See the next Porsche Cayenne hybrid get put through its paces in South Africa

When the redesigned Porsche Cayenne was unveiled a few months ago, the hybrid model was conspicuously absent. Many luxury automakers offer hybrid or plug-in hybrid versions of their SUVs, but Porsche was actually one of the first to do that, launching the Cayenne S Hybrid as a 2011 model. The Cayenne hybrid will return, Porsche confirmed in a teaser video.

The video shows the next-generation Cayenne hybrid undergoing endurance testing in South Africa. Porsche says the country offers the perfect combination of inhospitable conditions, including dusty or roughly paved roads, dense traffic, and high-altitude mountain passes, for a proper test of durability. Porsche has also done cold-weather testing in Canada, and hot-weather testing in Dubai. It’s all to ensure the Cayenne will never conk out in the Starbuck’s drive-thru.

Porsche did not offer any technical details, but expect the Cayenne to use the same plug-in hybrid powertrains offered in the Panamera. That means the standard model will get the setup from the Panamera 4 E-Hybrid, including a 2.9-liter twin-turbocharged V6 and eight-speed dual-clutch transmission with integrated electric motor. Output should mirror the Panamera’s 463 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque. The Cayenne will likely have worse fuel economy because of its extra weight and less-aerodynamic body. Plug-in hybrid powertrain or not, don’t think of this SUV as a Prius alternative.

Expect a higher-performance Cayenne plug-in hybrid as well, using the powertrain from the Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid. That means it will have roughly the same hybrid system as the base model, but with a 4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V8 instead of the V6. That setup is good for 680 hp and 626 lb-ft of torque in the Panamera.

Since the Cayenne and Panamera account for a major chunk of Porsche’s global sales, the plug-in hybrid versions will allow the automaker to meet stricter emissions standards while continuing to offer traditional standalone gasoline powertrains in its sports cars (for now, at least). Porsche also plans to launch its all-electric Mission E sometime in the next two years. The four-door sedan is expected to have up to 670 hp, range of about 300 miles, and a high-voltage charging system that Porsche claims will shorten charging times.

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