Will the hottest Porsche Cayenne get even hotter?

The internet has been buzzing with rumours about a racy Porsche Panamera “Lion” that packs between 760 and 800+ horsepower taking the Nurburgring by storm. It has been reported that the test prototype packed a boosted version of the S-E Hybrid powertrain found in the regular Panamera, while some said it relied on an ICE-only powertrain. All this chatter was immediately followed by rumors about a hotter Porsche Cayenne Turbo S-E Hybrid said to wear the “RS” badge; in fact, some outlets out there are forwarding the “GT” lettering instead, but that’s not the most relevant aspect for the moment.

What got us really interested has to do with the set of pictures sent in by our spy photographers. The photos show a camouflage-free Porsche Cayenne Coupe test prototype of sorts that wears a flashy body colour and contrasting brake calipers. What made us interest pique even more is the rear bumper/exhaust setup configuration, which sports a dual-pipe arrangement in the center unseen so far on a road-going Cayenne. Oh, and those rectangular side-positioned exhausts? They’re fake.

Exterior

  • Center-mounted twin exhaust setup with round pipes
  • 22-inch GT Design wheels
  • Extendable rear spoiler
  • Fake rectangular mufflers
  • “Turbo S” and “e-hybrid” badging
2021 Porsche Cayenne Turbo S E-Hybrid "RS" Coupe
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We don’t have to tell you twice that this Cayenne prototype is like no other, because the spyshots speak for themselves. So let’s start by looking at the mysterious yet intriguing exhaust setup.

Obviously, the two round pipes aren’t usually there and we know for a fact that the Cayenne S-E Hybrid sports two pairs of round exhausts that come out on the edges of the rear bumper.

Even more, why is Porsche so poised on concealing it by shifting our attention to the rectangular duds? Is the carmaker working on something big that’s not supposed to go public just yet? That could very well be the case.

2021 Porsche Cayenne Turbo S E-Hybrid "RS" Coupe
- image 870928

The two round pipes are connected by a mesh and as you’ll see in the photos of the Cayenne’s Coupe undercarriage, they lead towards the front where they connect to the engine. On top of that, this particular car is badged “Turbo S” on the rear hatch, with “e-hybrid” monikers slapped onto the front quarter panels, right in front of the doors and above the wheel arches.

2021 Porsche Cayenne Turbo S E-Hybrid "RS" Coupe
- image 870931

Otherwise, there are no other changes brought to the prototype’s outer shell as long as we can tell: the bumpers look stock and the extendable rear spoiler that’s part of the PAA (Porsche Active Aerodynamics) pack is also present, together with what looks like the contoured carbon roof that’s optional for the Cayenne Coupe and the 22-inch GT Design wheels made of forged aluminum. What does that mean? We believe Porsche’s interested in keeping the prototype’s weight as low as possible, and in turn, this hints at even sportier ambitions for a potential road-going car. Taken together, the said components shave 70+ pounds off the Cayenne Coupe’s hips.

Interior

  • RS/GT badging
  • Same cabin topography and design
  • Head-up display
  • Adjustable front sport seats
  • Porsche Advanced Cockpit
  • Sport Chrono Package available on demand
  • Carbon fiber and Alcantara trim
2020 Porsche Cayenne Coupe Interior
- image 831947

There are no pictures that might show us what changed inside, but we’re willing to bet that the car’s cabin will remain largely intact, albeit for some “RS” or “GT” badges and perhaps extra carbon fiber bits and bobs to spice up the atmosphere.

Unlike the Urus ST-X, this potential hotter Cayenne Turbo S-E Hybrid won’t be a track-bred car, so there’s no need for spartan tweaks inside the cabin.

Plus, even though it’s said to pack north of 800 horsepower, those driving it wouldn’t want to ditch the levels of comfort and plushness offered by regular Cayenne models.

In this regard, we expect Porsche to keep the head-up display, together with the 18-way electrically adjustable sport front seats and the rear bench setup that can either offer two individual captain’s seats or a three-seater arrangement. On the tech front, it’s very likely that the hotter Cayenne will retain the Porsche Advanced Cockpit inspired by the 918 Spyder and a Sport Chrono Package is definitely still on the cards, just like the carbon fiber and Alcantara trim options.

