New Porsche Cayenne celebrates brand's 70th
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Porsche New Zealand is celebrating the brand’s 70th anniversary this weekend with the launch of the third-generation Cayenne SUV.
The base model Cayenne and Cayenne S (pictured) are on sale now, to be followed by a hybrid version, and then the Cayenne Turbo.
Historically, there has been a diesel version, popular with Kiwis, but tightened regulations in Europe mean Stuttgart is producing only petrol engines for the third-gen Cayenne.
Two newly developed six-cylinder petrol engines will initially be available. The entry Cayenne gets the 3-litre turbo producing 250kW of power, up 29kW on the previous version.
The Cayenne S gets the 2.9-litre V6 biturbo engine producing 324kW of power, up 15kW, and 550Nm of torque.
The Turbo will have a 4-litre biturbo V8 producing 404kW of power and 770Nm of torque.
Porsche NZ says the Cayenne S is set to be the line-up’s biggest seller.
The Cayenne gets a new eight-speed Tiptronic S gearbox, new chassis systems plus connectivity systems taken from the new Panamera.
It also gets new rear-axle steering, air suspension, roll stabilisation work with the integrated Porsche 4D Chassis Control system. The system works in real time, optimising handling even further. With the exception of the active PASM damper system, all other chassis systems are new developments.
For the first time, the Cayenne is available with electric rear-axle steering. The system, tested both in the 911 and the Panamera, improves agility around bends and stability when changing lanes at high speeds. The reduced turning circle also makes everyday handling easier.
The all-wheel-drive also has four off-road settings that I used during our photo shoot, including mud, gravel, sand or rock.
Porsche says the Cayenne is closer to the 911 than ever but it also acknowledges the Audi-engineered MLB modular-longitudinal architecture, making it lighter and more advanced than the previous Cayenne’s platform.
At first glance there’s no mistaking the Cayenne; the huge bonnet, the large rear and dominating grille, but before you can say “it looks just like the previous model”, think again.
The roof is 9mm lower, it’s 63mm longer and 23mm wider, with a wheelbase of 2895mm.
But it’s the four-point LED spotlights in each front headlight that makes it look futuristic while, at the rear, a light bar wraps around the back with the Porsche badge now incorporated into it. At night, the rear light bar is sci-fi looking — but during the day, it’s easy to spot the gen three from the previous model.
While driving the Cayenne S this week, I had the owner of a gen two overtake me and then slow so he could check out the new model. He even nipped behind me for a better look.
The new Cayenne sits on 21-inch tyres as before, but for the first time, 22-inch will be available in September.
Inside, the Cayenne gets a complete refresh – and for the better.
Gone are the multiple buttons and instead it gets the Panamera’s look with glass touch surface panels with tactile response so you know when you’ve engaged a function.
It also has a split screen 12.3-inch full-HD touchscreen infotainment panel while the cockpit retains a more Porsche-style feel with rev counter front and centre, and a digital speedo just below it.
The layout and controls are nicer to touch, simpler and more intuitive to use.
We were the first in New Zealand to drive the new Cayenne S, with only a few kilometres on the clock when we drove it away from Porsche NZ.
Priced from $187,800, my model was specced up to $207,550 thanks to the options of sports tailpipes in black ($1690) the 21-inch RS Spyder designed wheels ($5040), the $3500 adaptive cruise control and soft close doors ($1450).
But it’s the optional Sport Chrono package ($2250) that Porsche says knocks 0.4 of a second off of the 0-100km/h time of 5.2 seconds and adds a Sport+ setting, a dash-mounted analogue stopwatch.
Despite it being just over two tonnes, the ease of handling was impressive. It was adept at making a quick overtaking move, and you know that there was plenty of power available if needed.
The Cayenne revolutionised Porsche when it was revealed in 2002, with sceptics incredulous that it could produce a sports SUV. But with more than 700,000 global sales, the brand knows punters want power and performance from their “off-roader”.
The new Cayenne S has that in spades. Taking technology from the 911, the large SUV can steer into corners at speed, and deftly turn out without worries.
In Sport mode the suspension changes notably from comfort, giving firmer ride quality.
On a wet and at times slippery road surface heading to our photo shoot, the Cayenne effortless handled the patchy conditions.
Porsche NZ says many of the new Cayenne buyers will be trading up from the previous models.
What will be interesting is whether Porsche Macan owners decide they want or need the latest technology — and more room — that the Cayenne provides.
Porsche Cayenne S
Engine: 2.9-LITRE V6 BITURBO PETROL ENGINE (324KW/550NM)
Pros: New technology inside and out
Cons: Top end of budget