Join Date: Oct 2006
2006 EDM WRX STI
2014 Porsche Cayenne Turbo
2014 Porsche Cayenne Turbo first drive review
Steroidal SUV packs more power, more torque and the kind of dynamic ability that would leave many sports cars trailing
What is it?
The new Porsche Cayenne Turbo, and a proper piece of work it is, too. Now in its 12th year of production and fourth model incarnation, the Cayenne has become Porsche's most lucrative vehicle by far in the decade-and-a-bit that it's been on sale.
The Turbo has long stood proudly at the top of the family tree, which is why Porsche tends not to skimp on anything whenever a new version appears.
This latest model is no exception. It has more power, more torque and more performance than ever before, plus a touch less weight to carry. Its twin-turbo V8 engine and eight-speed automatic gearbox are more efficient than ever and the car is therefore faster but more economical than any previous Turbo.
In most eyes it also looks better than ever, thanks to a raft of styling updates front and rear. These include new LED lights at the back, a more sloping roofline and a shallower but more potent looking grille at the front. Together these make the new Turbo look wider and more purposeful, says Porsche, even though at 2185kg it's actually a fraction less heavy than the previous model.
The suspension has been extensively modified to deliver yet more control on and off road, and at high and low speed thanks to software alterations and the fitment of new four-piece bushes front and rear.
Air suspension is standard and can be raised or lowered to aid off road flexibility, claims Porsche. More realistically, however, this enables a Turbo driver to lower the ride height of their leviathan by around half a metre to make loading the shopping that much easier.
Inside, the new Cayenne Turbo's mix of quality, technology, logistics and architecture is hard to fault. Same goes for its packaging, the rear seats having been redesigned to afford more comfort and a better view forwards, the boot being as good as it gets in terms of size and shape within this class.
What is it like?
Outrageously, hilariously impressive in pretty much everything it does, to be honest. Inevitably the Turbo version of any Cayenne is inevitably gong to be defined by its performance, and with 513bhp and 553lb ft, this one most certainly is. The acceleration on offer is vaguely surreal under full throttle, and there is almost no lag to speak off once 2000rpm is showing.
But there is also a new level of refinement to the latest Turbo's performance, and its chassis, that makes it feel even more grown up than before. The twin turbo motor is mated to a super smooth and achingly effective eight-speed automatic gearbox that gels beautifully with the V8's thunderous character.
Intriguingly, there is still no PDK transmission option offered for the Cayenne in any of its guises, unlike in the Porsche Macan Turbo, because PDK doesn't work so well when towing, says Porsche. And many more Cayenne owners like to tow, by all accounts, compared with their Macan driving equivalents.
On the road, the steering is almost spooky in its precision, the front end slicing into corners with the kind of speed and agility that would belittle many a sports car. So quick and composed and planted does the Turbo now feel, in fact, that it has become one of the great cross-country weapons.
The car we drove was fitted with the optional carbon ceramic discs, and it stopped just as well as it went as a result.
The gap between Comfort and Sport Plus within the Sports Chrono package has also been deliberately widened electronically to give the Turbo a yet broader range of dynamic ability on the move; in Comfort it's more comfortable than before, in Sport Plus it feels sharper than ever.
Which makes it quite some machine to drive, on and off road, and at pretty much any speed.
Should I buy one?
The new Cayenne Turbo might well cost an awful lot of money at £93,673 before options, but it's also an awful lot of car.
Never before has quite so much ability been available under just one roof, so if you can afford this sort of outlay and want the very best, then yes, buy one you should. Something tells us you won't be alone if you do.
Porsche Cayenne Turbo
Price £93,763; 0-62mph 4.2sec; Top speed 173mph; Economy 25.2mpg (combined); CO2 261g/km; Kerb weight 2185kg; Engine type V8, 4806cc, twin-turbo petrol; Power 513bhp at 6000rpm; Torque 533lb ft at 2250-4000rpm; Gearbox eight-speed automatic with paddles