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Porsche Cayenne review - smarter, cleaner and more capable than ever
From the wrong-headed model doubters feared would sink Porsche’s credibility to provider of the company’s fastest flowing revenue stream and the performance SUV standard the world has to beat, the Cayenne has come a long, long way in 13 years.
Smarter, cleaner and more mind-warpingly capable than ever, the refreshed nine-model line-up includes the first premium SUV to be available as a plug-in hybrid, a brace of diesels and the addition to the petrol engine line-up of a twin-turbo 3.6-litre V6 from the sportiest Macan.
The latest additions – the mighty Turbo S and more sharply driver-focused GTS – endow the hulking 4x4 with even more ballistic performance and bewilderingly agile handling on a twisty country road while the uprated standard kit, tech and connectivity compete with the best on the market.
There are better looking SUVs. Some have seven seats. Many are cheaper and offer more standard kit. But there isn’t one that can beat the Cayenne as an all-round proposition or driving experience.
The Diesel S is a fabulous thing period, the Turbo and Turbo S faster than you ever thought you’d need (until you drive them) and the GTS sharper and more fun than it has any right to be. The car that some said would bury its maker has ended up burying its critics which can only be good news for those who need what must, for now, be the ultimate SUV.
The V6 engine in the Cayenne S sounds rather frenetic and harsh when worked hard. With a little more power and the services of the standard-fit sports exhaust on GTS, however, it’s the sonic beans, encouraging you to exploit every one of its 434 horses. No, it doesn’t sound like a V8 but it is addictively growly at full chat and burbles sonorously at a canter.
Performance and 0-60 time > The entire 2015 Cayenne range delivers impressive performance for a car of its size. From the entry level diesel, right up to the 562bhp Turbo S, you'd struggle to say it wasn't a quick car.
Engine and gearbox > Smooth 8-speed gearbox delivers refinement when you want it and response when you fancy pushing the Cayenne harder.
Ride and handling > The Cayenne might be an SUV, but it can still deliver a dynamic driving experience. Lap times back up that claim, with the GTS in particular being a driving highlight.
MPG and running costs > e-hybrid makes the Cayenne the most economical SUV on the market. The Turbo is less impressive, but still manages decent running costs. Residuals are impressive.
Prices, specs and rivals > The Cayenne starts at just under £50k for a diesel, but can be optioned well above the £100k mark for those who fancy a Turbo S. Rivals include the Range Rover and BMW X6.
Interior and tech > Porsche's nav and entertainment system isn't the best. Interior fit and finish is as you'd expect for a car in this price bracket.
Design > Acid green brake calipers on the e-hybrid are a nice touch. A controversial car in the looks department no doubt.