Porsche Cayenne S

Good enough to gain redemption for all the sins of the original

DANIEL GARDNER

FIRSTDRIVES

SPECS Model Engine Max Power Max Torque Transmission Weight 0-100km/h Fuel economy Price On sale Porsche Cayenne S 2894cc V6 (90į), dohc, 24v, twin-turbo 324kW @ 5700-6600rpm 550Nm @ 1800-5500rpm 8-speed automatic 2020kg 4.9sec (claimed; with Sport Chrono) 9.2L/100km $155,000 (estimated) Q1 2018

FIRST OVERSEAS DRIVE

I CAN still remember wincing when Porsche announced the most un-Porsche like addition to its Stuttgart stable Ė the Cayenne. How could a lumbering all-wheel drive possibly uphold the Porsche mantra, I cursed. But that was 15 years ago and, in the meantime, the large SUV has categorically silenced its naysayers.

The gen-one Cayenne might have looked like a kidís 911 pedal car scaled up for adults, but it was one of the first to flirt with the idea that two tonnes of off-roadcapable metal can be fast and fun to drive. Its replacement stepped roads. The interiorís been tidied, the most obvious beneficiary being the simplified fascia design.

Where the previous versionís dash was littered with a multitude of switches and, even worse, blanks for lower-spec cars, the new Cayenne uses solid-state panels with haptic switches and a massive 12.3-inch screen.

With the exception of one occasion when the navigation froze, rebooted and forgot all up dynamics and performance another rung, and wrapped the compelling package up in a shell that someone other than its mother could love.

But itís nearly 2018 and while many sports and luxury car manufacturers initially resisted the allure of a burgeoning SUV market, virtually all have now given in, creating more competition for the Cayenne than it has ever had.

The third-generation car arrives at a knife fight with quite the armoury, and a svelte new physique courtesy of Volkswagen Groupís MLB Evo modular platform. It features an initial more challenging than a damp carpark, we had the opportunity to take the big Porsche on a brief wilderness adventure that demonstrated its off-road driving mode can take it further than most will dare. More relevantly, however, its on-road manners are what really impress.

With the drive mode switch left in normal, the Cayenne favours a safer driving manner, leaning into understeer on slippery tight control thanks stabilisation. the torque as altered A also Cayenne the range of engines that doesnít appear to include a fizzer. And just get a load of those looks.

The early signs are good then, and a first blast behind the wheel across the stunning island of Crete didnít disappoint. Unlike the weathered Greek scenery that is punctuated with unfinished, often dilapidated buildings and beaten, abandoned cars, Porscheís new Cayenne range appears polished, refined and complete.

While a 404kW Turbo flagship and base 250kW Cayenne will bookend the initial range when it arrives in early 2018, I grabbed the keys to the 324kW control and resistance to roll thanks to electromechanical roll stabilisation.

Itís possible to actually feel the clever transmission moving torque around under the Cayenne as the accelerator position is altered in longer, faster corners.

A fluid, direct steering set-up also imparts confidence that the Cayenne will keep its bulk out of the autumn thistles.

Tractable power and torque Cayenne S and was greeted by a waxy-leather seat that offer an excellent driving position, and a second row that feels almost as supportive.

The cabin is clearly tailored for four-plus-one and in this segment, the lack of a third row and seven seats is likely to deter some customers with large families, although the new version provides some recompense with an extra 100 litres of boot space.

The Cayenne S is a wholly cosseting place to cover kilometres, with an eerily silent and smooth ride even over the somewhat agricultural local Cayenne S has a more confident, lighter feel for a driving enthusiast when compared with other highperformance large SUVs, including the Audi SQ7 which carries a huge V8 diesel in its nose.

Acceleration is strong (4.9 seconds to 100km/h, claims Porsche) and would leave Cayenne S customers wanting little compared with the Turboís V8 might, particularly as the V6 brings its own satisfying low-rev soundtrack and high-end holler.

Slowing down doesnít bother the Porsche either, thanks to its new optional mirror-finish tungsten-coated disc package that initially feels a little like could a lumbering all-wheel drive possibly uphold the Porsche mantra, I cursed. But that was 15 years ago and, in the meantime, the large SUV has categorically silenced its naysayers.

The gen-one Cayenne might have looked like a kidís 911 pedal car scaled up for adults, but it was one of the first to flirt with the idea that two tonnes of off-roadcapable metal can be fast and fun to drive. Its replacement stepped roads. The interiorís been tidied, the most obvious beneficiary being the simplified fascia design.

Where the previous versionís dash was littered with a multitude of switches and, even worse, blanks for lower-spec cars, the new Cayenne uses solid-state panels with haptic switches and a massive 12.3-inch screen.

