Porsche’s 2015 Cayenne stays lean and green with new styling, plug-in hybrid model

Like it or not, the Porsche Cayenne has become a major success for a brand that is still associated primarily with sports cars.

For the 2015 model year, Porsche shows its continued commitment to SUVs with a refreshed Cayenne featuring updated styling and a new S E-Hybrid plug-in model.

The changes start with the exterior. The 2015 Cayenne looks similar to previous models, but the updates do give it a somewhat sportier look.

Porsche says the entire front clip is new, but the most distinguishing features are the new headlights with “hovering” four-point LED daytime running lights (full LED lights are optional) and “air blades” that help direct air into the intercoolers.

A similar LED treatment can be found at the back, along with exhaust outlets integrated into the rear fascia. On the inside, drivers are greeted by a new multifunction steering wheel modeled on the one in the 918 Spyder supercar.

Underneath the revised skin is a revised powertrain lineup, including an all-new plug-in hybrid Cayenne S E-Hybrid that replaces last year’s conventional Cayenne S Hybrid.

Porsche’s third plug-in (after the 918 and Panamera S E-Hybrid) beats competitors from BMW and Volvo to the market with a 3.0-liter supercharged V6, electric motor, and 10.8-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack. Total system output is 416 horsepower and 435 pound-feet of torque.

2015 Porsche Cayenne S E-Hybrid

That’s good enough for a 0 to 62 mph time of 5.4 seconds and a top speed of 151 mph, according to Porsche. Of course, it can also do that with the day’s Ikea haul in the back.

Also new is the 3.6-liter, twin-turbocharged V6 in the Cayenne S. This engine produces 420 hp and 406 lb-ft of torque, gains of 20 hp and 37 lb-ft over the 2014’s 4.8-liter V8. The S will do 0 to 62 mph in 5.2 seconds (5.1 with the optional Sport Chrono pack) and reach a top speed of 160 mph.

The rest of the lineup should look familiar to current Cayenne owners.

The Cayenne Diesel returns with the same 3.0-liter turbocharged V6, producing the same 240 hp and 406 lb-ft. Its 0 to 62 mph time of 7.2 seconds and top speed of 135 mph are unchanged as well.

At the top of the range is the Cayenne Turbo, a name that’s meaning less and less as Porsche adds more Turbo engines to its lineup.

Nonetheless, the Turbo’s 4.8-liter, twin-turbocharged V8 packs a serious punch. It produces 520 hp and 553 lb-ft of torque, will do 0 to 62 mph in 4.2 seconds (4.1 with the Sport Chrono pack) and top out at 173 mph.

The 2015 Porsche Cayenne arrives in U.S. dealers November 1. Prices start at $62,695 for the Cayenne Diesel, $75,095 for the Cayenne S, $77,395 for the S E-Hybrid, and $114,596. All prices include destination.

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