SOME LIKE IT HOTTER 19/10/2018 00:00:00
Porsche's third generation Cayenne feels suitably fiery in potent Turbo form. Jonathan Crouch drives it.
Ten Second Review
The Cayenne large luxury SUV was the car that turned around Porsche's fortunes and it's a car that still manages to set standards in its segment in this third generation form. It's smarter, faster, more efficient and impressively advanced. Best of all, it can reward you at the wheel in a way that no other rival can. Especially in 4.0-litre V8 Turbo form...
Where once, Porsche would talk about their Cayenne luxury SUV being a 'family sportscar', 'a five-seat 911' and so on, that mantle now sits more comfortably with the brand's smaller Macan crossover model. The Cayenne these days now has more in common with the company's 'Gran Turismo', the Panamera, sharing much of that executive contender's engineering, including its new-tech active anti-roll bar set-up, its rear axle steering system and its three-chamber air suspension, all of it co-ordinated by Porsche's freshly-developed '4D-Chassis Control' central network system.
You sense that all of that technology's certainly going to be needed if a genuinely sporting conveyance is to be made out of something this big and heavy. And it's an objective that'll be further aided by this MK3 model's adoption of a shorter version of the hi-tech MLB-Evo platform that it shares with Bentley, Audi and Lamborghini. Under the bonnet, there's a range of completely new engines - including the 4.0-litre twin turbo V8 fitted to the Turbo model we're testing here - all of them mated to a new 8-speed PDK auto gearbox. Add in a vast improvement in media connectivity and a completely re-designed interior that claims to set fresh class standards and there's certainly the potential for this to be the most sophisticated SUV that Porsche has ever made.
From a dynamic driving point of view, the Cayenne has always redefined the kind of car a large SUV can be and this third generation version continues to push those boundaries. When you're pushing on through the turns, it's able to seek out grip and traction you'd think a car of this sort simply wouldn't be able to find, delivering it with the kind of poised body control that you'd normally expect would be foreign to a 2.2-tonne SUV. And it's all further embellished by Porsche's expertise in steering feedback and a bespoke clutch-based four-wheel drive system that can send more torque rearwards, more of the time. Ah yes - torque: there'll certainly be plenty of it, especially in this potent 550hp twin-turbo V8 Turbo version. As with all the Cayenne powerplants, this one's mated to a ZF 8-speed auto gearbox.
This top engine's now a 4.0-litre unit and is a little less aurally charismatic than 4.8-litre V8 previously used by the Cayenne Turbo but it's usefully faster in the mid range. Sixy two mph from rest flashes by in 4.1s and if you happen to commute to the office on a stretch of derestricted autobahn, you can reach 177mph flat out. Spend extra on the various elements of dynamic gadgetry available for this third generation model - things like the three-chamber air suspension system, 'PDCC' active anti-roll bars, 'PTV Plus' torque vectoring and rear axle steering - and through the turns, you can mitigate Newton's laws to a surprising extent.
Design and Build
These days, this third generation Cayenne is quite a smart-looking thing but in the past, this car rarely has been. From the front, there's no longer the feeling that Porsche is rather awkwardly trying to graft 911 styling cues into a boxy crossover silhouette and the previously rather bluff frontage has been softened somewhat with a long, sweeping bonnet. This Turbo version gets an electrically-extending rear spoiler.
Take a seat inside and as ever with a Cayenne, you get a driving position that remains remarkably low-set for a large SUV, in keeping with that quest for sportscar-style driving dynamics and a 'cockpit-style' feel. Around the gearstick the fiddly little buttons that previously decorated the centre console have been replaced by a shiny black panel that comes to life with touch-sensitive controls once you fire the ignition. Just above lies the other defining feature of this cabin, the huge 12.3-inch colour touchscreen controlling the now standard 'Porsche Communication Management' infotainment system. More screens are found in the instrument binnacle either side of the prominent rev counter gauge. All of it's configurable to your personal preferences as part of one of the most sophisticated cabins you'll find anywhere in this segment.
