Porsche has given the Cayenne, their best-selling sporty SUV, a thorough makeover – and the result is a genuinely special vehicle. AOL Cars put the car to the test at the Porsche Driving Experience, Silverstone, where there is a thrilling fast-track, acceleration/braking straights plus a kick plate and skid pan to demonstrate how cars handle in treacherous conditions. Not surprisingly, the new Cayenne can easily cope with whatever is thrown at it...
What is it?
It's the beefed-up and beautified sporty SUV from Porsche, with all models having more power and higher torque than their predecessors. The all-wheel-drive car has undergone a thorough exterior design overhaul (the only elements that haven't changed are the doors and the roof) and the cabin is pretty special too. As the guys from Porsche say, they have overcome a host of apparent contradictions with Cayenne, the company's best-selling vehicle in the UK and around the world. It's very comfortable, spacious, you can load it up with the family's luggage, but if you want to push on or go off-road, it'll happily oblige.
As we've said, more power and higher torque is available across the range, with the added benefit of lower fuel consumption. The new Cayenne S E-Hybrid is being hailed by Porsche as a world first and in the new Cayenne S, a 3.6-litre V6 bi-turbo engine replaces the 4.8-litre V8 naturally-aspirated unit of old. The other engines in the range have been tweaked for improved fuel economy and CO2 emissions.
What's the spec like?
As you'd expect, comprehensive. The new-generation Cayenne comes with more standard equipment than its predecessor. This includes bi-xenon headlights; an automatic tailgate; a multi-function sports steering wheel with shift paddles; stainless steel door sills; a tyre-pressure monitoring system and an audio system that can easily be connected to external devices. The Porsche Car Connect smartphone app is available as an option for the first time and is a standard feature in the Cayenne S E-Hybrid, and features trick functions such as remote charge monitoring and a car pre-heating function. In addition, all Cayennes have been equipped with the fuel saving coasting function familiar from other Porsche models.
BMW's X5 is the closest you're going to get to the Porsche's off-road sports car recipe, though the Mercedes ML and imperious Range Rover are better bets if you prefer a more relaxed, luxurious experience.
What's it like to drive?
With apologies to Craig Revel Horwood: fab-u-lous. As you'd expect, the car oozes quality and refinement. All Porsche customers are whisked away to the company's UK driving experience at Silverstone for half a day, and we were treated to the same experience to mark the Cayenne's arrival. With a stunning turn of speed, excellent handling on the track, and braking that almost seemed to defy the laws of physics, we were left in awe of the Cayenne's capabilities. It wasn't too shabby on the B-roads of Northamptonshire either.
The AOL Cars verdict
There is absolutely no reason why the Cayenne success story won't continue with this latest iteration of the car. A pioneer when it was launched in 2002, it made the idea of a sports car in the SUV segment a reality, and makes a valuable contribution to profitability at Porsche – hardly surprising! And it continues to lead the field when it comes to putting the fun in functionality. Good work, Porsche.
Model: Porsche Cayenne Diesel
Engine: 3.0-litre V6 turbo-diesel
Max speed: 137mph
0-62mph: 7.3 seconds
MPG: 41.5-42.8 mpg (combined)
Emissions: 173-179 g/km CO2