With the exception of one occasion when the navigation froze, rebooted and forgot all our saved destinations, the result is a tidy and classy system that doesnít sacrifice intuitive operation.

But staring at a touchscreen is to waste the spectacular Crete road vista, which dives and twists from chilly mountain towns that could have been lifted from a remote Afghan village and provides a solid workout for the Porscheís dynamics.

While the majority of all Cayennes sold in Australia will likely never see any terrain many sports and luxury car manufacturers initially resisted the allure of a burgeoning SUV market, virtually all have now given in, creating more competition for the Cayenne than it has ever had.

The third-generation car arrives at a knife fight with quite the armoury, and a svelte new physique courtesy of Volkswagen Groupís MLB Evo modular platform. It features an initial more challenging than a damp carpark, we had the opportunity to take the big Porsche on a brief wilderness adventure that demonstrated its off-road driving mode can take it further than most will dare. More relevantly, however, its on-road manners are what really impress.

With the drive mode switch left in normal, the Cayenne favours a safer driving manner, leaning into understeer on slippery tight turns with a more placid map for throttle response and gear changes. But with the dial spun to Sport or Sport Plus, the variable four-wheel-drive system favours the rear axle. Optional rear steering is also offered for the first time on a Cayenne, as are mixedwidth tyres, the rubber on this car being 20mm wider at the rear than the front.

Turn into a faster corner with a little more pace, and the Cayenne settles in with impressive grip, body Volkswagen Crete didnít disappoint. Unlike the weathered Greek scenery that is punctuated with unfinished, often dilapidated buildings and beaten, abandoned cars, Porscheís new Cayenne range appears polished, refined and complete.

While a 404kW Turbo flagship and base 250kW Cayenne will bookend the initial range when it arrives in early 2018, I grabbed the keys to the 324kW control and resistance to roll thanks to electromechanical roll stabilisation.

Itís possible to actually feel the clever transmission moving torque around under the Cayenne as the accelerator position is altered in longer, faster corners.

A fluid, direct steering set-up also imparts confidence that the Cayenne will keep its bulk out of the autumn thistles.

Tractable power and torque complete the dynamic Cayenne S package with a 2.9-litre twinturbo V6 providing the punch.

Peak grunt of 550Nm is in at 1800rpm for eager pace off the mark, but the slick bent-six pulls hard all the way to a maximum power output of 324kW at 6600rpm. The engineís closely related to that found in the latest Audi RS4, so even a midrange Cayenne purchase nets you a serious powerplant.

With the V6 stacking fewer kilos over the front axle, the wheel that Cayenne S and was greeted by a waxy-leather seat that offer an excellent driving position, and a second row that feels almost as supportive.

The cabin is clearly tailored for four-plus-one and in this segment, the lack of a third row and seven seats is likely to deter some customers with large families, although the new version provides some recompense with an extra 100 litres of boot space.

The Cayenne S is a wholly cosseting place to cover kilometres, with an eerily silent and smooth ride even over the somewhat agricultural local Cayenne S has a more confident, lighter feel for a driving enthusiast when compared with other highperformance large SUVs, including the Audi SQ7 which carries a huge V8 diesel in its nose.

Acceleration is strong (4.9 seconds to 100km/h, claims Porsche) and would leave Cayenne S customers wanting little compared with the Turboís V8 might, particularly as the V6 brings its own satisfying low-rev soundtrack and high-end holler.

Slowing down doesnít bother the Porsche either, thanks to its new optional mirror-finish tungsten-coated disc package that initially feels a little like cold carbon ceramic brakes but builds with firm pedal feel and progressive clamping right up to ABS intervention.

While the notion of any large SUV wearing a pedigree sportscar producerís badge will probably never sit entirely comfortably with some, the Porsche Cayenne S is now three generations into convincing sceptics that heavy doesnít have to equal slow, ample practicality doesnít amount to dull, and big can be beautiful.

PLUS & MINUS

Potent V6 power; rewarding dynamics; sophisticated looks; interior No third-row seating; most enticing features are optional

This is a lively chassis that belies both the weight and SUV proportions

Hot Cayenne

For a little extra pepper on also offering the flagship Turbo, which shares the same 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 of the Panamera Turbo, meaning a very handy 404kW and 770Nm.

Zero to 100km/h flashes up in 4.1sec (or 3.9sec when optioned with the Sport Chrono pack).

Featuring active aero and PCSB brakes, until the inevitable Turbo S version is announced, this one does a very convincing job of accelerating, stopping and carving corners like anything but a two-tonneplus high-rider. your Cayenne, Porsche is l ff i th fl hi

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