--
 
WATCH: Bentley's new 467kW Continental GT

The new third-gen Bentley Continental GT boasts 467kW, 900Nm and a top speed of 333km/h.

Meet VW's SA-bound baby SUV, the T-Cross

A disguised prototype of the T-Cross, VW's new baby crossover SUV, is being tested on public roads.

Porsche reckons it has built the best Cayenne yet: We drive the monstrous, luxury SUV

2018-09-15 13:52

Janine Van der Post

Porsche Cayenne

Image: Janine Van der Post/Wheels24

Porsche has launched its third-generation Cayenne, its most successful SUV yet. In 2017, the automaker delivered 246 000 units globally, making it a segment-leader.

It's a beast of a vehicle and yet to the untrained eye, it might look like just another large SUV. The automaker reckons the Cayenne combines typical Porsche performance with excellent everyday practicality. With a host of technology upgrades and design tweaks, the improvements are evident from the moment you hope inside.

More than just the price tag

It's only when you take in everything into account that comes with the Cayenne, that you realise the entire package is worth a lot more than its price tag.

READ: Porsche’s third-generation Cayenne arrives: Here’s all you need to know about the luxury SUV in SA

There are new powerful turbo engines, a new eight-speed Tiptronic S gearbox and new chassis systems. There are also new innovative display and control concepts with increased connectivity.

Porsche SA CEO Toby Venter says there will be a diesel version coming to local shores. He also believes that while Europe has started phasing out diesel models, it will make a comeback as there is still a massive demand in other markets.

2018 Porsche Cayenne navy

                                                                       Image: Janine Van der Post/Wheels24

Venter says: "Diesel models will be around in South Africa for a very long time, and also elsewhere in the world. Hybrids also growing. But Porsche will have all the solutions in the form of hybrid, diesel models, manual gearboxes and electric cars." 

The new Cayenne is sportier than before and even more precise and Porsche says its design accentuates the character of the car even more by being more elegant and expressive.

Three models were available to drive at launch earlier in September: Cayenne, Cayenne S and Cayenne Turbo. There are two newly developed six-cylinder engines. The 'base model' features a 250kW, 3.0-litre turbo engine delivering 29kW more than the previous model, and 450Nm.

The 2.9-litre V6 bi-turbo engine in the Cayenne S. The latter has 324kW (15kW more)/ 550Nm, and a claimed top speed of 265km/h. Mated with the optional Sport Chrono Package, the S model reaches 100km/h in less than five seconds.

The Cayenne sprints from zero to 100km/h time of 6.2 seconds (5.9 seconds with the Sport Chrono Package) and a claimed top speed of 245km/h. 

The Cayenne S hits 100km/h in just 5.2 seconds (4.9 seconds with Sport Chrono Package) and has a top speed of 265km/h.

The Cayenne Turbo features a new 4.0-litre V8 engine with twin turbocharging. It delivers 404kW (22kW more than before), and 770Nm (an increase of 20 Nm). It sprints from zero to 100km/h in 4.1 seconds (3.9 seconds with the optional Sport Chrono Package) and has a top speed of 286km/h.

So what's new?

Other than it's enhanced sportier looks, the new Cayenne is also loaded with more standard equipment, a plethora of innovative driver assistance systems and enhanced connectivity which includes in-car Wi-Fi hotspot. There's a much larger boot, a redeveloped chassis to deliver the best of both worlds in terms of comfort and performance.

The vehicle is also lighter than before, has even better driving performance and there's a new Turbo model, but more about that later.

Porsche says the Cayenne has always been based on the iconic 911 sports car, the brand’s SUV has been enhanced visually and features mixed tyres, as well as rear-axle steering for the first time.

And it's not just a sports SUV on tar. It's on-road and off-road capabilities have been improved with active all-wheel drive as standard, Porsche 4D Chassis Control, three-chamber air suspension and the Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control (PDCC) electronic roll stabilisation system. The Cayenne S is 65kg lighter than its predecessor and still remains perfectly suited to off-road use.

What's it like to drive?

I really can't get over how such a large vehicle feels like a raised sports car on the road. It's absolutely thrilling. Porsche has always had the ability to stir a world of emotions with its products and it's no different in its flagship burly SUV. From shrieking like a little girl in the manual version 911 Carerra T meres months ago, the Cayenne manages to extract the same reaction from me.

Despite the Cayenne being almost 60kg lighter and the addition of loads more improved systems and technology, there's one prime aspect that attributes to the sheer driving pleasure. The automaker has redeveloped its Sport Chrono Package based on the model of the sports car, with the Mode button on the steering wheel.

The modes to choose from are: Normal, Sport, Sport Plus and also an individually configurable mode.

