The Cayenne doesn’t always gel with extreme Porsche loyalists, the sorts of sports car fanatics who would give up air conditioning in order to gain a few tenths of a second around a track. And while the enthusiast fringe may continue to shrug off the sport ute for not conforming to their idea of what a Porsche should be, the latest generation of Cayennes have shed weight, gained horsepower, and made strides in efficiency. There are a total of four variants to choose from: the Turbo, S Hybrid , S , and base Cayenne .
At the leading edge of the Cayenne lineup is the Turbo, a high performance model powered by a twin-turbocharged V-8 that produces 500 horsepower and 516 lb-ft of torque. In addition to the updated exterior and interior styling, the Cayenne Turbo benefits from a new eight-speed Tiptronic S transmission and start/stop technology for improved fuel economy.
What’s to Like
Truly driver-oriented SUVs are few and far between, and the Cayenne Turbo hits the sport utility performance niche square on the head. Thanks to its razor sharp responsiveness—especially when “Sport” mode is engaged—the top dog Cayenne accelerates with satisfying urgency, stops on a dime, and turns far better than any high-profile, 4,784 pound vehicle has any right to.
What’s Not to Like
You’ll pay dearly for the privilege of owning Porsche’s über powerful Cayenne Turbo; starting at $107,100, our loaner’s window sticker grew to $115,470 when all was said and done. As much as we fell in love with the Cayenne Turbo’s mind-bending performance, the sticker shock made the idea of ownership a bit hard to swallow. Iffy rearward visibility and a small rear view mirror don’t help much in the way of confidence; too bad parking sensors are standard, but a rearview camera isn’t.
Climb behind the Cayenne Turbo’s leather swathed steering wheel, and you’ll find yourself at the helm of a tall but disarmingly fleet vehicle. A host of center stack-mounted buttons control everything from suspension stiffness, center differential locking, and ride height to traction control and “Sport” settings. Click the shifter into “D,” and acceleration is swift and effortless; zooming from 0 to 60 mph takes a mere 4.4 seconds according to Porsche’s typically conservative estimates, quicker than their venerable 911 Carrera S .
Even more eye opening is the Cayenne Turbo’s on-road behavior when in “Sport” mode; throttle response is noticeably sharper, and the smooth-shifting eight-speed Tiptronic S transmission works more diligently to find and hold the most aggressive gear. Handling feels remarkable considering the...