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Discussion Starter · #1 ·

A Porsche SUV powered by a VW diesel engine. If you think the very notion of this would have Dr. Ferdinand Porsche spinning in his crypt, you’d be wrong. Being an engineer first and foremost, and having started the Porsche diesel-powered tractor program in the 1930s, the good doctor would surely approve of this all-wheel-drive oil-burner.

The fact that it is arguably the best Cayenne in the stable doesn’t hurt.

New for 2013, and carrying a base price of $64,500 (it’s the second most affordable vehicle in the Cayenne lineup), the Cayenne diesel could very well become the bestselling Cayenne model here in Canada. We seem to like our premium diesel SUVs (the Canadian take-rate on the Mercedes ML- and GL-Class is about 70 percent diesel), and with its competitive sticker, fine driving experience, and parsimonious fuel consumption, it presents itself as all the Cayenne you’d ever reasonably need.

I say “reasonably” because there will always be the faction who require the conceptually questionable but undeniably nutty-fast Turbo models.

This is not to imply the all-wheel-drive Cayenne Diesel is slow. The 3.0L twin-turbo V6 may only produce 240 hp, but the wallop of 406 lb-ft from 1,750 rpm means there is insistent urge under your right foot at all times. Throttle response is a bit lazy however, but selecting sport mode mitigates this issue and calls up a more aggressive shift map for the smooth eight-speed Tiptronic that keeps the engine in the sweet spot of its torque band. This, of course, will not help fuel economy.

You can shift the Tiptronic manually but proper shift paddles are not found here – just those annoying push-me-pull-you thingies on the steering wheel spokes that Porsche has blessedly phased out of its sports cars. It’s a moot point really because the tranny works beautifully on its own.

Porsche has tweaked this VW/Audi turbodiesel V6 with its own injectors and variable-vane turbo technology (thus the extra 15 hp), and as with the Touareg and Q7, this oil-burner beats its competitors when it comes to NVH. Unless you’re standing beside the hood, you’d be hard pressed to know this is a compression engine. The interior is totally devoid of any tell-tale vibration or audible clatter.

The cabin has an intimate feel with that big console awash with buttons rising up towards the dash. The comfortable leather seats are bolstered just enough to let you know that, yes indeed, you are driving a Porsche. Standard fare is a sunroof, powered liftgate, good sounding 10-speaker audio, Bluetooth, Homelink, trip computer, and heated/retractable mirrors. It’s a very pleasing and ergonomic effort, although a persistent buzz somewhere in the dash was a bit disconcerting.

339 Posts
Discussion Starter · #2 ·
This Cayenne is a great drive, though. The steering has a wonderfully connected feel to it – better than the Panamera GTS I had just stepped out of – and this tester with the standard suspension (air suspension is optional) showed a masterful blend of body control and ride quality, with the latter leaning more to the firm side. Standard wheels for the diesel are 18-inchers, and this tester was wearing winter tires. Still, it showed that signature Cayenne dynamic cohesiveness that makes this SUV one of the most satisfying on a winding road.

As far as Porsche press vehicles go, this tester went mercifully light on the options – smart move on Porsche Canada’s part, as I suspect most buyers of this model will be attracted to its reasonable price tag and great fuel economy. They won’t be the type of customer who loads up a Turbo with whatever overpriced option Porsche will throw at them.

This white diesel had a $750 trailer hitch (3,500 kg tow rating) and the $8,170 Premium Package that adds bi-xenon headlamps with Porsche Dynamic Light System (PDLS), auto-dimming exterior and interior mirrors, navigation, front and rear Park Assist System, power steering plus, and 14-way power seats with memory. Since just about every vehicle I’ve tested lately has had a backup camera, it seemed odd not to see an image pop up on the screen when I selected “R”.
And no heated rear seats? Mercedes includes those in its $5,500 Premium Package for the $60,400 ML 350 Bluetec.

And here’s a question: Why in gawd’s name does the radio have to come on every time you start the vehicle even when it’s off when you shut down? Audi does this, too. If anybody can give me a rational explanation for this seemingly senseless and highly annoying feature, I will gladly buy him or her a pint of Weiss beer. Make that several.

The back seats fold almost flat with the flick of a lever, opening up a cavernous load space that on one occasion accommodated my upright bass, electric bass, bass amp, dolly, and various cases and stands.

The official fuel consumption figures for the 2013 Porsche Cayenne Diesel are 10.8 L/100 city and 6.7 L/100 km highway, which makes it a better long distance hauler than the faster but very complex $79,200 Cayenne Hybrid (10.4 L/100 km city, 8.4 L/100 km highway).

During my week with this new Cayenne I drove almost 800 km, most being on highway and secondary roads – not a lot of in-town driving. I filled it up, did the calculations and arrived at 8.53 L/100 km.

In a luxurious, swift, 2,177 kg all-wheel-drive SUV? ‘Nuff said.

Okay, one more thing. The nearly mechanically identical VW Touareg 3.0 TDI Clean Diesel starts at $53,975. Just sayin’.

Pricing: 2013 Porsche Cayenne Diesel
Base price: $64,500
Optional equipment: $9,275 trailer hitch $750; Premium Package $8,170; additional painted key $355
A/C tax: $100
Destination charge: $1,115
Price as tested: $74,990

BMW X5 xDrive35d
Mercedes-Benz M 350 Bluetec
Volkswagen Touareg TDI

Test Drive: 2013 Porsche Cayenne Diesel - Autos.ca | Page 2
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