The unique Porsche form has commanded the attention of the thoroughbreds among us for over six decades, and finally Porsche’s ultimate luxury SUV delivers on a promise that was never truly fulfilled by its predecessor.
As your trusted adviser, I am duty bound to confirm that it is indeed your masculine good looks that have aided your effortless ascension up the corporate ladder. And yes, the sheer enormity of your intellect, your charm and suave demeanour, and ultimately your prowess in the bedroom, brand you as a man among men. Everyone can see it, and they all respect you for it.
The only question that yet remains unanswered, is why are you reading this review of the new Porsche Cayenne? Because, face it, your life has been filled with examples of all those right choices made at the right time. From always selecting the perfect tie, to secretly ordering those green sapphire earclips just in time for your wedding anniversary; and, of course, buying the new Cayenne.
So why read this? You read, not because of a deep-seated need to know more about the car – the true Porsche enthusiast already knows more about each one of the five models in the Cayenne line-up than there is space for on these pages. You read because, at some stage of your life, you have admired, respected or even craved the heady embrace of a 911 Turbo, and now you can enjoy the unmistakable spirit of the world’s most iconic sports car as a luxury SUV.
Lighter, more powerful, more fuel-efficient and more, well, more just about everything than any Cayenne that came before, this luxury sports utility vehicle is the enthusiast’s car for the family man.
Criticised for its globular shape and stunning lack of sportiness, the previous Cayenne was popular but also hefty, and that is never acceptable where a heritage as long as that of Dr. Ing. h.c. F. Porsche AG is concerned. For the retake, chief designer Michael Mauer and his team devised more subtle air intakes underneath the front bumper and a more sculpted hood that has cut-lines that remind one of the iconic 911. The rear hatch slopes more than before, giving a lighter appearance at the back, and while they were chiseling away, the Porsche designers put together an interior that is not dissimilar to the spectacular Panamera saloon.
To get its mass under control, the Cayenne now has a heavy dose of aluminium parts: bonnet, doors, and front fenders, as well as the suspension pieces. Although all of these measures have trimmed down the new Cayenne by more than 160kg, and are the main reason for the general improvement in mileage across the range, the direct-injection engines carried over from the existing line-up – updated to the latest generation and more powerful units also seen on Panamera – are smoother, more powerful and yet more frugal than before.
Second most powerful in the range, the naturally aspirated 4.8-litre V8 engine of the Cayenne S will produce 294kW, a gain of more than 10 kW, while the Turbo remains supreme at 368kW. At the opposite end of the spectrum, the 3.6-litre V6 introductory model will churn up a less sexy 220kW, yet surprises with its proven acceleration and go-getting attitude.
In order to bring Stuttgart firmly into the 21st century, Porsche introduces the Cayenne Hybrid that, rather successfully, marries a supercharged 3-litre Audi V6 engine with an electric motor to produce 279kW. Claimed to achieve 11.5 litres per 100km on the combined cycle, better than many a mid-size luxury sedan, the Hybrid is remarkably good and will satisfy every power craving you have. Utterly enchanting, the Cayenne Diesel appears in the middle of the range and is wildly popular. Hardly surprising, since it truly holds its own with 176kW and 550Nm of torque put to the road from 2 000 rpm.
During the first drive of the new Cayenne,
a lot of focus fell on the range-topping Turbo. As with all the other petrol engines in the line-up, power is transmitted via a completely new eight-speed automatic transmission that shifts quickly and very smoothly, despite the fact that first and second gears are short. The Turbo has a claimed 0-100km/h time of 4.6 seconds, while the Cayenne S needs 5.9 seconds to accelerate to that speed from standstill. If it’s
119 economy you’re strangely after, the seventh and eighth ratios are long in order to save fuel. Porsche selected a conventional torque-converter automatic due to fears that a dual-clutch gearbox would overheat from the Turbo’s truly monstrous 700Nm of torque and wouldn’t be as robust for rock crawling at very low speeds. Yes, Porsche persists with the notion that an SUV ought to be off-road capable, and as far as the new Cayenne is concerned, that idea is not completely out of the question.
Technical specifications aside, the Cayenne range is a stimulating driving experience that, in the words of Porsche SA CEO, Toby Venter, “is more Porsche than ever before.” Its luxury is outstanding, there is more space, more comfort and more versatility, and the car is longer, wider and aesthetically a triumph.