2011 Porsche Cayenne S Hybrid
Hybrids and electric vehicles are, without question, part of the future of these four-wheeled conveyances we love so much. So far, aside from the occasional exception, that's been a very unexciting development. But Porsche is now planning a hybrid in every model line. Will it go well, or does it spell the death of the legend of Porsche?
Porsche's Wolfgang Duerheimer, chief of development, has made a rather non-commital statement that "in the future" every model in Porsche's lineup would have a hybrid option. When? Not all that soon, we expect.
Hybrids like the 911 GT3 RS Hybrid are the sort we can get enthusiastic about. Power-adding, efficiency-enhancing, 40,000 rpm techno-cool wunder cars. Hybrids like the Toyota Prius and its ilk are more of the money-adding, mildly efficiency-enhancing, smug-inducing snoozer cars sort. Porsche's image as a sports car maker (and more recently, near-full-line carmaker) tends toward the former. Porsche's 918 Spyder goes one further and puts the combustion-only world on notice.
But that's not the only thing that gives us hope for Porsche's hybrid plans. As much as you may detest the addition of a Volkswagen-based SUV or an apple-bottomed sedan to the Porsche mix, they're still performance leaders in their classes.
Beyond all of that, there's no denying the physics of electric propulsion is a very good thing for performance driving. Instant-on torque, infinitely and precisely variable power-delivery, highly flexible placement within the chassis--all of these things can serve to make electric or hybrid sports cars even better than their gas-only counterparts. But the level of complexity, expense, and weight must all be managed with expertise bordering on artistry for the end result to be a net gain.
Already coming in the near future are the Cayenne and Panamera hybrids. The 2011 Cayenne S Hybrid certainly follows an encouraging formula, pairing a 333-horsepower supercharged V-6 with a 47-horsepower electric motor to boost both performance and efficiency. Porsche is even already at work on an all-electric Panamera.
Will Porsche's hybrid push mean better cars, not just greener cars? It's certainly a possibility, but we'd like to hear your thoughts on the subject in the comments below.
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