Porsche's new rapid SUV promises sharper dynamics and better efficiency

Our Verdict

Porsche Cayenne Turbo
Porsche Cayenne Turbo costs from £92,628

It's not quite the last word in fast Cayennes, but with yet more power and torque from the twin-turbo V8, the Turbo is anything but moderate

What is it?

This is the all-new Porsche Cayenne. The Cayenne was the car that broke the mould for Porsche; its continued success has proved that there is a bright future beyond sports cars for the German car maker. Trouble is, the original Cayenne lacked the styling finesse and overall quality to see it win universal appeal.

Subtle changes to the styling, including a lower bonnet, added contouring along the body sides and a more heavily raked rear screen, make it much look less imposing and, dare I say, more sporting.

The positive impressions continue inside. The Panamera-influenced cabin is a world beyond the drab cabin of the old Cayenne, providing added class and higher levels of finish. New, heavily contoured seats also provide additional support and greater comfort up front, although vision, particularly to the rear three-quarter, is quite restricted.

With a 40mm stretch in the wheelbase over its predecessor, the new Cayenne is roomier and more versatile than before. A sliding rear seat allows you to alter rear leg room, and the rear seat backs now fold down in one easy action, either manually or via an optional electric system, to allow you extend the nominal 670 litres of boot space.

When it goes on sale here, Porsche’s new SUV will be available with five different engines: a 300bhp 3.6-litre V6 petrol, a 240bhp 3.0-litre V6 diesel, a 400bhp 4.8-litre V8 petrol, and the combination of a supercharged 3.0-litre V6 petrol and electric drive with a total of 380bhp in the new Cayenne Hybrid.

The highlight, though, remains the Cayenne Turbo. Its twin-turbo 4.8-litre V8 is carried over virtually unchanged from the final version of the outgoing model. With 500bhp and a sturdy 516lb ft of torque, it’s got more reserves than many celebrated supercars – and more pace than the old Cayenne Turbo, according to Porsche’s claims.

Part of the performance gain can be attributed to a new Tiptronic S eight-speed automatic gearbox that comes with the option of remote shift paddles rather than the wheel-mounted rocker switches of the old Cayenne. It provides faster, smoother shifts than the old six-speed auto, while also contributing to a 5.7mpg gain in fuel economy and an 88g/km reduction in CO2 emissions.

At 2170kg, the new Cayenne Turbo tips the scales a good 185kg less than its predecessor. And its power-to-weight ratio has increased by almost 20bhp per tonne in the top-of-the-line Turbo. This gain, the new gearbox and reworked gearing help to lower the 0-62mph time to 4.7sec, and add 2mph to the top speed, at 172mph.

What’s it like?

The really great thing about the Cayenne is its ability to be sports car or luxury cruiser. The standard air suspension that the Turbo comes fitted with is an improvement on the steel springs fitted to the rest of the range, both in terms of body control and isolating occupants from the road surface.

At low speeds it can be slightly lumpy, but at higher speeds on uneven rural roads or on typical motorway surfaces the Turbo is relaxing transport. Excellent cabin refinement and a comfortable interior also goes a long way to making the Cayenne a soothing long distance companion.

And yet, select ‘Sport’ on the torque converter 8-speed auto gearbox and air suspension (both don’t have to be selected together) and there are few four-door cars - saloon, hatch or SUV - that offer the handling precision of the Cayenne Turbo.

This isn’t to say that you aren’t always aware of the car’s significant weight shifting around, but the suspension very effectively restrains body movement and so it takes little effort to balance the Cayenne through high-speed corners despite its height and dimensions.

The hydraulically assisted steering is also a complete revelation compared to the light, slightly detached sensation the previous Cayenne offered. There is immediate response even around the dead-ahead, and the heavy weighting gives an immediacy that allows the driver to make the most of the prodigious grip levels.

More than anything, it is the new all-wheel drive system, which sends 100 per cent of the power to the rear wheels unless the car senses any need for grip at the front end, that really transforms the Cayenne Turbo into a rewarding sports car. It’s a completely different experience to the previous Cayenne, and whatever your opinion on high-powered SUVs, it’s an exceptional way to travel.

Should I buy one?

The new version is a big improvement, then. But at a hefty £81,589, the new Cayenne Turbo comes in at £3692 above the old model and is £1914 more than the BMW X6 M. It’s good – but I can’t help but think the Cayenne S would be a smarter buy.

At £53,693, the S won’t deliver the same sort of straight-line performance, but you will get most of the dynamic benefits as well as all the other improvements in refinement, quality and class that Porsche has brought to its new SUV.