And the back? Well there's no wheelbase increase this time round, so no real increase in leg room, but the scalloped front seat backs help and you can better prioritise space for your feet by making use of seat bases that slide over a range of 160mm across a 60:40 split. As for the boot, there's 770-litres of capacity (100-litres more than before).
Market and Model
The Cayenne Turbo model is one of those cars that can almost name its price, as many very high net worth individuals are drawn to this hugely rapid and composed powerhouse and the asking price of almost £100,000 is unlikely to prove a significant deterrent. Of course it's very well equipped. Specific Turbo model features include the electrically-extended roof spoiler, special sports seats, an Alcantara headliner, auto-dimming interior and exterior mirrors, plus a rim-less interior mirror. Along with a14-speaker 710-watt BOSE surround sound set-up that uses 'Noise Compensation Technology' to ensure superb clarity.
As for options, well, we'd definitely want the sports exhaust system. And if you're going to use the car hard and fast, maybe even occasionally on a track, it might also be an idea to uprate this model's stopping power. Fearsomely expensive 'PCCB' 'Porsche Ceramic Composite Brakes' are as usual offered, but in our view a better option is the slightly more affordably-priced upgrade to 'PSCB' 'Porsche Surface Coated Brakes' - which come as standard on this Turbo model. They still deliver fade-free stopping power every time. Also worth considering is the 'Power Steering Plus' package, which makes the steering firmer and more accurate at higher speeds, but at low speeds adjusts its ratio for easy manoeuvring and parking.
Cost of Ownership
Prior to the turn-of-the-century arrival of the original Cayenne and before it BMW's X5, the only thing that was green about large plush SUVs was the colour they turned their passengers when hustled along twisty country roads. These days, things are somewhat different - though you shouldn't get your hopes up too high in that regard. Take a look at the stats for the now exclusively petrol-powered Cayenne model line-up and you'll find that the V8 Turbo variant we're trying here returns an NEDC-quoted best-possible 24.1mpg reading on the combined cycle - and up to 267g/km.
Across the Cayenne range, servicing won't be especially affordable - Porsche workshop visits never are - so you'll want to know that maintenance intervals across the range are every 20,000 miles or two years, depending which comes soonest. A more significant dealer visit will be needed at four years or 40,000 miles. A minor service will probably cost around £450, while a major service will come in at around £600 or so. Tyres and brake pads tend to be particularly expensive. Surprisingly, the company hasn't copied other brands in offering a range of pre-paid servicing packages at point of purchase, but dealers do operate a fixed price servicing regime, so you'll always know exactly what work will be carried out and what it will cost. Insurance groupings won't be cheap. For this V8 Turbo version, it'll be group 50.
For some luxury SUV buyers, there's simply nothing else quite like a Cayenne. This was the model that opened up Porsche ownership to a whole new group of people. They're not sportscar purists but they love the idea of sportscar technology being applied to make a real luxury 4x4 appeal to real drivers. Certainly it took the German brand some time to get this right: early Cayennes were rightly forgettable. But this lighter, faster, greener and better looking MK3 version is hugely impressive, in many ways the most astonishing car of its kind we've yet driven. Especially in this V8 Turbo form.
It's the Cayenne Porsche always threatened it would build: a cutting-edge benchmark in the luxury SUV segment with a re-designed cabin makes the required six-figure statement. Of course, we're not blind to things you might not appreciate quite so much. Some still struggle with the styling for instance. Plus there's a small but discernible shift towards more of a luxury demeanour this time round. Ultimately though, this Cayenne Turbo is a magnificent thing. And if you want the quickest point-to-point performance SUV in this segment, nothing else in the class really gets close.
SOME LIKE IT HOT 13/04/2018 00:00:00
Porsche's third generation Cayenne aims to re-establish itself as the driver's choice amongst large models in the luxury SUV sector. Jonathan Crouch takes a look.
