What is it?
The Porsche Cayenne S Diesel, with one of the highest torque figures on sale new in the UK. With 627lb ft, it lags only behind a trio of twin-turbo V12 Mercedes AMGs, the Bentley Mulsanne, Pagani Huayra and Bugatti Veyron, while costing a small fraction of each of them, prices kicking off at £59,053.
Of course, there’s a reason for all the Porsche’s torque – its 2195kg kerb weight. This means the 377bhp twin-turbocharged 4.1-litre V8 engine needs all of its 627lb ft for this Cayenne to deliver on the sporty promise of its ‘S’ badge. The S Diesel is frighteningly quick off the line (0-62mph in 5.7sec) and explosive in its mid-range urge (50-75mph in 3.8sec). The in-gear pace and elevated driving position make it a great overtaker, and its width makes it a top blocker too…
What’s it like to drive?
The engine is smooth and responsive, and the eight-speed automatic ’box ensures you’re always surfing the fattest part of the torque curve (2000-2750rpm). Control the gears yourself and you experience a muted but growly V8 throb – enjoyable and very undiesel-like.
The four-wheel-drive system and colossal 21in wheels and tyres offer obscene grip, and while Porsche would have you believe the car has rear-wheel-drive characteristics, it doesn’t. However, the S Diesel is neutral and composed when cornering and the optional PTV Plus torque vectoring increases its overall agility.
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Being a Porsche, the control weights are fine and measured, and while the steering can’t offer genuine feel, it is at least accurate and linear. Likewise, brake and throttle response are great, but then Porsche is a master in this area.
The S Diesel’s performance is mighty, as is its comfort and build quality, but you rarely feel inclined to indulge the car’s dynamic side, aside from the odd overtaking squirt.
How does it compare?
The Cayenne S Diesel offers Cayenne GTS pace (if not handling acuity) but with more favourable residuals and lower running costs. But it’s a car you buy with your head and not your heart; the true drivers’ SUV remains the V8 petrol GTS. Diesel alternatives elsewhere include the BMW X6 M50d (£62,775, 377bhp, 545lb ft) and Range Rover 4.4 TDV8 (£78,120, 339bhp, 516lb ft).
Anything else I need to know?
While Porsche claims 34mpg combined, we struggled to exceed 26mpg. Fill the 100-litre tank from empty and you’ll spend about £134 and be able to cover around 570 miles – well above the range of a comparable V8 petrol Cayenne.