Greg Kable
27 February 2013

What is it?

Consider the facts. Here’s a car that weighs 2215kg and yet it can dispatch the benchmark 0-62mph sprint in just 4.5sec – a time that matches that of the latest Porsche 911 Carrera S. With less than flattering aerodynamics, it also manages to achieve a top speed of 176mph.

The latest of Porsche's second-generation Cayenne models can also hold its own off-road. It comes with multi-stage air suspension that gives 273mm of ground clearance in its highest setting and some impressive four-wheel drive hardware, including the latest in electronic torque vectoring to juggle drive between individual wheels at the rear.

Among the Cayenne Turbo S's true highlights is a lightly reworked version of the blown V8 petrol engine found in the standard Cayenne Turbo – a potent proposition in its own right. The same unit also sees service in the monstrously fast Porsche Panamera Turbo S.

There are other subtle power-enhancing tweaks, with the 4.8-litre, 90-degree direct-injection unit receiving a more free-flowing inlet manifold, increased turbocharger boost pressure and remapped electronics. 

Power climbs by 49bhp, peaking at 542bhp to make this not only the fastest but also the most powerful iteration of the Porsche off-roader to ever see series production. Torque is also up by 37lb ft at 553lb ft – developed on a band of revs between 2250 and 4500rpm.

Unlike in the Porsche Panamera Turbo S, which uses a seven-speed, dual-clutch PDK gearbox, the heady reserves are channelled through an eight-speed Tiptronic automatic transmission with a conventional torque converter to all four wheels. 

What is it like?

The upgraded engine provides the Cayenne Turbo S with relaxed qualities at around town speeds and extraordinary pace when the conditions allow. It's a remarkably refined and easy car to drive in all weather and all seasons.

Best of all, though, the performance gains come without any change in combined cycle fuel consumption, which remains at 24.6mpg.

Porsche quotes incremental improvements in the 0-62mph sprint time and top speed over the Cayenne Turbo. But they fail to convey the explosive rush of acceleration you're subjected to on a heavily pegged throttle. It dispatches big distances in an urgent manner, with impressive straight-line stability.

There is a somewhat firm ride that can sometimes turn uncomfortable and introduce some nasty tyre rumble on less than smooth road surfaces, even in Comfort mode. 

Direct electro-mechanical steering, superb damping control and strong grip also provide it with impressive agility for such a big car.

With the suspension switched to Sport mode, in which the ride height is lowered to 183mm to reduce the overall centre of gravity, it carves through corners with impressive directness, control and great purchase. 

Should I buy one?

There will no doubt be some who see the new Porsche Cayenne Turbo S as nothing more than a four-wheel irreverence; a playtoy. And with a price tag of £107,460, a rather expensive one at that.

But they're missing the point of what is perhaps one of the most capable off-roaders ever built. In pure engineering terms, it is among the most impressive road cars.

That said, the Turbo S lacks the sharpness and response of the much-cheaper, £67,147 Porsche Cayenne GTS, which on overall balance remains the pick of the line-up, even though it lacks the Turbo S's unbelievable pace.

Porsche Cayenne Turbo S

Price £107,460; 0-62mph 4.5sec; Top speed 176mph; Economy 24.6mpg; CO2 emissions 270g/km; Kerb weight 2215kg; Engine V8, 4086cc, twin turbo, petrol; Power 542bhp at 6000rpm; Torque 553lb ft at 2250rpm; Gearbox 8spd automatic

Join the debate


An engineering marvel -

1 year 38 weeks ago

An engineering marvel - yes.

A desireable car though? - not for me.



It's all about the twisties........

On the one hand I think it's

1 year 38 weeks ago

On the one hand I think it's vile, but, round these parts - ie, the SW - during the summer we had endless rain and some flooding, while the winter's had snow, ice, more floods and much rain, and when it's 'dry' the roads are covered in mud, manure and wet leaves.  

Hence, the Turbo S almost begins to make sense: it can handle all of the above; it's a decent steer on B-roads and isn't too wide (unlike a Rangie); has useful overtaking poke for A/B-roads; and it's also good at motorway wafting. And its looks are considerably less bling than the new Rangie. 

But I'd spend much time with Porsche's colour configurator, trying to find a hue that makes the Cayenne look more low-key/less in-yer-face - if that's possible...

Very nice interior, but I

1 year 38 weeks ago

Very nice interior, but I can't quite figure out whythe driver needs a grab handle on the centre console, other than for symmetry?  I would have though with those performance figures attached to a 2.5 tonne missile (s)he is more likely to be hanging on to the steering wheel for dear life!

Does it come with carbon ceramic brakes?


I think you'll find it's

1 year 38 weeks ago

I think you'll find it's '4806cc', not '4086cc'.

The review does say it

1 year 38 weeks ago

The review does say it all.The GTS at nearly half the price is more impressive and the pick of the range.The very rich and lottery winners only need apply imo.


1 year 38 weeks ago

Superlative! This car is in a class of its own - a 4WD that sprints like a supercar and handles like a family hatch. This Porsche has nothing to worry about except BMW X5 V8.


1 year 38 weeks ago

The Porsche Cayenne is the ugliest SUV on sale. It was in the last version and nothing has changed in the new one.

The smaller Macan version which is coming later this year, is a smaller version of the Cayenne.

But, it will be lapped up in the USA.

I'll wait for the new Range Rover Sport and hope they put in the XFR-S engine.

Over kill

1 year 38 weeks ago

Both this and the GTS may well be fast, but where, exactly, can you use this sort of pace. These are more likely to be seen blasting up and down the highways of Dubai than our overcrowded pothole slalom courses.

For me, and most people who want to get from A to B with reasonable pace and comfort, without looking like a drug dealer, the V6 or V8 Diesels are more than up to the job.

It seems to me that carrying

1 year 38 weeks ago

It seems to me that carrying 2215kg at 176mph and getting traction on mud are requirements that pull tyre design in different directions.  Since I am sure Porsche want to avoid disintegrating tyres at high speed, I bet the off road performance is rather limited.  Of course the buyers will never notice for the obvious reason.


1 year 38 weeks ago

Holy Smokes!

Look at all the buttons in picture 4! Wow!


I am sure it's logical but there is an awful lot going on around the gear selector!

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