Ten Second Review
Porsche has rejuvenated its large luxury Cayenne SUV in this third generation guise. The styling represents a mere gradual evolution - with over 770,000 sales on the board with this model since 2002, you wouldn't really expect much else. But the changes inside and beneath the skin are genuinely far-reaching. If you're buying in this segment, you have to consider this model.
The 911 sportscar may be the model Porsche is known for but it's the Cayenne large luxury SUV that has established the company in his modern era. And made it one of the world's most successful car manufacturers. For some time in the early part of this century, the Cayenne was the brand's best seller. Indeed, for most of his Millennium, this SUV has out-sold all of Porsche's other models put together. That won't be the case with this third generation version is because it now sells above a smaller, more affordable Porsche SUV model, the Macan. So the Cayenne must fulfil a slightly different role in the company's line-up.
Think this third generation version doesn't seem much changed in comparison to its predecessor? Think again. There's a platform shared with a Bentley, an interior to die for, a range of new engines and cutting-edge hybrid Plug-in technology that completely replaces diesel power.
Most of the engineering here is shared with Porsche's Panamera luxury 'Gran Turismo' model - but there are differences. Rather courageously, Porsche has decided not to include diesel power in this third generation Cayenne range, which means that the line-up kicks off with a turbocharged 3.0-litre V6 petrol unit developing 330bhp. Next up is the Cayenne S, which gets a twin-turbocharged 2.9-litre V6 good for 434bhp. At the top of the range is the Cayenne Turbo, which this time round swaps a 4.8-litre V8 for a 4.0-litre twin turbo V8 putting out a potent 533bhp. That makes it pretty much as fast as the Cayenne Turbo S in the previous generation line-up. This flagship model gets a ZF eight-speed auto gearbox rather than the twin-clutch auto of the equivalent Panamera. That's so as to preserve this SUVs prodigious 3,500kg towing capacity.
The Hybrid version of this SUV is also subtly different from its Panamera counterpart. Whereas a Panamera S E-Hybrid mates its electric motor with a 2.9-litre V6, the Cayenne S E-Hybrid uses a 3.0-litre V6 - but from that point, most of the petrol/electric engineering (and the power it all produces) is much the same. The hybrid Cayenne's engine puts out 335bhp, a figure then bolstered by a further 134bhp from the electric motor, so total system power amounts to 469bhp. Optional extras (fitted as standard at the top of the range) include a new three-chamber air suspension system, an active anti-roll system and rear-wheel steering, but some enthusiasts might feel that these features detract a little from the purity of the driving experience. Most seem to agree that this now sets the class standard. It's also worth mentioning that this Cayenne is just as happy as its predecessor off the beaten track. A spare set of off-road wheels and tyres might prevent some costly refurbishment work to the standard alloys though.
Design and Build
Porsche hasn't been brave enough here to fundamentally alter the way this Cayenne looks, but it has made its styling a bit sleeker and more chiselled. In comparison to the old model, this one's slightly longer, lower and wider. What really matters though, is what lies beneath the panel work - the hybrid steel and aluminium MLB platform we've already seen used in the Audi Q7 and the Bentley Bentayga. This Cayenne adopts it in shorter wheelbase form, which means that it has 100mm less length between its wheel arches than those competitor models.
The interior is completely different from the previous generation model, Porsche having moved many of the controls to a touch-sensitive fascia panel, with other features accessible via a 12.3-inch colour touchscreen in the centre of the dash. There are also a pair of configurable 7.0-inch screens in the instrument binnacle, though here, we'd still prefer a full screen set-up like Audi's 'Virtual Cockpit'. In the back, a slightly lower seating position preserves headroom, despite the more sloping rear roof line but to be frank, leg room isn't very much better than you' get in the supposedly much smaller Macan model. The boot though, is usefully larger this time round.
