Porsche hybrid offers more mileage

To Zuffenhausen to drive a prototype of the Porsche Cayenne S Hybrid around Stuttgart. There’s no denying how clever it is. With its supercharged 3-litre V6 motor giving 333bhp and working with a 52bhp electric motor, it offers a total of 374bhp (both engines can’t develop peak power simultaneously), which means it can match the acceleration of the V8 Cayenne S. But while the normal Cayenne S can’t stretch a gallon to 20 miles, the Hybrid will take you to 30 or more. It’s congestion charge-free and its sub-225g/km emissions means you won’t be taxed out of existence.

Its only problem is that the hybrid apparatus is identical to that which VW will put in the Touareg. It is well known that the Touareg and Cayenne are sisters under the skin, but Porsche has always used its own engines and suspension tuning. Not this time: no effort has been made to sharpen the Hybrid’s performance to suit a Porsche application, and while the petrol V8 in the standard car is sharp and sonorous, the (Audi-sourced) V6, bluntly, isn’t.

I like the argument that it doesn’t matter what Porsche does with the Cayenne so long as it turns the profits required to fund cars like the 911. My fear is that making money out of this sort of car may be a thing of the past. The Hybrid goes on sale in 2010 and should cost under £50,000. I admired its engineering more than I liked driving it, but I’ve always said that of the Cayenne…