Making a sports car into an SUV is no easy task – just look at the pitiful Lamborghini LM002. Porsche has been building sports cars since the 1950s, so when the manufacturer announced it would build an SUV in 2002, purists were dismayed. Despite numerous depressed Porsche fans, the Cayenne has gone on to be the company’s best-selling vehicle. With four doors and oodles of practicality, everyone can fit a Porsche into their lifestyle – if they can afford it.
For those aquainted with the prancing pony line-up, the engine options will be familiar. The standard Cayenne gets the 3.6-litre V6 petrol engine, producing 300bhp and a 7.5s 0-60mph time. If you’re in the market for an oil burner, the Cayenne Diesel is fitted with the 245bhp 3.0-litre V6 making 550Nm of torque at 2,000rpm – 382bhp if you opt for the S variant. Switching over to the 4.8-litre petrol V8, there is a 400bhp version found in the Cayenne S, able to produce a 0-60mph sprint time of less than six seconds. Strap twin turbos to that V8, and you get the 500bhp top of the line engine, able to complete a 4.7s sprint. All of these options are impressive, but the star of the show is Porsche’s first hybrid which mates a 3.0-litre supercharged V6 petrol engine to an electric motor. The two devices can work together or separately, depending on driving conditions. Combined, the units produce 380bhp and 580Nm of torque starting at 1,000rpm. Various algorithms govern the system, and allow it to operate on electric power alone at speeds up to 40mph. The internal combustion engine can also be disengaged during high speed cruising for improved efficiency.
The concept of combining conventional Porsche design cues with a lumbering SUV was disconcerting to some. In the end, Porsche did a decent job of melding the two designs, aptly convincing the majority of the most diehard opponents. The drawn-out bonnet and raked rear window give the car an athletic appearance – it’s definitely a decent looking ride
Climb into the big Cayenne, and you will find a high centre console between the driver and passenger, reminiscent of what you mind find in a traditional Porsche sports car. The centre console provides easy access to the hodgepodge of nobs and buttons required for vehicle control. The current Cayenne is 48mm longer than the outgoing model, meaning the boot can now hold 670-litres – 1,780 litres if you fold the rear seats. Back seat passengers will be content with plenty of legroom and headroom, as well as seats that are able to recline into three different positions. All of your gear can be accessed by the powerlift tailgate and there is a variety of optional equipment available to keep everything in place.
The entry-level Cayenne (if there is such a thing) is fitted to a six-speed manual gearbox as standard, but all other models get the 8-speed Tiptronic S automatic transmission. Porsche Traction Management all-wheel-drive gets fitted to the entire model line-up – no wimpy front-wheel drives here. The fancy-pants Turbo model adds air-suspension with Porsche Active Suspension Management. Standard equipment also includes leather trim, climate control, parking sensors, powered front seats, touch screen display system and 18″ alloys.
If you’re buying a Porsche, the assumption is that you probably aren’t concerned with cost of ownership. Even so, the company has introduced new technology that makes the Cayenne more environmentally friendly while also saving face. Porsche is particularly keen on using lightweight materials, which has allowed the current model to weigh less than its predecessor despite having larger dimensions. The 8-speed automatic has a wider spread of gear ratios allowing the engine to operate at optimum efficiency and all models are fitted with Auto Start Stop. The Cayenne Diesel has the best mileage, returning 38mpg combined economy and 195g/km emissions. The Cayenne Hybrid fares well too with 34mpg and 193g/km, while the V8 engines are rather thirsty – try 24mpg and 270g/km with the turbo.
With the Cayenne, not only has Porsche successfully fused sports car and SUV lineage, they have made it efficient as well. This makes the vehicle appealing to a wide range of buyers – families, off-road enthusiasts, tree huggers, guys having a midlife crisis – they can all get in on the action.
If you own the Cayenne tell us what’s it like to own? What do you think of our Porsche Cayenne review? Leave your comments. We love to read them.
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