Market and Model
Prices open at around £55,000 for the standard 3.0 V6 petrol Cayenne, and it's then quite a big step up to the more powerful Cayenne S which is pitched at just over £68,000. These figures are very competitive with those being asked for nicer versions of large luxury SUVs like the BMW X5, the Mercedes GLE and the Range Rover Sport. The Turbo flagship Cayenne model is one of those cars that can almost name its price, as many very high net worth individuals are drawn to this hugely rapid and composed powerhouse and the asking price of almost £100,000 is unlikely to prove a significant deterrent.
It's also hard to argue with the amount of kit the car gets as standard. There's a full leather interior, Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM), Bi-Xenon headlights, front and rear ParkAssist, tyre pressure monitoring, automatic dimming rear view mirrors, Porsche Communication Management with touch-screen satellite navigation and audio controls, cruise control and a three year warranty. That's on top of a Porsche Vehicle Tracking System (VTS). There's also a clever cruise control system that takes into account speed limits, bends and inclines.
Cost of Ownership
The big ticket item on the Cayenne has long been depreciation, but then that's not an issue exclusive to Porsche. Show us one large SUV that retains its value well. The pace of change has been dizzying in this sector and older SUVs date rapidly due to advances in engine efficiency. Look at the prices or early petrol-engined Cayennes for evidence of this. Porsche has made big strides in improving fuel economy and driving down emissions with this model - principally with its Plug-in hybrid technology. Expect a CO2 figure from the S E-Hybrid variant of around 60g/km. When connected to an industrial outlet, the batteries can be charged within around two and a half hours via the integrated on-board charger and the standard Porsche Universal Charger (AC) and it can be charged in less than four hours when connected to a conventional household electrical outlet.
As for the mainstream versions, well the base 3.0-litre V6 Cayenne manages between 31.4 and 30.7mpg on the combined cycle and between 205 and 209g/km of CO2 (variance depending on spec and wheel size). For the twin turbo 2.9-litre Cayenne S, the figures are between 30.7 and 30.1mpg and between 209-213g/km. And for the Cayenne Turbo, you're looking at between 24.1mpg and 23.7mpg, with CO2 readings between 267-272g/km. We would imagine 'real world' consumption on that top variant is likely to be a good deal scarier.
This is the Cayenne Porsche always threatened it would build. A cutting-edge benchmark in the luxury SUV segment. The technology on offer here is awesome but if you like your driving, we're not sure that loading this car up with rear wheel steering, air suspension and big wheels (as many owners will) is the best way towards showcasing its class-leading status as the ultimate driving machine in the large part of the luxury SUV segment.
However you specify this car though, there's nothing else quite like it in this class. Certainly it took the German brand some time to get this model right: early Cayennes were rightly forgettable. But this lighter, faster, greener and better looking MK3 version is hugely impressive, in many ways the most astonishing car of its kind we've yet seen.
PLUSH IN THE SLUSH 13/04/2018 17:28:00
June Neary checks out Porsche's desirable third generation Cayenne luxury 4x4
Will It Suit Me?
Nobody actually needs a car like Porsche's Cayenne luxury SUV - but lots of us would like to own one. You can't move for luxury large SUVs like this one on the county school run, but I couldn't really see the point until I tried one.
Having done so, I'm a little more converted. I love the high driving position, the versatility and the feeling of safety. The improved styling of the MK3 version has also helped.
Porsche have thankfully resisted the temptation to attempt to cram seven seats into the Cayenne body and as a result the interior is pleasantly spacious with more luggage space than its direct rivals and plenty of leg and headroom for five passengers. The quality of fit and finish is superior to anything Porsche has produced to date, with a beautifully designed, if surprisingly conservative, fascia.
