From £47,390
Brawn and bread to impress

Our Verdict

Porsche Cayenne

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

19 April 2005
Nobody ever claimed the 165mph Cayenne Turbo – 0-62mph in 5.6sec – was sluggish. Porsche’s so-called ‘sports all-terrain’ 4x4 sets the performance standard in the class, effortlessly dispatching the new Range Rover Sport and BMW X5 4.8 in acceleration terms. But Weissach wants to establish a new performance benchmark before the inevitable arrival of the AMG version of Mercedes’ new ML.
To those who insist on the fastest, most expensive Cayenne, the cost of this 500ps (493bhp) version is a doddle. For the rest of us, the extra £10,223 works out at just over £3400 per tenth of a second saved on the 0-62 sprint.
Improved intercooler airflow and revised engine management account for the power increase, and Porsche has upgraded the brakes, which sit behind 19-inch alloys, to cope with the enormous performance. So discreet are the modifications that there are no exterior giveaways on this model, which is available through Porsche’s Exclusive Tequipment programme.
The engine tweaks do nothing to disturb the twin-turbo V8’s idle and light-throttle refinement. Push through this thin façade, though, and modified accelerator mapping adds brutally responsive aggression to the immediacy of the Cayenne’s already-blistering performance. The thumping acceleration doesn’t begin to let up north of 150mph, gulping vast quantities of fuel in the process. If your dream is a ferocious take-no-prisoners 4x4, look no further. This car is fundamentally about delivering a performance advantage.
Otherwise, the Cayenne is a mixed bag. Roomy and comfortable, it rides as well as an X5, though not as well as a Range Rover, while the steering is strangely heavy (like the brakes), proving that not even Porsche’s engineers can disguise the vehicle’s bulk. This may be the sports car of 4x4s, but it’s still a 2355kg off-roader. Body control is excellent and the brakes extremely powerful, but the huge rubber introduces a hint of tramlining on anything other than super-smooth roads, forcing constant driver corrections.
During our recent sporting 4x4 comparison, Steve Sutcliffe accused the Cayenne Turbo of having a cold, almost emotionless character. That’s as true of the relentless 500ps version, unless you fall under the spell of the enthralling performance.
Peter Robinson

Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • BMW X2
    This is the new BMW X2
    First Drive
    20 March 2018
    Doesn’t deliver many typical crossover selling points but looks perky, handles keenly and is well capable of winning over your latent cynic
  • First Drive
    20 March 2018
    The newest version of Rolls-Royce's flagship model sets new standards for opulence and luxury whether you're driving it or being driven in it
  • Used BMW M135i
    First Drive
    20 March 2018
    We have bought a used BMW M135i to see how far we can improve this rear-wheel-drive hot hatch
  • Mercedes-Benz E-Class Estate
    First Drive
    19 March 2018
    The Mercedes-Benz E-Class could be all the estate car you’ll ever want — or it could be overkill. Let’s see which...
  • Dallara Stradale
    The Stradale is the first road-legel car from Italian motorsport constructor Dallara
    First Drive
    16 March 2018
    The motorsport constructor's first road car is inspired by Lotus minimalism. Does it thrill on road and track?