Compared with the old Cayenne Turbo S (the only Turbo still technically on sale), the new car has a new 4-litre twin turbo V8 in place of a comparatively ancient 4.8-litre unit. The new engine has 542bhp and 567lb ft of torque, which is pretty impressive when you consider that even in Turbo S form the old engine only had 20bhp and 22lb ft more. The new S will likely be up around the 600bhp mark. What’s more, the new Cayenne Turbo matches the old Turbo S to 62mph to the tenth and beats its top speed by a single mile per hour - not bad when you consider the new car is over £21,500 cheaper.
This engine is also found in the new Panamera Turbo, but crucially in the Cayenne it’s connected to a new eight-speed ZF automatic gearbox and not a double clutch transmission, so preserving the 3500kg towing capacity of the old Cayenne with its Aisin-Warner gearbox. Torque is sent to all four corners with an effectively infinitely variable front to rear split, although it does so through Porsche’s own system of clutches, not the Torsen differential favoured by Audi and Bentley. Porsche says its approach is lighter and quicker.
Air suspension is standard on the Turbo and provides three chambers per corner and is another area in which Porsche has been allowed to paddle its own canoe. The result: faster reacting springs with a wider range of operation, at least according to Porsche. The car does, however, also adopt the 48V active anti-bar system that allows said bars to all but eliminate roll in fast corners yet become effectively uncoupled in extreme off-road situations for maximum rock-hopping traction.
What's it like?
Open the door and you are presented with a stunningly clean driving environment. Almost all the switches of the old Cayenne have been replaced by pressure-sensitive areas on the facia that are jet black and invisible when not in use. They fit perfectly with the enormous TFT screens on which the information they summon are displayed. As you might imagine with a car of such fiendish complexity capable of offering a brain-boggling amount of information on a wide range of subjects, it takes a lot of learning and even then can often require considerable ferreting about before you find what you want. For many mainstream functions, it’s often easier to use spoken commands.
The interior package itself is similar to an old Cayenne’s: there’s a more sloping rear roofline but a slightly lower seating position has preserved head room, although leg room is not dramatically better than that offered by a Macan. The boot, however, is usefully bigger even than that of the old Cayenne.
Anyone who’s driven a previous Cayenne Turbo will know the 4.8-litre engine was one of the most characterful, forced induction motors on the market. The new one is not like that. It’s distinctly quiet by comparison and even when it gives its all, its voice is quiet and cultured. Some may like these more sophisticated manners, others will miss the old car’s uninhibited vocals. But no one will doubt the performance: this is a ferociously fast machine whose acceleration is somehow all the more remarkable for the car’s refusal to shout about it. In my experience, only the Bentayga makes you as aware of the physical forces required to accelerate that much mass at so preposterous a rate. And you lose nothing by not having the double clutch transmission: the new ZF is so good it appears to give entirely smooth and seamless changes from rest to whatever speed you think your licence will withstand.