And out back? Well raising the electrically operated tailgate reveals a boot that's one of the very largest in the class, the 770-litre capacity giving you more space than you'd find in a comparable Range Rover Sport. In fact, there's so much room here that you wonder why Porsche doesn't offer an optional third row pair of fold-out chairs. Evidently, though, MPV-ness is still a step too far for the brand just at present: expect that to change in the future.
Should you need more room, then across the range, the rear backrest is split 40:20:40 so that, if necessary, you can push through long items like skis between two rear-seated occupants. If you've specified air suspension, you can also more easily take really heavy items too, courtesy of a useful cargo wall button that can lower down the loading lip to help your arthritic Labrador. Completely flattening the rear bench (a process that as an option can be electrically powered) frees up as much as 1,710-litres of fresh air. That's more than you'd get from a large Executive segment estate like BMW's 5 Series Touring or Audi's A6 Avant.
Behind the Wheel
Since the beginning, the Cayenne has appealed to buyers looking for a sharper, more sporting drive from their SUV. Despite this, it's always been extremely good off road, as long as you don't mind exposing those big alloy wheels to a bit of a pranging.
The Cayenne continues to set the benchmark when it comes to driving satisfaction in a large luxury SUV. Drive one on a racetrack and it'll steer with a directness that no other car in this class can match, with an optional active anti-roll system on hand to make it corner like one too. At full chat, the petrol engines even sound suitably red-blooded. All that weight has to tell somewhere of course - and you certainly feel it under braking - but by and large, like it or not, this car represents an astonishing engineering achievement. Especially as the on-demand 4WD system combines with optional air suspension to create impressive off road prowess.
This MK3 model line-up kicks off with a turbocharged 3.0-litre V6 petrol unit developing 330bhp. Next up is the Cayenne S, which gets a twin-turbocharged 2.9-litre V6 good for 434bhp. At the top of the range is the Cayenne Turbo, which this time round swaps a 4.8-litre V8 for a 4.0-litre twin turbo V8 putting out a potent 533bhp. There's also a Hybrid version of this SUV which uses a 3.0-litre V6. The hybrid Cayenne's engine puts out 335bhp, a figure then bolstered by a further 134bhp from the electric motor, so total system power amounts to 469bhp. Optional extras (fitted as standard at the top of the range) include a new three-chamber air suspension system, an active anti-roll system and rear-wheel steering, but some enthusiasts might feel that these features detract a little from the purity of the driving experience. Most seem to agree that this now sets the class standard. It's also worth mentioning that this Cayenne is just as happy as its predecessor off the beaten track. A spare set of off-road wheels and tyres might prevent some costly refurbishment work to the standard alloys though.
Value For Money
Asking figures for Cayenne ownership start at around £55,000, but you'll need nearly double that for the top Turbo version. Still, it's hard to argue with the amount of kit the car gets as standard. There's a full leather interior, Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM), Bi-Xenon headlights, front and rear ParkAssist, tyre pressure monitoring, automatic dimming rear view mirrors, Porsche Communication Management with touch-screen satellite navigation and audio controls, cruise control and a three year warranty. That's on top of a Porsche Vehicle Tracking System (VTS). There's also a clever cruise control system that takes into account speed limits, bends and inclines.
You won't expect it to be cheap to run - and it isn't. The base 3.0-litre V6 Cayenne manages between 31.4 and 30.7mpg on the combined cycle and between 205 and 209g/km of CO2 (variance depending on spec and wheel size). For the twin turbo 2.9-litre Cayenne S, the figures are between 30.7 and 30.1mpg and between 209-213g/km. And for the Cayenne Turbo, you're looking at between 24.1mpg and 23.7mpg, with CO2 readings between 267-272g/km. I would imagine 'real world' consumption on that top variant is likely to be a good deal scarier.
Could I Live With One?
I wouldn't say I'm a convert, either to the Porsche Cayenne or to luxury SUVs in general. However, I'm not target market. For those who are, this Cayenne makes an even more appealing - and in entry-level form, surprisingly affordable - choice.