Porsche Cayenne Hybrid  (Source: AutoBild)
Porsche's SUV will get a hybrid powertrain to improve fuel economy, reduce emissions

When most people think about the high-performance Porsche Cayenne SUV, fuel economy isn't exactly the first thing to come to mind. The Cayenne S with its 4.8 liter normally-aspirated 385HP V8 engine achieves city/highway numbers of 13MPG/19MPG according to 2008 EPA estimates. Stepping up to the 500HP Cayenne Turbo drops fuel economy to 12MPG/19MPG.

Cayenne buyers who wimp out and go for the 290HP 3.6 liter V6 are greeted with EPA numbers of 14MPG/20MPG. Regardless of which engine you choose, the Cayenne does not impress when it comes to fuel economy -- and it was never really intended to do so until now.

The European Commission is clamping down on CO2 emissions and fuel economy requirements for new vehicles and companies like Porsche will be obliged to comply.

One way that Porsche is looking to avoid potential fines for producing vehicles that fail to comply with standard is by developing a hybrid-electric system for its gas-guzzling Cayenne. The hybrid system will debut next year in the Cayenne's platform-mate, the VW Touareg, and the following year will appear in the Cayenne. A 50HP electric motor will be used in conjunction with the existing 280HP 3.6 liter V6 on both vehicles.

According to Reuters, the Cayenne hybrid will consume 8.9 liter of gasoline for every 100 kilometers as opposed to 12.9 liters on the European cycle.

The hybrid system will also help to reduce C02 emissions. The Cayenne currently spews 320 to 378 grams of CO2 per kilometer. That number will have to be reduced to 130 grams per kilometer by 2012 according to new rules set to go into effect courtesy of the European Commission.

Reuters also notes that the upcoming Porsche Panamera four-door sedan will also receive a hybrid powertrain option. The 911, Boxster and Cayman, however, will survive the hybrid craze unfazed.

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