Porsche Cayenne Turbo
The Cayenne is the world’s fastest 4x4 - and the new model hits Britain offering stronger performance and even greater efficiency.
Expensive, unnecessarily quick and irrelevant to most buyers, the Cayenne Turbo could easily be dismissed as a freak of nature. But delve a little deeper and what Porsche has achieved with this car is extraordinary. It offers all the benefits of a full-size 4x4 – a supple ride, elevated seating position and acres of space in the back. But that’s only scratching the surface of the Turbo’s talents. It’s as fast as a 911 Carrera 4S in a straight line and nearly as quick through corners, too – not bad for something weighing 2.1 tonnes. Equally important, though, is the 185kg weight saving over the previous car, plus the 31 per cent boost in economy, helped by the stop-start technology. The styling overhaul inside and out is the icing on the cake.
Love it or hate it, the Cayenne is Porsche’s best seller – the SUV brings in all the money to make limited-run specials such as the GT2 RS possible. Now, an all-new version has hit UK roads, and we have driven the top-spec Turbo – the fastest 4x4 in the world.
It’s quicker, more efficient and larger than the outgoing car, and has taken some major steps forward in the looks department. Although the wheelbase is 4cm longer, the taut body and sharper front end make the newcomer appear smaller in the flesh.
Video: watch CarBuyer's video review of the Porsche Cayenne
Even bigger changes have taken place inside, with drivers cocooned by a Panamera-style rising centre console. There’s an array of switches and toggles – this is as close most of us will get to sitting in an aircraft cockpit. Build is peerless, with sturdy metal everywhere and stitched leather covering most surfaces.
In keeping with Porsche’s new Intelligent Performance mantra, the car weighs 185kg less than before, while stop-start is standard on models with the efficient new eight-speed Tiptronic auto. As a result, fuel economy is improved by 31 per cent, to 24.6mpg, and CO2 emissions cut by a quarter, to 270g/km.
The updated 4.8-litre twin-turbo is still a monster, though. It delivers the same 493bhp output as before, yet when you flex your right foot, the superb auto kicks down instantly, and the 2.1-tonne SUV is fired from 0-62mph in 4.7 seconds. That’s four-tenths up on the previous Cayenne, and the same as the 911 Carrera 4S. And it’s accompanied by a muted gargle from the quad exhausts.
From the lofty seating position inside the well insulated interior, it’s easy to lose track of how fast you’re travelling, as the Cayenne is so composed at any speed. It doesn’t take long before you forget you’re driving an SUV altogether. The laser-like steering points the car precisely where you want it to, while our example had the £5,801 optional carbon ceramic discs, which wipe speed off with ease and resist fade well.
In bends, the body roll you expect isn’t there. Porsche’s Dynamic Chassis control, three-mode PASM suspension and Torque Vectoring Plus – which shuffles power between the rear wheels to maximise grip – mean the Cayenne corners flatter and faster than any rival. Think of it as a sports car on stilts!
Rival: RR Supercharged The Range Rover is still top of the pile for ultimate luxury and comfort. The top-of-the-range 510bhp supercharged 5.0-litre V8 can’t match the Porsche for outright performance, yet it still packs quite a punch – and let’s not forget, the Brit is unbeatable when the going gets rough.