Drivetrain

  • Could pack 800+ horsepower
  • Hybrid setup mixing a V-8 and an e-motor
  • 14.1-kWh or higher capacity battery pack
  • 8-speed Tiptronic S auto transmission
  • PTM all-wheel drive
  • Larger brake discs
  • Tweaked suspension
2021 Porsche Cayenne Turbo S E-Hybrid "RS" Coupe
- image 870933

Along with the prototype’s intricate rear design and exhaust architecture, what lies under the hood is a huge question mark for the time being. Reports are saying that

the souped-up Cayenne Turbo S-E Hybrid might pack well over 800 horsepower,

and don’t get us wrong, we’re not saying Porsche can’t deliver on that, but does the world really need another muscle SUV with that sort of power, albeit of a hybrid ilk? Our answer is no, we don’t really need that, but Porsche might know something we don’t, and that’s the exact level of existing customer interest in such a car. After all, money talks and if there’s a demand for a juiced-up Cayenne, then Porsche would be foolish to say no to the extra income.

We've heard that the “standard” Cayenne Turbo S-E Hybrid Coupe combines a twin-turbo 4.0-liter V-8 good for 541 horsepower with an e-motor that delivers 134 horsepower.

The electric motor is powered by a 14.1-kWh, liquid-cooled Li-ion battery pack. Draw a line and the total output rises to 670 horsepower and 663 pound-feet of torque sent to all fours through an eight-speed Tiptronic S automatic gearbox and PTM (Porsche Traction Management) all-wheel drive. In this formula, the Cayenne Turbo S-E Hybrid Coupe dispatches the 0-60 miles per hour interval in 3.6 seconds and reaches a terminal velocity of 183 miles per hour.

2021 Porsche Cayenne Turbo S E-Hybrid "RS" Coupe
- image 870935
If Porsche does see fit to bless the hotter S-E Hybrid with 800+ horsepower, then the drivetrain will have to feature further tweaks to comply with the newfound grunt.

In the regular car, the powertrain is supported by a plethora of fancy systems, whether it’s the PDCC (Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control), PTV+ (Porsche Torque Vectoring+), PASM (Porsche Active Suspension Management), or the rear-axle steering. Those systems - or some of them, at least - will have to go through a revamp of sorts, as it’s also the case for the PCCB (Porsche Ceramic Composite Brake) setup; in other words, expect perhaps larger brake discs and beefier calipers with extra biting force to balance out the horsepower gain.

Prices

2021 Porsche Cayenne Turbo S E-Hybrid "RS" Coupe
- image 870936

It’s tough to pinpoint an exact figure for the time being, especially since all we would be basing our guess is reduced to mere rumors and reports. Despite those shortcomings, a hotter Porsche Cayenne Turbo S-E Hybrid wearing either the “RS” or the “GT” badge is likely to cost a lot more than the regular S-E Hybrid, which by the way, it’s the opposite of cheap.

In the U.S., the Cayenne Turbo S-E Hybrid Coupe sells for at least $164,400. To put things into perspective, the Cayenne Turbo Coupe starts at $130,000, while the S Coupe variant kicks off at $88,600. Can you spot the pattern? These models are visibly differentiated by hefty amounts of money, which makes us believe that an even hotter Porsche Cayenne Turbo S-E Hybrid (if it ever breaks out of Weissach) would wear a price tag in the region of $190,000, even $200,000, placing it in a ballpark the Cayenne never ever dreamed of reaching.

Competition

Lamborghini Urus

2019 Lamborghini Urus Exterior
- image 749822
Twin-turbo 4.0-liter V-8; 650HP; 627 LB-FT
It mates to a ZF eight-speed automatic that uses an electric torque converter - a first for Lamborghini

Although Lambo’s super-SUV doesn’t use a hybrid powertrain and its 650 horsepower won’t be a match for the alleged 800+ figure attributed to the hotter Cayenne Coupe, the Urus is an adversary that must be treated with respect. Powered by a 4.0-liter twin-turbo V-8, the Urus complements its high-horsepower output with 629 pound-feet of torque. Similar to the Cayenne, it employs four-wheel steering as well as an smart all-whee-drive setup with active torque vectoring, and carbon ceramic brakes. That’s something you need like air in an SUV that can blast from 0 to 60 miles per hour in 3.4 seconds and reach a top speed of 190 miles per hour.

