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2018 Porsche Cayenne Turbo ride. Image by Porsche.

2018 Porsche Cayenne Turbo ride
We hitch a lift in the all-new Porsche Cayenne Turbo


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2018 Porsche Cayenne Turbo

When Ferry Porsche was asked about a Porsche off-road vehicle back in 1989, long before the current SUV boom, he replied: "If we built an off-road vehicle according to your standards of quality, and it had a Porsche crest on the front, people would buy it". Thirteen years later, the covers came off the first Porsche Cayenne, but to mixed views. However, the subsequent sales numbers didn't lie, with more than 270,000 examples finding homes. The outgoing second generation then posted sales exceeding half a million units. For its all-new third iteration of the Cayenne, Porsche has turned up the wick not only of its performance, but also in the advanced levels of technology used throughout. We've had access to an early passenger ride in the final validation prototypes to see just what we can expect.

Test Car Specifications

Model tested: Porsche Cayenne Turbo
Price: 99,291
Engine: 4.0-litre twin-turbocharged V8 petrol
Transmission: eight-speed tiptronic automatic, all-wheel drive
Body style: five-seat SUV
Combined economy: 24.1mpg
Top speed: 177mph
0-62mph: 3.9 seconds (with Sport Chrono Package)
Power: 550hp at 5,750- to 6,000rpm
Torque: 770Nm at 1,960- to 4,500rpm

What's this?

It's our first experience of the new third-generation Porsche Cayenne Turbo. As the car is still in the final stages of sign-off, our first taste comes only from the passenger seat, but that still affords us a fantastic opportunity to get a flavour for just how much more advanced this new SUV is. It's easy to forget that many scoffed at the idea of the Cayenne when it was first shown, but since then sales have gone on to reach impressive levels, and have contributed towards making Porsche one of the most profitable car makers in the world.

This third-generation Cayenne is one of Porsche's most advanced cars. It features higher levels of automation in its construction and an elaborate suspension setup to help give it next-level handling and performance. A new range of engines brings more performance, but it is the compact twin-turbocharged 4.0-litre V8 powering this Cayenne Turbo that currently carries the most appeal.

How does it go?

Porsche has been keen to make its new Cayenne even more rewarding for drivers. The rear tyres have a 25mm wider section than before (or 30mm in the case of the Cayenne Turbo), which indicates how engineers have tweaked the power distribution through the car's all-wheel drive transmission to favour the rear over the front. There's a purposeful rumble as the V8 engine idles, and the tone from the quad exhausts is befitting of an SUV with 550hp on tap.

More impressive is the rate at which the tall Cayenne builds speed. As we pull away with Porsche test driver Thomas Reithmuller behind the wheel, our first taste of the engine's prodigious 770Nm of torque arrives in a surge of forward motion. By locating the turbochargers in between the two banks of cylinders, the distance the exhaust gases have to travel between them and the combustion chambers is reduced, thus improving performance. Tick the Sport Chrono option box on the new Cayenne Turbo, and you'll have a five-seat SUV that's capable of cracking 0-62mph in 3.9 seconds. For some perspective, that's a feat that the 996-era 911 Turbo couldn't match.

As Reithmuller flicks through some faster bends, the change of direction is almost mind-boggling. This chassis sorcery is in part due to the use of a new 48-volt system for controlling the anti-roll bars on both the front and rear axles. This electromechanical roll stabilisation is part of the Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control (PDCC) system and adjusts the torsional rigidity of the anti-roll bars on the fly. It is capable of coping with up to 0.8g of lateral acceleration, based on having two occupants onboard. A pivot motor divides each anti-roll bar, and the motor rotates each half in opposite directions to keep the vehicle upright. The net result is that even through high-speed bends, the Cayenne exhibits no discernible body roll. As Reithmuller lays on the power, the Cayenne gracefully breaks traction at the rear as those huge wheels begin to spin up in Sport Plus mode. While we are in no doubt as to our driver's ability, the ease of which he can control and balance the car through this is confidence inspiring.

As impressive as the handling is, it's the motor that's the star of the show in the Cayenne Turbo. It lays on power with a seemingly unending supply. The eight-speed transmission doesn't seem at all phased by the sheer grunt and delivers each ratio with a refined change. The Cayenne Turbo can reach its 177mph claimed top speed in sixth gear, using the top two gears for improved efficiency on longer runs.

Keeping that performance in check are Porsche Surface Coated Brakes (PSCB), which will be standard fit on Turbo models and option on Cayenne and Cayenne S. These new brake discs are something of a halfway step between regular steel discs and more expensive carbon ceramic options. They are identifiable on the Cayenne thanks to white-painted calipers, a colour choice based on the fact that Porsche claims the new discs generate 90 per cent less brake dust during use. Just as unusual is the coating and finish of the 415mm front and 365mm rear rotors.

The discs are formed using the same process as cast iron brakes, but they are then galvanized with a layer of tungsten carbide that is only 100 microns thick, but is as hard as diamond. Once the discs have bedded in fully, after around 350 miles of driving, they develop a mirror-like finish. It's clear enough for you to see your reflection in and adds a layer of bling that could be the next automotive craze. The more significant benefit, and the primary purpose of development, is to give the Cayenne improved braking feel and stopping power, even after repeated heavy use. Even as the temperature increases on the surface of the disc the amount of pedal force required remains almost uniform.


We were unable to get behind the wheel of the new Cayenne, but our initial impression is that Porsche has been able to create an SUV that is a technological tour de force that still has plenty to reward keener drivers. It would be easy to make this type of car feel overly digital or sanitised of feeling, but the engineers at Porsche haven't forgotten the key things that draw buyers to the Porsche name. If the last two generations of Cayenne were deemed to be a success, this new model is set to be a record-breaker.

Dave Humphreys - 26 Sep 2017    - Porsche road tests
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2017 Porsche Cayenne Turbo ride. Image by Porsche.2017 Porsche Cayenne Turbo ride. Image by Porsche.2017 Porsche Cayenne Turbo ride. Image by Porsche.2017 Porsche Cayenne Turbo ride. Image by Porsche.2017 Porsche Cayenne Turbo ride. Image by Porsche.

2017 Porsche Cayenne Turbo ride. Image by Porsche.2017 Porsche Cayenne Turbo ride. Image by Porsche.2017 Porsche Cayenne Turbo ride. Image by Porsche.2017 Porsche Cayenne Turbo ride. Image by Porsche.


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