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First drive: Porsche Cayenne S. Image by Dean Smith.

First drive: Porsche Cayenne S
Mid-life revisions add a new bi-turbo V6 to the Porsche Cayenne S for improved performance, economy and emissions.

   



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Porsche Cayenne S

3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5

Porsche updates its divisive Cayenne model, with the petrol-fuelled S gaining the bi-turbo V6 engine from its Macan sibling in place of the old V8. Everything is improved as a result, but the Cayenne S's biggest rival comes from its diesel-powered relation, which betters it in every way.

Test Car Specifications

Model tested: Porsche Cayenne S
Pricing: 60,218
Engine: 3.6-litre turbocharged petrol V6
Transmission: four-wheel drive, eight-speed automatic
Body style: five-door, five-seat SUV
CO2 emissions: 229g/km (Band L, 485 per year)
Combined economy: 28.8mpg
Top speed: 161mph
0-62mph: 5.5 seconds
Power: 420hp at 6,000rpm
Torque: 550Nm at 1,350- to 4,500rpm

What's this?

Porsche is calling it a new Cayenne, but it's a mid-life facelift in reality. So there are new headlights, some subtle re-profiling of the bumpers, a revised boot lid and new rear lights. You'd have to be an existing owner (or park an existing Cayenne alongside) to really notice though, the Cayenne's divisive looks remaining exactly that. We like them though, Porsche's biggest SUV looking ever more comfortable in its skin as it ages - and with familiarity. The interior is all but unchanged, though welcome revisions include a new sports steering wheel that's an homage to the item in the 918 Spyder, fitted with paddle gear-shifters as standard rather than Porsche's woeful wheel-spoke rocker button switches of old.

It remains a nice place to sit. Not as commodious as some of its rivals, but then the Cayenne is billed as the sports car among SUVs so you can give it some latitude here. The boot's a decent enough size, and access to it is eased by the ability to drop the ride height at the rear on air suspension equipped cars. There's a Sport Plus button inside too, suspension changes bring more control and comfort and the engine-line-up is revised to offer better economy and emissions - while achieving even greater performance at the same time.

In this model those engine revisions are sweeping. While the other Cayennes feature developments of the existing units the Cayenne S gets a completely new engine under its subtly different bonnet. In place of the old V8 sits a V6 of 3.6 litres in capacity, its output boosted by pair of turbos. It's the same engine Porsche uses in the Macan. Here it develops 420hp and 550Nm of torque, both those numbers up from the old 4.8-litre naturally-aspirated V8 it replaces. It doesn't sound as good as that engine sadly, indeed, it's fairly muted in comparison, but then the greater economy is welcome, even if the near-as-damn-it on price Cayenne S Diesel monsters it in its ability to avoid the pumps. More of that later though...

How does it drive?

Porsche's chassis people have been busy stiffening and sharpening things up too, so the damper rates are firmer, while some trick new bushes increase control further. We'd hardly have described the previous Cayenne as lacking in agility, but the alterations are tangible, the Cayenne S quite indecently quick to turn in and hang on given its size and weight. Switch everything off, or to Sport Plus, and it'll wag its tail like a hard-charging 911. Mad. The new engine is rarely lacking, the eight-speed auto always finding the right ratio, and for all its added firmness the Cayenne still rides very convincingly indeed. All that talk of it being an SUV that's like a sports car isn't without substance then; same as it ever was, only better.

Verdict

Had we driven the Cayenne S in isolation then we'd be singing its praises; it's cleaner, faster and even more agile than the car it replaces. Thing is it's also priced within 2,000 of the Cayenne S Diesel, which does an even better approximation of a racing tractor with even greater economy and less emissions. It's faster too. Then there's the yet to be released plug-in E-Hybrid model, which is priced at the same point as the Cayenne S Diesel. It'll offer CO2 emissions of just 79g/km and an electric-only range of up to 20 miles. You need to pick your Cayenne wisely then, and the sensible money isn't on the Cayenne S, however improved it might be.

4 4 4 4 4 Exterior Design

4 4 4 4 4 Interior Ambience

3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 Passenger Space

3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 Luggage Space

4 4 4 4 4 Safety

4 4 4 4 4 Comfort

5 5 5 5 5 Driving Dynamics

3 3 3 3 3 Powertrain


Kyle Fortune - 16 Sep 2014



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2014 Porsche Cayenne S. Image by Dean Smith.2014 Porsche Cayenne S. Image by Dean Smith.2014 Porsche Cayenne S. Image by Dean Smith.2014 Porsche Cayenne S. Image by Dean Smith.2014 Porsche Cayenne S. Image by Dean Smith.

2014 Porsche Cayenne S. Image by Dean Smith.2014 Porsche Cayenne S. Image by Dean Smith.2014 Porsche Cayenne S. Image by Dean Smith.2014 Porsche Cayenne S. Image by Dean Smith.2014 Porsche Cayenne S. Image by Dean Smith.



2014 Porsche Cayenne S. Image by Dean Smith.
 

2014 Porsche Cayenne S. Image by Dean Smith.
 

2014 Porsche Cayenne S. Image by Dean Smith.
 

2014 Porsche Cayenne S. Image by Dean Smith.
 

2014 Porsche Cayenne S. Image by Dean Smith.
 

2014 Porsche Cayenne S. Image by Dean Smith.
 

2014 Porsche Cayenne S. Image by Dean Smith.
 

2014 Porsche Cayenne S. Image by Dean Smith.
 

2014 Porsche Cayenne S. Image by Dean Smith.
 






 

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