Lukewarm reception prompts cheaper V6 with manual option

Porsche is finally launching a cut-price Cayenne powered by a tuned version of VW's 3.2-litre V6 engine – as used in the Golf R32 and new Audi A3.

The unlikely combination comes after disappointing sales in Europe, where buyers have shied away from the powerful but thirsty V8-powered Cayenne S and Turbo in favour of more economical luxury off-roaders.

Due in the UK early next year at £34,350, the new Cayenne is the first production Porsche to be powered by a V6 engine. It will also become the first Cayenne available with a manual gearbox. The same 3.2-litre V6 delivers 217bhp in the 29,340 VW Touareg. Changes to the engine management and exhaust system liberate an extra 30bhp, boosting the entry-level Cayenne's output to 247bhp at 6000rpm – down 88bhp on the Cayenne S and a whopping 197bhp short of the Turbo.

Torque peaks at 228lb ft between 2500 and 5500rpm. Standing-start performance is mediocre by Porsche standards with the 0-62mph sprint taking a leisurely 9.1sec, while top speed is 133mph. The new V6 model will first be offered with the same six-speed auto as the Cayenne S and Turbo, but a six-speed manual will be available shortly afterwards. It boasts Porsche Drive Off Assistant (PDOA), which prevents the car rolling backwards on steep inclines by automatically applying the brakes.

Our Verdict

Porsche Cayenne

Even those who don't love the Porsche Cayenne should be impressed by its dynamic ability

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Nice decision from Porsche as a business

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