Porsche Cayenne 3.0 TDV6

Performance Giant chooses SUV to be its first-ever diesel-engined model! Has it been Worth the Wait?

Overall Auto Express Rating

4.0 out of 5

It was only a matter of time before Porsche launched its first-ever production diesel. And while the Cayenne is far from revolutionary, it reaches the firm’s own targets. The new model is fast and fun to drive, with a punchy yet smooth turbodiesel. Rivals may be more frugal and cleaner, but this oil-burning variant is a vastly better all-rounder than its petrol-powered stablemates – and is the pick of the range.

The world has been turned upside down recently. Banks have been bailed out, the UK has been hit by freak snow storms – and now, Porsche has launched its first diesel.

The firm was buoyed by the success of the Cayenne SUV, but as most off-roaders sold in Europe drink from the black pump, it couldn’t be without an oil-burner any longer. And here it is: the Cayenne diesel.

Outside, there are no visual differences to the petrol model – not even a special badge. The powerplant hasn’t been tuned by Porsche, either. Instead, the car uses the same 240bhp 3.0-litre common-rail V6 TDI as the Audi Q7 and Volkswagen Touareg. It’s mated to a six-speed Tiptronic automatic gearbox and four-wheel drive.

Jump into the driver’s seat and the sole clue is a rev counter that red lines at 4,600rpm. Turn the key and, thanks to some effective sound-deadening, the engine is remarkably quiet.

There’s masses of torque, too: it delivers 550Nm at a mere 2,200rpm, so has no trouble propelling the 2,240kg Cayenne – which is 70kg heavier than the petrol model. The 0-60mph sprint takes only 8.3 seconds and the gearbox is so smooth and responsive that overtaking is a breeze. Press the Sport button and the responses are sharpened further. Porsche’s Active Suspension Management system and our car’s no-cost 18-inch alloy wheels soak up bumps surprisingly well.

Factor in good motorway ability – boosted by a range of nearly 800 miles – plus a chassis that shrugs off the engine’s extra weight, steers precisely and powers securely out of bends, and you have an impressive all-rounder. It’s just a shame the Cayenne isn’t as practical as BMW’s X5 XDrive 30d, or as frugal.

Economy of 30.4mpg is better than the base petrol V6’s 21.9mpg, but it still trails the X5. What’s more, with CO2 emissions of 240g/km, the newcomer will sit in the top tax band – a year’s disc will set you back £405. So while this Cayenne may be a diesel, you will still need deep pockets.

Rival: BMW X5 30d There’s much to like about the X5. It’s better-looking than the Cayenne, can be specified as a seven-seater and is great to drive. But most importantly, its 3.0-litre turbodiesel engine returns nearly 35mpg and emits 214g/km – figures which beat the Porsche hands down.

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