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The SUV craze among car buyers is at an all-time high, especially in India. Manufacturers too love to cater to the needs of customers and our market has in the past decade seen lots of SUVs come into the picture. Gradually, people not only wanted their SUVs to be rugged but fast as well. In came the trendsetter for fast SUVs, The Porsche Cayenne in 2002. Ever since the Cayenne has been loved a lot mainly because how well it manages to combine the performance of a sports car and the go-anywhere ability of an SUV. The latest generation of the Cayenne is faster, sportier and more tech-laden. Today we tell you why the Porsche Cayenne Turbo is one of the best SUVs in the world.
Exterior – If you are familiar to the last generation of the Cayenne, you would definitely realise that the new Cayenne is pretty much similar to its predecessor at first glance. It’s only when you take a closer look at the Cayenne that you find some tweaks in the design here and there. For starters, both the headlights and the taillights have been given a 3D treatment and it does manage to freshen up things for the SUV. The front looks very sporty and the grille falls very much into its place while its at the rear that you notice considerable change. A single LED line flows through the rear of the Cayenne between the taillights, giving it that modern Porsche look. The new alloys also go down very well with the sporty character of the Cayenne. If this isn’t enough bling for your eyes, the Turbo badge would definitely sparkle them up.
Interior – It is only when you get inside that you get a sense of the upgrade that the Cayenne has gone through. From the very moment you get inside the cabin, you can see and feel the luxurious interior of the car. Built quality and the fit and finish levels are just phenomenal. The new Cayenne gets rid of almost all physical controls which are now taken control of by haptic touch controls. Dominating the dashboard is the 12.3-inch touchscreen infotainment system similar to the one on the Panamera. Everything inside the cabin feels very premium including the knurled finish on the rotary dial which is used to change between menu and volume controls. The instrument cluster has way too much information to offer and most of us would definitely be referring to the owner manual a couple of times just to understand what the various dials tell us. The rev counter is still analog and that wrap around effect of the instrument cluster. The equipment list is long but since this is a Porsche, there are many boxes still to be ticked. But with memory function seats, 4-zone climate control and Bose audio coming as standard, you won’t be spending much more to make your experience even more luxurious.
Seats on the Cayenne are extremely comfortable and offer good support all around. The front seats get a variety of settings for both the driver and passenger to suit their needs. The rear seats are very nice too. Headroom, legroom and kneeroom are adequate for all kinds of passengers and you do feel very comfortable in the rear seats. However, the transmission tunnel eats up a good amount of space in the center so a third passenger won’t be really comfortable here during long journeys. The cabin is very practical with lots of storage area and the boot is also pretty large and accommodating. The interior of the Porsche Cayenne Turbo feels very well put together and feels built-to-last. It has enough of the premium quotient barring a few plastics and the wooden inserts that feel a bit aftermarket. Overall, the Cayenne’s cabin is a place you’d love being cocooned in for long hours without being disappointed.
Performance - The Porsche Cayenne Turbo is powered by a 4.0-litre bi-turbo petrol engine which sees an increase in power and torque by 30 HP and 20 Nm respectively, the third-gen model belting out 550 HP and 770 Nm. It does the 0-100 km/hr run in just 3.9 seconds, about half a second quicker than its predecessor and the claimed top speed of 286 km/hr comes up in no time. The engine and gearbox work very well together and the car feels very refined at all times. It’s only post-mid-range that you hear the sporty note of the engine, which you’d expect from a Porsche. However, the sound isn’t much audible inside the cabin which isn’t necessarily a good thing for a Porsche SUV. The engine is very responsive and loves to redline all the way till 7000 RPM. The 8-speed torque converter gearbox works flawlessly, especially in the Sport Plus mode where it gets really aggressive with the downshifts. The Sport Plus modes also alters the engine, suspension and steering to make the car as dynamic as possible. You can also take control of things via the steering mounted paddle shifter or the gear lever. The Cayenne Turbo returns a fuel economy of 4-7 km/l, depending on your driving style, there is a stop/start function too. The engine also shuts 4 of the cylinders when you go easy on the throttle to save fuel.
Driving Dynamics – The Cayenne is set up on the stiffer side so you do feel a lot of the road, especially in Sports Plus mode and on not so smooth roads, although on good roads, it does ride smoothly. The Porsche Cayenne uses an air suspension, this allows you to go all the way up to 245 mm when going off-road or drop it down to 162 mm for sporty driving. It also gets electromechanical anti-roll bars, rear wheel steering and torque vectoring. At 2175 kgs, it is 10 kgs lighter than its predecessor. Despite the weight, the Cayenne does feel light to drive and the steering offers terrific feel and feedback at all speeds. The massive 21-inch tyres have a ton of grip on offer too. The Cayenne Turbo drives more like a sports car than an SUV, in true Porsche fashion. Even with all the sporty character, the Cayenne is a pretty capable off-roader thanks to a slew of electronic aid at hand.
Safety – The Cayenne like any other Porsche is one of the safest cars on the road. It gets all the regular equipment like ESP, Traction Control and up to 8 airbags. The car has also been recently awarded a full 5-star Euro NCAP safety rating making it very safe. The four-wheel drive system and potent grip offered by the tyres make driving a safe and secure experience. Further, you get all-around cameras and sensors to ensure parking this almost 5-metre long SUV is an easy task.
Verdict – The Porsche Cayenne Turbo offers the most sports car like performance you could ever get from a full-size SUV. Additionally, it offers the ability to go anywhere without worrying about the speed bumps and potholes. It undoubtedly takes away the title of the most practical sportscar for India. However, at this price point you get a lot of choices in the SUV segment that offering even more off-roading hardware but if its sportscar rivalling performance you want from your SUV, look no further.
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