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Juliet McGuire

First drive in the new Porsche Cayenne

Watching the speedometer of the new Porsche Cayenne Turbo hit the 204 km/h mark is a moment I will never forget. In part because I nearly crapped myself. There I was thinking I was at a lovely illegal cruising speed of around 160 km/h, so imagine my surprise when I looked down and saw 204 km/h on the screen in front of me. Brake! Brake! Brake! Thank goodness for the Adaptive Roof Spoiler! (I will tell you what that is in a moment).  You see, when a car is based on the iconic Porsche 911, you can’t help but drive it like, well like it should be driven! As a Sports SUV.

I took the third generation Porsche Cayenne through its paces this week across the Western Cape. And with out a doubt, my favourite of the three models available, is…the Cayenne S. You thought I was going to say Turbo, didn’t you? I am not all about the performance though, you see. I also like luxury, a comfortable ride, 324 kW of power, 550 N.m of torque and getting to 100 km/h in just 4.9 seconds. Ok, ok, I do want performance…but in moderation…ya right! The 2.9-litre V6 biturbo engine provides all the performance I need. The slick-shifting eight-speed automatic transmission is paired perfectly to this engine and there is almost no lag to mention.

But for you petrol-heads, the Turbo is all about the performance figures; sporting a 4-litre V8 biturbo engine delivering 404 kW, 770 N.m and a 0-100km/h sprint in 4.1 seconds (3.9 seconds with the Sport Chrono Package). Just let those figures sink in for a moment. The Turbo is the new flagship of the model line-up. I know this completely new top-of-the-range model should be my favourite of the three models available, but I think it has to do with less is more. The Cayenne S is certainly the sweet spot for me. It’s also a lot more in my price range. (insert sarcastic eye roll here).

Quickly, a note on that Adaptive Roof Spoiler I mentioned. The new Cayenne Turbo is the first SUV to boast such aerodynamics equipment. Depending on the position of the spoiler, it optimises efficiency, increases downforce on the rear axle and, in the airbrake position, reduces the braking distance needed from higher speeds. As a result, at full braking from 250 km/h, the SUV comes to a stop up to two metres earlier. Impressive hey!?

The new Cayenne is sportier than before, it’s more attractive (although it isn’t too far off from its predecessor and fans will make up their own minds about the looks), it has more standard equipment and a larger luggage compartment. As Porsche boasts, “It is the best Cayenne that’s ever been.”

The dimensions of the new Cayenne have changed ever so slightly, but it is the interior that truly impresses with its air of luxury and modernity. The impressive 12.3-inch full HD touch screen is the heart of this cabin. With very few analogue buttons, you will be glad for the Porsche Communication Management (PCM), launched last year with the new Panamera, with its range of digital functions that can be operated intuitively – including by voice control. I spoke of something similar in the Mercedes-Benz A-Class last week.

Porsche Cayenne

Does the new Cayenne set the benchmark for sport SUVs, like Porsche suggests? I would say yes it does. It’s quicker, more luxurious, lighter, more efficient and heck, more desirable than ever before. It might not be a budget-friendly offering, but it’s not trying to be. You get what you pay for with this new Porsche Cayenne and if I had the money, I know where I would put it.

PRICING FOR THE PORSCHE CAYENNE

Porsche Cayenne – R1 142 000

Porsche Cayenne S – R1 296 000

Porsche Cayenne Turbo R2 158 000

 

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