Driven: 2014 Porsche Cayenne

Driven: 2014 Porsche Cayenne

If we ever had to build an SUV with a Porsche badge on it, people would buy it. So said Ferdinand Porsche, founder of Porsche cars when once quizzed on a possibility of the company dabbling in the SUV market, this at a time when rumours were rife that they were looking at such prospects. Fast forward 12 years and the carmakers have global sales of about 276 000 units of the first-generation Cayenne and 303 000 units of the second-generation model. In fact, in the instance of the latter, some 80 000 units were sold in 2013 alone, which truly cements the success the model has charted in recent years.

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There is no denying the fact that the model remains an integral part of the conglomerate’s success and has also spearheaded the research and development of other models within the stable. This week, we travelled to Barcelona in Spain to test the updated variant of the second-generation model, which was launched back in 2010. Among the most obvious cosmetic updates are the headlights, rear lights and number plate recess, roof spoiler, tailpipes, and new bonnet creases. All models come standard with an electric tailgate and Bi-Xenon head-lights with four-point LED daytime driving lights. The flagship Turbo variant will feature LED headlights as standard.

Porsche 3 - Ignition Live

Four models are available from launch: the Cayenne S with a 3.6-litre V6 biturbo petrol engine pushing out 309kW and 550Nm (replaces the normally aspirated V8 engine); the Cayenne Diesel with a 3.0-litre V6 turbo diesel making 193kW and 580Nm; Cayenne S Diesel 4.2-litre V8 turbo-diesel with 283kW and 850Nm; and the Cayenne Turbo with a 4.8- litre V8 biturbo petrol to churn out 382kW and 750Nm. All models come standard with an eight-speed automatic transmission, replete with steering-mounted paddles. The Cayenne S Hybrid will be unveiled separately, at the Paris Motor Show.

Porsche 4 - Ignition Live

Driving the models in balmy Barcelona, I am reminded once again how solidly hewn the car is and just how plush the appointments remain. I am in the Cayenne S petrol and the engine is, at worst, responsive. It is a similar motor that does duty in the Macan Turbo. It is sonorous in its demeanour, smooth in its operation, and manages to hurl the vehicle up any road at a fair lick. Handling is superb, with just a hint of understeer in the tightest of hair-pins. That aside, the model feels any-thing but a lumbering giant of an SUV, managing, quite remarkably, to defy and mask its 2-ton plus heft. People say power corrupts and the headlining Turbo variant is the one the heart desires, but perhaps not quite the mind as the prices below suggest. It has all the right quotas of power and aural splendour to have even the most constitutional government MP lusting to take command of the helm and powering to the next official meeting. If bragging rights and stupendous performance are the mains on your menu, it does not get any more delectable than this.

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The Cayenne S Diesel with its 850Nm is perhaps the one to go for should the diplomatic conundrum of blending performance and economy ever arise when choosing your Cayenne. Although turbo lag still seems to plague the engine in the lower gears, once those turbo impellers spool up, then you ride a constant wave of torque that make overtaking slower traffic an absolute cinch. The only criticism, if I am honest, is the fact that the torque converter transmission lacks the dexterity of the dual clutch PDK gearbox. Nonetheless, considering that the model will occasionally tow heavy items such horse boxes, caravans, or even a 911 race car — then the robust, old-school, gearbox is the logical choice in this application.

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Since the first-generation model, one of the vehicle’s fortes was its off-road capabilities and the present generation is no exception. To prove its adeptness on rough terrain, we subjected the models to some rock strewn inclines, steep hill descents and even wading in water. The vehicle managed to conquer all the exercises with great aplomb. So, in essence, the models have been made more powerful and efficient while retaining all the inherent hallmarks. According to Porsche SA, while the order books are open, first deliveries in South Africa are expected at the end of next month. Prices will include a three-year/90 000km maintenance plan.

The Facts: 2014 Porsche Cayenne

V6 Diesel
Engine: 2 967cc, V6, turbo-diesel
Power: 193kW at 4 000rpm
Torque: 580Nm at 1 750rpm
0-100km/h: 7.3 seconds
Top Speed: 221km/h
Fuel consumption: 9.3l/ 100km
Pricing: R921 000

S V6 Petrol
Engine: 3 604cc, V6, biturbo petrol
Power: 309kW at 6 000rpm
Torque: 550Nm at 1 350rpm
0-100km/h: 5.5 seconds
Top Speed: 259km/h
Fuel consumption: 9.8 l/100km
Pricing: R986 000

S Diesel
Engine: 4 134cc, V8, biturbo diesel
Power: 283kW at 3 7500rpm
Torque: 850Nm at 2 000rpm
0-100km/h: 5.4 seconds
Top Speed: 252km/h
Fuel consumption: 8.0 l/100km
Pricing: R1 151 000

Engine: 2 995cc, V6, biturbo
Electric motor: 70kW at 2 200rpm and 310Nm from standstill
Power: 245kW at 5 500rpm (306kW combined)
Torque: 440Nm at 3 000rpm (590Nm combined)
0-100km/h in 5.9 seconds
Top Speed: 243km/h
Fuel consumption: 3.4l/100km
Pricing: R1 333 000

Engine: 4 806cc, V8, biturbo petrol
Power: 382kW at 6 000rpm
Torque: 750Nm at 2 250rpm
Top Speed: 279km/h
0-100km/h in 4.5 seconds
Fuel consumption: 11.5l/ 100km
Pricing: R1 760 000

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