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

First drive: Porsche Cayenne S Diesel
Porsche revises its Cayenne line-up, but the changes still leave the S Diesel as its most appealing prospect.

   



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Porsche Cayenne S Diesel

5 5 5 5 5

Mid-life revisions to the Porsche Cayenne SUV bring some subtle styling and suspension tweaks and the promise of greater economy and lower emissions. For the best of both worlds the S Diesel remains the ultimate version, with pace to rival its bonkers Turbo relation, at two-thirds of the price.

Test Car Specifications

Model tested: Porsche Cayenne S Diesel
Pricing: 61,424
Engine: 4.1-litre V8 turbodiesel
Transmission: four-wheel drive, eight-speed automatic
Body style: five-door, five-seat SUV
CO2 emissions: 209g/km (Band K, 285 per year)
Combined economy: 35.3mpg
Top speed: 157mph
0-62mph: 5.4 seconds
Power: 385hp at 3,750rpm
Torque: 850Nm at 2,000- to 2,750rpm

What's this?

Arguably the best Cayenne you can buy. Like the rest of the range the S Diesel has been given a mid-life refresh, but unlike them there have been no leaps in power and economy. There are some styling revisions, which include a reworking of the bonnet, front wings, headlights, tailgate, rear lights and rear roof spoiler, though as extensive as that list reads the changes are subtle to behold.

Not that there was much wrong with the Cayenne as it was really, especially in S Diesel guise. Pick through the minutiae of the data between it and its predecessor and there are a handful of ponies added to the power count, the S Diesel now receiving 385hp from its 4.1-litre V8 turbodiesel. Acceleration has improved marginally too, 62mph now reached in just 5.4 seconds (5.3 if you opt for Sport Chrono) while efficiency is a touch better, CO2 dropping from 218- to 209g/km.

Inside there's very little to differentiate it from before, the cabin as pleasingly laid out and operable as before. The only obvious revision is the addition of a new steering wheel, the sports wheel sharing its style with that of the 918 Spyder hypercar, and adding paddles for the eight-speed Tiptronic automatic as standard. The Cayenne retains a conventional automatic transmission while its sports car relations have dual-clutch PDK gearboxes.

How does it drive?

No other word for it than remarkable. The V8's torque output is astonishing, some 100Nm more than the range-topping petrol V8 Turbo can muster. It, allied with up to 385hp, incredible response to the accelerator and a swift-shifting auto makes for a quite ludicrously potent SUV. The engine's mighty output is backed up by a chassis that's in the realms of the unbelievable for something so heavy and tall. Porsche's engineers have been busy honing the dampers and bushes, the latter being trick hydraulic items, allowing stiffer rates all-round but retaining a compliance that affords the Cayenne S Diesel a fine, cossetting ride quality. There's the ability to alter the damper settings via PASM (Porsche Active Suspension Management), but there's no need to pick anything other than Comfort, the others merely adding a busier, less comfortable edge to the suspension.

If the ride and engine impress then the handling only adds to the Cayenne's ability, and really does live up to Porsche's positioning of it alongside its acclaimed sports cars in the dealerships. The steering is supremely accurate, the Cayenne's nose tucking in with the vigour of a low, light hatchback, the rear following it faithfully, or even allowing some corrective lock via oversteer if you've the space to indulge. For an SUV it's quite hilariously entertaining and able, and it's impossible not to be endlessly amused by what it's capable of.

Verdict

Porsche's Cayenne has always been an SUV with otherworldly talent, and the S Diesel is the sweetest spot in the range. It offers near Turbo pace at Cayenne S prices (some 30k less than the Turbo) with economy and emissions to better both, too. Only the standard Diesel version is more efficient - or the forthcoming plug-in e-Hybrid model. Until we sample that the S Diesel is the only Cayenne we'd have. It really is that good.

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

5 5 5 5 5 Powertrain


Kyle Fortune - 24 Sep 2014



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2015 Porsche Cayenne S Diesel. Image by Dean Smith.2015 Porsche Cayenne S Diesel. Image by Dean Smith.2015 Porsche Cayenne S Diesel. Image by Dean Smith.2015 Porsche Cayenne S Diesel. Image by Dean Smith.2015 Porsche Cayenne S Diesel. Image by Dean Smith.

2015 Porsche Cayenne S Diesel. Image by Dean Smith.2015 Porsche Cayenne S Diesel. Image by Dean Smith.2015 Porsche Cayenne S Diesel. Image by Dean Smith.2015 Porsche Cayenne S Diesel. Image by Dean Smith.2015 Porsche Cayenne S Diesel. Image by Dean Smith.



2015 Porsche Cayenne S Diesel. Image by Dean Smith.
 

2015 Porsche Cayenne S Diesel. Image by Dean Smith.
 

2015 Porsche Cayenne S Diesel. Image by Dean Smith.
 

2015 Porsche Cayenne S Diesel. Image by Dean Smith.
 

2015 Porsche Cayenne S Diesel. Image by Dean Smith.
 

2015 Porsche Cayenne S Diesel. Image by Dean Smith.
 

2015 Porsche Cayenne S Diesel. Image by Dean Smith.
 

2015 Porsche Cayenne S Diesel. Image by Dean Smith.
 

2015 Porsche Cayenne S Diesel. Image by Dean Smith.
 

2015 Porsche Cayenne S Diesel. Image by Dean Smith.
 






 

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