Porsche announces the 2013 Porsche Cayenne Turbo S: 550 horsepower in 2,250 kg/5,000 lbs, give or take some man maths. Germany says it’s “the top athlete in SUV clothing: all of the basic Cayenne properties such as versatile offroad capabilities, high ride comfort and superior towing power have been preserved.” 0-60 is now 4.5 seconds and the top speed is 283 kmh/175 mph.
A 3 year-old, £25,000 used Porsche Cayenne diesel does “all of the basic Cayenne properties” Porsche mentions more than well enough, and proves that you don’t need 550 hp in a keep-it-for-years Porsche utility. Keen as it looks, what does a Cayenne Turbo S add to the best execution of a Stuttgart SUV?
It comes with active suspension management, dynamic chassis control, torque vectoring and standard Sports Chrono. It’s got glossy exterior trims, specially designed 21-inch rims, and bi-colour leather inside. It costs €150,000 in standard form, but does no practical SUV job better than the oil-burning benchmark. It’s shinier, but horses don’t care about that when they’re standing in a box, bolted to the back.
Ferry Porsche’s favourite cars always encapsulated a sweet-spot of engineering, performance and common sense: bling was not Ferry’s thing. China is currently awash with people who buy stuff because it’s the dearest, but will China buy enough of this to make it worth bothering with? What about Europe? The prestige market here is struggling, and Porsche has already cut production in response. Its hard not to feel that more power means more irrelevance out west, as luxury Europe contracts and California fuel prices hit an all-time high.
Cayenne Diesel has many of the qualities held in high regard by Porsche’s founders, but the Cayenne Turbo S is not Porsche as many know and love it. Stuttgart better hope that China stays rich: let’s hope it has plans for smaller, lighter modes of transport to support the founder’s vision.