2018 Porsche Cayenne 1

                                                                        Image: Janine Van der Post/Wheels24

Porsche says when the Sport Response button in the centre is pressed, it activates the engine and transmission maps, which are calibrated for maximum performance.

The Sport Chrono Package also includes a separate PSM Sport mode, in which the driver can utilise the new Cayenne’s full driving dynamics. And that's the magic right there.

To put it into words, for those who are less technically inclined when it comes to the operations of a vehicle of this stature, think of the Fast and the Furious movies. You know that little 'Nos' button the drivers hit when they're racing their quarter-mile runs? The Sport mode button has the same kind of effect. Or think of a power boost button when you're playing video games...

You'll want to push it all the time.

But there are other features which all plays a part in the performance of the Cayenne. Things such as its enlarged air intakes at the front, the fact that the wheels are 1" larger in diameter and there are now wider tyres on the rear axle.

2018 Porsche Cayenne rear

                                                                       Image: Janine Van der Post/Wheels24

The new 8-speed Tiptronic S gearbox makes for shorter response times and much sportier ratios in lower gears while the long-transmission eighth gear ensures low torques and optimised fuel consumption in more comfortable driving.

The Turbo model also features a new three-chamber air suspension with the active shock-absorber system (PASM), which allows the SUV to perform freakishly well in every driving condition, including bucketing winter rains in SA. And despite the foul weather, who doesn't like some fun on some wet roads?

Naturally, one would slow down and be more cautious, but in the Cayenne, you feel confident behind the wheel because you know it can challenge any conditions thrown at it. So the more it rains, the harder you drive. The quiet roads of the usual Porsche route are heaven to any petrolhead and certainly puts any vehicle through its paces.

Whether you are driving either of the three models, the entire reason behind the car is evident: the precision of a sports car, the comfort of a saloon and the adaptability of an off-road vehicle.

Presicive design, larger wheels

The Cayenne exudes typical Porsche design while preserving its character and enhancing it at the same time. The front is a sleeper, there are new daytime running lights and it has a sportier fly line and roofline. There's a new light strip in the rear between the car's broad shoulders which makes the vehicle appear sleeker.

The amount of technology loaded into the SUV is astounding. The design is clean and seamless and the interior is focused on the driver in mind. There is a full 12.3" touchscreen, 4 USB ports to keep everyone happy in the car and another highlight has to be the voice command tech.

2018 Porsche Cayenne

                                                                            Image: Janine Van der Post/Wheels24

Through the Porsche management system, you can say out loud "I'm cold" and the temperature will increase by 2 degrees. Instead of punching in places of interest or destinations, you can simply tell your Cayenne "Take me to Sandton City" and the vehicle will activate the navigation and direct you to your destination.

Wheels on the base model are standard 19" while the Turbo model rides on 21" standard wheels.

In term's of size and dimensions, the Cayenne is now 63mm longer, with no change to the wheelbase (2.89m). Whereas, the roof height has been reduced by nine millimetres (compared to its predecessor). The Cayenne is 4,918 millimetres in length and 1,983 millimetres in width (excluding mirrors), creating a noticeably enhanced elegant and streamlined silhouette. The luggage compartment volume has been increased by 100 litres and now offers 770 litres capacity... The iconic Porsche lettering spans across the redesigned rear lights, which feature a three-dimensional design and end-to-end narrow strip of LEDs.

First adaptive roof spoiler on an SUV in the world

The Cayenne is also the very first SUV in the world with roof spoiler positions part of the automaker's active aerodynamics.

It raises 20mm higher for performance mode, 40mm in Sport plus, 60mm for compensation and 80mm for the airbrake.

Porsche says, depending on the position of the spoiler, this optimises efficiency, increases downforce on the rear axle and, in the airbrake position, reduces the braking distance needed from higher speeds.

High-performance brakes

"At full braking from 250km/h, the SUV comes to a stop up to two metres earlier. The aerodynamic system, therefore, complements the new Porsche Surface Coated Brakes (PSCB), which are standard.

Porsche Cayenne

                                                                 Image: Janine Van der Post/Wheels24

The tungsten carbide layer applied to the steel discs increases braking performance and resistance to wear while reducing the amount of brake dust at the same time. This means less dirt on the rims. The top system remains the optionally fitted Porsche Ceramic Composite Brakes (PCCB).

Similar to the 911 and the Panamera, the new body of the Cayenne also uses an intelligent combination of alloy and steel. The exterior is made entirely of aluminium, the floorplan assembly, front section and all the chassis components are all made from alloy.

Another technical highlight is the lithium-ion polymer starter battery, which accounts for a weight saving of 10kg over the predecessor model. In total, the weight of the Cayenne when empty has been reduced from 2040kg to 1985kg (55kg) – in spite of the significantly extended range of equipment.

NEXT ON WHEELS24X

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.