When it came to the Cayenne they made a choice that is always popular – add more power. The Porsche Cayenne S Diesel now cranks out a mind-numbing 850 Nm.
The 4.2-litre biturbo V8 engine is obviously at the heart of the fun, and it is easy to become so absorbed by it that you forget about all the other great features. Certainly after the week I spent with the potent SUV I was still enthralled every time I pushed the accelerator and felt the surge of power, and we are talking about a very large vehicle which claims a 0 – 100 km/h time of 5.7 seconds.
When towing my trailer full of dogs I had to be gentle so as not to squash them in a pile at the back as the Cayenne dragged it forward as if it were not there. So effortlessly did it tow that even with the kennel bouncing behind it I could not detect much change in fuel consumption, which could be kept below 10l/100km on the open road.
Given the Cayenne S Diesel has a maximum towing capacity of 3.5 tons, a measure of itrs size and weight, I admit my puny trailer was no big challenge.
Two exhaust gas turbochargers supply the two cylinder banks and they have variable geometry (VTG) for better cylinder filling. To utilise the stored energy as effectively, the exhaust gas has a relatively high temperature as it enters the turbine.
The compressor compresses the combustion air up to 2.9 bar. However, the heat generated in this process is undesirable and the charged air is routed through the same high-performance intercooler that is used in the Cayenne Turbo.
For one, it results in significantly more effective cooling than conventional heat exchangers. For another, the intercooler exhibits significantly less resistance and thereby keeps pressure losses very low.
But obviously there is much more to the Cayenne S Diesel than its overwhelming grunt. The engine is exceptionally smooth, as is the ride, and there really appears to be no downside to diesel with this Porsche.
The car also has a Tiptronic S eight-speed automatic transmission which like all else is beautifully smooth. It is able to change shift patterns for off-road driving and also does not shift while cornering.
The truely lovely thing about the Cayenne S Diesel is that it can be driven using that engine power the traction and handling dynamics allow for extremely sporty driving, even though it is an SUV. A big part of the reason for this is the Porsche traction management system or PTM.
This allows drivers to get the maximum from the all wheel drive system. PTM, in coordination with Porsche Stability Management (PSM), allows as much drive torque to be applied to each individual wheel as they can transmit effectively without loss of grip.
Given the amount of torque available it is rather comforting. PTM also has the automatic brake differential (ABD) for improved traction control, anti-slip control (ASR) for improved vehicle stability and a switchable hill control assistant (Porsche Hill Control, PHC) for controlled descents on steep hills.
Porsche Traction Management with active all-wheel drive directly applies power to the rear axle. The extremely compact transfer case of the all-wheel drive is a so-called hang-on solution in a separate housing that follows the transmission.
The multi-plate clutch that features electronic control by an electric motor regulates the distribution of drive power to the front axle with full variability, and there is no fixed base distribution. If slip increases at the rear wheels e.g. during acceleration, a stronger response by the multi-plate clutch distributes more power to the front wheels.
On its exterior the new top diesel model is also a Cayenne S without compromises, and it bears the typical characteristics of the eight-cylinder variants. Black fins at the front highlight the open air inlets and it sports silver-coloured brake callipers.
It was the exterior that prevented me doing any serious offroading as I really did not want to return the vehicle covered in scratches or worse.
However, I did play in the mud a bit and the Porsche behaved magnificently. The tractions is excellent and there is so much torque available it is as if you had a low range box on hand automatically.
Porsche Cayennes have, despite dire predictions to the contrary, proved extremely popular and for those who dont have the R971 000 or, inexplicably, the inclination for a Cayenne S Diesel there are many choices from R794 000:
UCayenne 300 hp V6 engine, six-speed transmission, active all-wheel drive.
UCayenne Diesel, 245 hp V6 engine, eight-speed Tiptronic S, permanent all-wheel drive.
UCayenne S Diesel, 382 hp V8 engine, eight-speed Tiptronic S, active all-wheel drive.
UCayenne S, 400 hp V8 engine, eight-speed Tiptronic S, active all-wheel drive.
UCayenne S Hybrid with 380 hp power output, eight-speed Tiptronic S, permanent all-wheel drive.
UCayenne GTS, 420 hp V8 engine, eight-speed Tiptronic S, active all-wheel drive.
UCayenne Turbo, 500 hp V8 bi-turbo engine, eight-speed Tiptronic S, active all-wheel drive.