid Coupe which, quite frankly, is totally absurd. Then again, everything about the Turbo S E-Hybrid Coupe is absurd -- wonderfully, fantastically absurd. Why should its price tag be any different?