Skip to main content

Journey to the Origins of Intrigue in Porsche’s Cayenne S E-Hyrbrid

In fourth grade, I was a pint-sized scholar of California’s Santa Barbara Mission.

Like every public school student of the Golden State, I selected one of 21 Spanish sanctuaries to investigate and model. After months of research, and just before I presented my findings to a classroom full of nine-year-old nose-pickers, I visited the religious outpost. Though the Native American targets of 18th century Catholic evangelism were less affected, the colorful structure left a distinct impression on me.

The history of the Franciscan Order – fascinating as it may be – did not arouse my curiosity. Rather, the mission’s stunning composition sent my young mind buzzing. Arched colonnades, cream-colored stucco, ornate ironwork, and decorative tile were the first features of my aesthetic fancy.

Porsche Cayenne S E-Hybrid

Had I the mathematical genius to support my design intrigue, I would have pursued a career in architecture. Cruelly, I lack whichever genetic arrangement permits the brain to decipher geometry. Still, an admirer of both natural and artificial beauty I became – and remain today.

Nearly two decades since my artistic revelation, an unplanned road trip in Porsche’s Cayenne S E-Hybrid returns me to Saint Bárbara’s namesake.

California’s breathtaking coastline and unrelenting ocean breeze beckon me north from a scorching Orange County summer. A hundred miles pass unnoticed beneath the premium SUV’s tires while ventilated leather seats keep me cool and fresh.

I lift my eyes from the highway to note rows of Spanish colonial homes and wispy Palms peering down. After piecing together my coordinates, I take the next exit, hoping to find a savory spot for lunch. Here, in Downtown Santa Barbara’s “Funk Zone,” I discover Metropulos – a gourmet food shop and creator of divine sandwiches.

Metropulos Cayenne

Having replenished the Cayenne’s battery while cruising up the coast, I have plenty of stored charge to zip around town via electric power. In search of a picnic-sized plot of land, I weave through Santa Barbara’s tidy one-way streets, ascending the hillside towards a cloudless overlook.

Each weekend, the Mission Historical Park teems with the 30-and-under crowd – in part because it’s the only spot in town where open container laws do not apply. The other reason for the expansive lawn’s popularity should be obvious; facing due southeast – just beyond a cluster of red-roofed homes – is a jaw-dropping ocean panoramic.

Much to my relief, the park is decidedly calmer midweek. Settling onto the browning grass, I unwrap my sandwich and soak in the warming rays. One-hundred meters to my posterior sits the topic of my fourth-grade fascination. Faded pink columns, shaded bell towers, and baroque domes attract a small number of visitors each day.

Elegantly simple, I’m reminded of why the aging church left such an impression. Intricacy would only distract from the natural beauty of the mission’s surroundings. Perhaps even Frank Lloyd Wright was inspired by the structure’s charming restraint. Looking elsewhere for inspiration, I notice the Cayenne’s unfettered exterior, its fluid curves and jeweled headlights glimmering in the waning light.

Porsche Cayenne S E-Hybrid

Fearing an overdose of visual stimuli, I ready for the journey home. Just before joining the highway, however, I make an abrupt detour towards the coast. The rapidly descending sun casts long shadows from towering palm trees. Pausing to admire the cerulean waters and fog-obscured cliffs, I consider, for the first time in my life, where I’d like to retire.

Santa Barbara’s unequal portion of beauty is no mystery to its visitors and residents, but it’s much more than a dazzling destination to me – it’s the provenance of my creativity.

Editors' Recommendations

Miles Branman
Miles Branman developed a passion for cars early on thanks to a neighbor’s collection of rare and exotic vehicles. What…
What the EPA’s new proposed rules about electric vehicles mean for car buyers
If you plan to purchase a vehicle, read this first
EPA plague in the U.S.

President Biden has witnessed enormous growth in electric vehicle (EV) sales since taking office, with sales tripling and the total amount of available models doubling. For example, over 130,000 public charging stations for electric cars have been deployed across the United States, indicating a 40% increase over prior years.

In addition, since Biden signed the Inflation Reduction Act into law, the private sector has spent over $120 billion in domestic electric vehicle and battery production. Now the EPA has introduced new rules and regulations surrounding EVs to further accelerate America's movements toward more environmentally friendly automobiles. 

Read more
Polestar 3 and Volvo EX90 production is taking longer than anticipated
Production delays hit Polestar 3 and Volvo EX90: What’s behind the extended production time?
Polestar 3 and Polestar 4 on stage during unveiling ceremony

Last month, Volvo unveiled the new 2025 Polestar 4. It’s an electric SUV that will compete against the Tesla Model X — but it will be cheaper with a price tag of around $60,000. The 2024 Polestar 3 and Volvo EX90 were also unveiled late last year as part of the Swedish carmaker’s plan to bring an all-electric vehicle lineup to the U.S.  

Both the Polestar 3 and Volvo EX90 were scheduled for production in mid-2023 with delivery slated for later this year. However, the production plans have changed and Polestar says we have to wait until early 2024 for the new Polestar and Volvo cars. What's the reason for the pushback? It has something to do with software issues. 
Polestar needs more time to develop and test the software
According to the Swedish automaker, it needs "additional time for final software development" before manufacturing the Polestar 3. Since the Volvo EX90 shares the same platform as the Polestar 3, it will also be affected. However, the automaker clarified that the upcoming Polestar 4 won't be affected and it will be delivered on the initial schedule.

Read more
Mercedes Benz’s new AMG SL 43 is a gorgeous RWD, F1-inspired beast
If you need to go fast and look good doing it, we've got the car for you
Front view of AMG SL 43

Two years ago, Mercedes-AMG unveiled the SL Roadster, also known as the R232. Mercedes-AMG reimagined it by adding a new fabric roof, modern tech modification, and a standard two-plus-two seating layout. Two variants of the R232 were immediately available for sale in the U.S. — the AMG SL 63 and AMG SL 55.

There was just one thing missing — the entry-level SL Roadster dubbed the AMG SL 43, was not made available in the U.S. despite it being sold in Europe. Luckily, Mercedes-AMG just announced that the AMG SL 43 will be available to order in the U.S. starting this summer.

Read more