Road tests 12.9.2018 10:15 am

DRIVEN: All-new Porsche Cayenne just got even hotter

Turbo model sets standard in its class with an impressive 404kW and 770Nm.

The demand for Porsche’s ever popular Cayenne has been such that we, as motoring media, only got to drive the SUV this past week in the Western Cape, a month or so after customers had started receiving their pre-ordered cars.

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Which I guess is not such a bad thing as we got to drive three of the four models in the range in a single day: the Cayenne, Cayenne S and the seriously fast Cayenne Turbo.

I normally like to start with the entry level model and work my way up the range.

This helps by giving you a better perspective of the increase in performance and dynamics of the car as you move up.

Going the other way always blunts your feeling and appreciation for what the entry level model offers to some degree.

But hey, it is what it is, and I ended up starting with the Cayenne Turbo, and I got to drive this dynamically class-leading SUV up and over the Franschoek pass.

And the Cayenne Turbo is no run-of-the-mill, fetch-the kids-from-school SUV. It is a very fast, 404kW and 770Nm of proper power and torque, wrapped neatly into a lighter, better looking package than before.

Make no mistake, though the 0-100 km/h time is claimed to be a mere 3.9 seconds and the top speed 286km/h, this SUV is not just about going fast in a straight line.

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I had an absolute blast carving up the Franschoek pass in a way no SUV in this segment should be able to.

The improved driving dynamics over the previous model are based on a combination of innovative technologies, such as active aerodynamics including an adaptive roof spoiler, self-levelling three-chamber air suspension, wider rear tyres, plus new high-performance brakes.

You can also opt for items such as rear-axle steering or electric roll stabilisation with a 48-volt system to further improve the dynamics.

In fact, all the models now feature turbocharged engines, along with a new eight-speed Tiptronic S gearbox and new chassis systems, alongside an innovative display and control concept with increased connectivity.

There are two newly developed six-cylinder engines to choose from. The Cayenne offers 250kW from a 3.0-litre engine.

The 2.9-litre V6 bi-turbo engine in the Cayenne S brings the power up to 324 kW.

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And although we jumped from the Turbo straight down to the Cayenne model, thanks to this move to turbocharging for all models, you never really felt let down in terms of urge when not driving the flagship model.

Dynamically it wasn’t as sure-footed as the Turbo, but it was never expected to be and I doubt many owners are going to be trying to set new lap records with the entry-level model anyway.

Should you really feel the need to go bundu bashing with your Cayenne, I have to admit, I have never seen one beyond anything more serious than a dirt road, and I doubt that is down to a lack of capability.

You will be happy, or shocked, to learn that outside of the standard default On-Road setting, there are in fact four mild offroad modes available: mud, gravel, sand or rocks.

But just as most owners wouldn’t, we didn’t go near any dirt.

How it all works though, is the drive, chassis and differential locks can be selected to adapt to the relevant scenario. For power distribution, Porsche utilises the active all-wheel drive in all Cayenne models.

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The intelligent, fully variable Porsche Traction Management distributes the driving force between the drive axles. Inside the Cayenne, it is all about space, luxury and technology.

The Porsche Advanced Cockpit features a 12.3-inch fullHD touchscreen from the latest generation of Porsche Communication Management launched last year with the new Panamera.

This means the full range of digital functions can be operated intuitively – including by voice control. The Porsche Connect Plus allows access to online services and the Internet, this includes the standard navigation.

The analogue controls on the new centre console are focused on the main functions of the vehicle, and in typical Porsche style, you have a central analogue tachometer, flanked by two seven-inch full-HD displays that show you the likes of driving data plus additional information selected using the multifunction steering wheel.

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The Cayenne is Porsche’s best-selling model range in South Africa and when you take a drive in one you understand why.

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