What is it?
Forget the Turbo, this is the crucial Cayenne. At least it is in the UK, where the diesel powered Cayenne is forecast to account for more sales than any other model.
Given that diesel power only arrived in the previous Cayenne towards the end of its life cycle, it is perhaps not surprising that the engine is one of the few elements not to have been changed for this next generation model.
So we still have a 3.0-litre V6 producing 237bhp and 406 lb ft of torque. However, like every other Cayenne, the diesel benefits from a considerable weight loss, (in this case 140kg), improving performance and economy.
What’s it like?
When we road tested the previous model, our conclusion was that Porsche’s first diesel had just enough performance at low-medium speeds to justify its badge, but lacked punch above 60mph. While this latest model partially addresses this, generally the conclusion remains the same; more than fast enough for any normal application, but don’t come here expecting 911 rivalling pace.
If you can get past that psychological hurdle, and we could, the Cayenne Diesel makes for an extremely well rounded machine. The styling is now less brash, with the tapered nose giving the impression of a smaller car, even though new Cayenne is actually 48mm longer. 40mm of that comes from an extended wheelbase, meaning the Panamera inspired interior is not only more upmarket, but more spacious.
The Cayenne always hid its mass well, but from the wheel this latest model does feel lighter and more agile. It’s body control (even on the standard steel springs) and steering feel better than many lighter and more obviously sporting cars.
Part of the weight saving that contributes to that feeling comes from the fact that Cayenne no longer has a separate low-ratio gearbox. Porsche say that its new 8-speed automatic (standard on diesel) provides a sufficient spread of ratios.
For those venturing off-road, it is worth noting that the diesel has a less sophisticated permanent all-wheel drive rather than active system fitted to the petrol only models. Back on road the torque converter box comes with stop-start, which works just fine, better than it does with Porsche’s PDK.
Should I buy one?
On second thoughts don’t forget the Turbo, because its an astonishing machine, but for almost half the price the diesel is difficult to ignore.