Join the debate

Comments
20

14 April 2010

I would never buy one of these, even if I could afford to, RR all the way.

However... Compared to the last model it doesn't actually look that bad. The previous version made me want to vomit, but this is indifferent, and the interior is actually quite nice looking. More impressive is the CO2 output for the Turbo. 10 years ago a petrol V6 would emit over 300g/km, so for a 2 tonne, 500bhp SUV to emit 280g/km is impressive. I'm actually surprised they didn't add stop start and a few other bits of tech to get it down even further, without detriment to the performance. I don't get why car makers think that if people buy the sprtiest version they don't want stop start? Everyone wants to pay less tax and less fuel, pluss you can always switch the off but claim the benefit when it comes to VED time!

14 April 2010

This is a very popular car here in Bahrain and from the Numbers I have seen driven on Saudi plates popular there too. Ideal market here see people with loadsa money fuel ridiculously cheap and no one panicking about the environment. I think Porshe will have some very healthy exports outside of Europe with it .

Would not mind being the man selling a boatload of em here . Porshe seem to have built a much better car in my view and I whisper this ....it looks better all around than the Panamera.

14 April 2010

silly article!

next time, you can handle the Porsche PR invitation to me, I can drive it and write down some inaccurate comments too.

there's no Porsche Doppel Kupplung in these SUV, ... just the same Automatic AISIN gearbox, now with 8 ratios and not paired with central locking dif...

come on guys, what did you fill-up in the tank? Diesel fuel??

14 April 2010

I cannot help but think I'd rather have an RS6 Avant, especially as I spend all my time on tarmac...

14 April 2010

I was just about to ask this question. I assumed it was the new 8-speed ZF torque converter autobox and not a PDK gearbox. Nice quality journalism yet again.

It all sounds very impressive. However, if i was in the market for either of the 3.0 models then i'd go for the new VW Touareg as it looks much better, has a lovely interior and is essentially the same car with the same powertrains.

At the higher end of the range, I think i'd find it hard to choose anything other than a TDV8 Range Rover, and likewise with the Turbo S, an Audi RS6 avant would probably appeal more.

But let's be honest. Porsche will sell this by the boat load.

14 April 2010

At last, a revision to the styling that actually makes it look better !! Once the hybrid version is launched, Lexus are going to take a huge hit on the RX450h which has went the opposite way from quite stylish to ugly duckling (worst dash ever ?).

Anyone know where Chris Bangle is working these days ?

14 April 2010

I really like it.

14 April 2010

Eek, dare I say it, but if I were fortunate enough to be a 'town and country' home-owner I'd quite fancy this new Cayenne for its one-car-does-all range of abilities. (But not with a poo-brown steering wheel!)

BTW, does anyone know why the new Cayenne, Audi A8 & BMW 5-series have the new ZF 8-speed autobox, but the new Jag XJ is using the old ZF 6-speeder?

HQ

14 April 2010

It's called 'money'. Jag will switch to 8 speed box in the not too distant future.

14 April 2010

[quote HQ]It's called 'money'. Jag will switch to 8 speed box in the not too distant future.[/quote] Surely, in the long-run it also costs 'money' to re-engineer a car, albeit slightly, for a new gearbox so-soon after launch; also, I wonder how many folks are holding back on ordering a new 6-speed XJ because they're aware that the 8-speeder's resale values will be inevitably higher - all in all, a rather short-sighted application of the 'money' principle?

Pages

Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • 2016 Audi A3 Sportback e-tron UK review
    First Drive
    29 September 2016
    First UK drive finds the facelifted A3 Sportback e-tron remains a first-rate plug-in hybrid that is packed with tech if a little short on driver appeal
  • Citroen C11.2 Puretech 82 Furio
    First Drive
    29 September 2016
    Citroën's city car gets a new sporty-looking trim level, adding visual adornments, but no premium for the 1.2-litre Puretech triple we're driving
  • Mercedes C350e Sport
    First Drive
    28 September 2016
    Petrol-electric C-Class is a surprisingly well-priced alternative to a diesel but not the greatest example of the new ‘PHEV’ breed
  • Car review
    23 September 2016
    Aston kicks off its ‘second century plan’ with an all-new turbo V12 grand tourer
  • Ford Ka+ 1.2 Ti-VCT 85
    First Drive
    22 September 2016
    A rounded, refined and well-sorted bargain supermini – once you’re used to the confusing role redefinition imposed on the once-cheeky Ka