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AT the international launch of this generation Cayenne five years ago, the biggest wig present dismissed the very notion of Porsche making a diesel.

Even in an SUV a diesel would be simply too heavy, too inflexible, too common for Porsche.

Well, here's another diesel Porsche, the latest of which will by next year be an eight-model Cayenne range. Except, maybe not.

The basic Cayenne diesel V6 doesn't do enough to disguise its commonality with Volkswagen's Touareg and Audi's Q7 (same basis, same engine, same Slovakian assembly line). But Cayenne S Diesel, almost succeeds.

When we turned the key not a rattle was to be heard. On accelerating sharply out of the compound and toward the mountain passes above Graz, we just about turned around to express indignation at the practical joke so evidently played. The splendid V8 thrum could only come from a petrol engine. In acoustic respects alone, the S Diesel resembles a muscle car.


At $155,500 the S Diesel is some way from being the top whack Cayenne, sitting below the Turbo and GTS. It comes in some $4K over the petrol S - and would by any measure justify that premium and more.

Standard is air suspension. When set to optimum it comes so close to giving the sense that the Cayenne is one SUV that truly deserves the cliche "car-like".


It's all about that engine, the twin turbo diesel V8 adapted from cousin Audi then fettled and finessed to the degree described above. Putting out a 252kW and a mountainous 850Nm from 2000 revs, it out-pulls most any petrol engine.

Reaching 100km/h from standing in 5.7 seconds isn't bad for any 2.1 tonne missile, let alone one driven by diesel. It's barely more than a second slower than the 911 Carrera 4 Cabriolet, with which it shares the darkly magical Porsche traction management all-wheel-drive system. Combined with Porsche stability management, this settles any prattle about under or oversteer by removing the matter entirely from humans hands. In hard cornering, the inside rear wheel is relieved of responsibility by the one outside, setting up the up the most rapid corner exit. Turn it all off, or as off as possible, and see if you can do better. Or rather, don't. It's a question of constantly monitoring and apportioning torque, permitting the wheel than can to put down power.

A cruising range of some 1200km is claimed from the 100-litre tank at an ideal average of 8.3 litres/100km - a rate comparable to a Mazda3.


Loathe SUVs or merely hate them, the Cayenne is the least visually offensive of this breed. Those Porsche exterior accents do a remarkable job of disguising bulk.


Porsches don't get crashed in laboratories. While the Q7 anomalously scored only four stars when released, the Touareg got all five.


The tech' arsenal makes the Cayenne an unalloyed joy. For an SUV that is. Squeezing by and around other vehicles on high, narrow mountain roads should be the very definition of difficult in something of the Cayenne's displacement.

That it isn't says everything for the technical accomplishment of the Stuttgart car maker.

Hunched in its lowest setting, again, the "car like" cliche comes to mind. The merest throttle openings are enough to keep overtaking exposures to a sports sedan-like minimum, the constantly varying all-wheel-drive working so seam- lessly you scarcely suspect such electro-trickery's at play.

All the while there's that wonderful engine note. If you can detect diesel in that, you're paying too much attention to the noise and failing to enjoy the crushing torque that only turbo diesel can deliver.


A new departure and new prestige SUV benchmark.

PORSCHE: Never say never - Carsguide - Lifestyle - The Manly Daily
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