Read our full review on the 2019 Lamborghini Urus

Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk

The Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk Is Big And Dumb And Pointless And I Really Want To Drive It High Resolution Exterior
- image 713067

If Porsche does build a more powerful Cayenne Turbo S-E Hybrid, then it must face the Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk. Despite the fact that the Jeep is hardly a luxury brand in the term’s true sense, it’s hard to ignore the Trackhawk’s raw power. The Hellcat-sourced 6.2-liter supercharged V-8 makes, after all, 707 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 645 pound-feet of torque at 4,800 rpm, enough to propel the SUV from 0 to 60 miles per hour in 3.5 seconds, with the quarter mile being cleared in 11.6 seconds. Besides the sheer amount of grunt, the Grand Cherokee Trackhawk harnesses its resources thanks to a TorqueFlite 8HP95 eight-speed automatic transmission and a set of front-and-rear Brembo brakes with six-piston and four-piston calipers, respectively.

Read our full review on the 2019 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk

BMW X6 M Competition

2020 BMW X6
- image 847772

We know, the X6 M is less powerful than both the Urus and the Trackhawk, but it still uses a capable V-8 borrowed from the BMW M5 performance sedan. In regular guise, the X6 M packs 591 horsepower and 554 pound-feet of torque, but BMW will also sell you the X6 M Competition, which gets 617 horsepower and 554 pound-feet of torque coming from the same powerplant. In real life, these figures translate into a 0 to 60 miles per hour sprint that takes 4 seconds and an electronically-limited top speed of 155 miles per hour. The X6 M sends power to the wheels through an eight-speed M Steptronic gearbox and the rear-biased M-tuned xDrive all-wheel-drive setup. Of course, one could argue that a more natural adversary for the X6 M would be the Cayenne Turbo S, but since Munich doesn’t offer a souped-up performance SUV that uses hybridization, we picked the brand’s top performer SUV at the time of writing.

Read our full review on the 2020 BMW X6 M Competition

Conclusion

2021 Porsche Cayenne Turbo S E-Hybrid "RS" Coupe
- image 870931

We’d advise not to get ahead of ourselves here. When the Panamera “Lion” scoop came out, Motor1 was told by a Porsche representative that the German carmaker was “interested in seeing what a Panamera could do at the Nordschleife with a tweaked version, where the volume is turned up to 11 if you will.” Is it that Porsche tried the same tactic with the Cayenne Turbo S-E Hybrid Coupe? And even further, did the automaker went to such lengths to boost the already potent drivetrain to 800+ horses, as some reports claim? Well, we’re definitely not ruling out that possibility.

As for the introduction of an “RS” or “GT” badge on the hybridized Cayenne, it’s worth noting that such special editions rely a lot on customer feedback and intent to purchase. Porsche could have ran a couple of focus groups or sent some questionnaires that gauged the potential customer’s interest in a Cayenne that’s “turned up to 11” with some positive responses. That’s just as plausible as the first avenue, yet with the lack of palpable info on the topic, the best play is to wait until extra details emerge through official channels of communication.

  • Leave it
    • Do we really need another 800+ horsepower SUV?
    • Details are too scarce to illustrate a clear future for this car
    • Would wear an enormous price tag
Tudor Rus
Assistant Content Manager - Automotive Expert - tudor@topspeed.com
Tudor’s first encounter with cars took place when he was only a child. Back then, his father brought home a Trabant 601 Kombi and a few years later, a Wartburg 353. At that time, he was too young to know how they worked and way too young to drive them, but he could see one thing – each of them had a different ethos and their own unique personality. As time went on, he started seeing that in other cars as well, and his love for the automobile was born.  Read More
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