Few cars in recent times have stirred controversy and divided opinions like the Porsche Cayenne. And now, along comes the next surprise – an entry-level Cayenne with, whisper it, a new V6 engine from Volkswagen. If the Porsche purists haven’t already turned and walked away in disgust, they will now.
Porsche acknowledges the new off-roader, simply badged Cayenne, may not appeal to its traditional customer base, but deems it vital to the long-term well-being of the company. Contrary to popular opinion, it hasn’t been created in response to lacklustre sales; it was always planned, says Porsche. Priced at £34,350, it undercuts the Cayenne S by £10,200 and the rapid Cayenne Turbo by a whopping £34,620.
For many, these savings alone will be reason enough to ignore the fact that the new Porsche runs an engine supplied by Volkswagen – especially when it looks so similar to its larger-engined siblings in the flesh. Indeed, the only things differentiating the Cayenne from the more powerful S are 17-inch allow wheels, the tailgate badge and brake calipers – the latter two painted black instead of silver.
Porsche has also done its best to disguise the 3.2 V6. Styled in a similar fashion to the 4.5-litre V8 used in the S and Turbo, the compact four-valve-per-cylinder engine looks clean and neat with a large silver covering and exposed pipes from the inlet manifold running through its centre section.
With a narrow 15-degree angle between its cylinder banks, the alloy block unit is the first V6 ever to appear in a road-going Porsche. Yet it is no stranger to these shores, having found its way into a host of Volkswagen models in recent times – most notably the mechanically identical Touareg, which sells for a much keener £29,340. Early plans to use the flat-six powerplant from the 911 were apparently ditched at a very early stage in the Cayenne’s development, owing to the fact that it simply wouldn’t fit.
To its credit, Porsche hasn’t simply thrown VW’s V6 in untouched. Fitted with a unique two-stage intake manifold and a more free-flowing exhaust system, the alloy block unit kicks out 30bhp and 3lb ft more than it does in the Touareg, with 247bhp at 6000rpm and 228lb ft of torque between 2500 and 5500rpm.