The Sunday Mail (Queensland)
Great white lark
IMAGINE an elephant running 100 metres as fast as Usain Bolt.
That is, in effect, what we have here. A hulking 2.2-tonne machine, a king of the urban jungle, that can sprint from rest to 100km/h in just 4.1 seconds.
That is faster than Porsche’s most popular sports car, the 911, and a long list of German highperformance sedans – yet it can tow 3500kg, just like the toughest workhorse utes.
It is nothing short of an engineering marvel, even if it uses prodigious amounts of the world’s oil reserves when the accelerator is floored.
Does the world need a vehicle the size of a Toyota Prado that can outrun pretty much anything on the road? I didn’t have an answer to that until I got behind the wheel.
As our appetite for SUVs shows no signs of abating, car companies are finding new ways to make buyers of the big wagons part with ever greater sums of money.
A Porsche Cayenne with a diesel V6 can be had for $106,000. That’s still a power of money for an SUV you’d be afraid to scratch. There are several other opportunities to separate you from your hard-earned on the way to the Cayenne Turbo, which is an eyewatering $233,300.
But this model is on another level. This is the Cayenne Turbo S, and that tiny S badge adds a thumping $51,400 to the price, bringing the total to $284,700, which works out at $306,000 drive-away. And that is before you’ve added petrol.
Given the fuel tank capacity of 100L, it will be easy to figure out how much a re-fill will cost. Just add a couple of zeros to the price on the boards outside service stations.
The price premium buys more power (of course) and you spend 0.4 seconds less waiting to reach the speed limit than you would in the regular Cayenne Turbo.
Most full-size SUVs boast about how much space they have inside and how well the wheels can articulate over boulders. Porsche takes a different tack for the Cayenne Turbo S, playing up its achievement in lapping Germany’s famed Nürburgring track in 7 minutes 59 seconds.
That makes it the fastest SUV on the planet both in terms of lap times and the 0-100km/h sprint, having pipped the BMW X5M by just 0.1 seconds on the latter.
Fortunately, Porsche has seen fit to fit the Turbo S with carbon-ceramic brakes, as used in Formula One, Ferraris and its own top-end sports car stablemates.
The brake response is a bit sharp at first, until you learn to be more judicious with the pedal. But, when trying to bring this machine to a stop, I’d rather have the exotic material in the stoppers than not.
Inside, the Cayenne Turbo S looks more like a Range Rover than a sports car. Perhaps it was the white leather and gloss black highlights that helped create that impression. All I knew was that you had to be super careful not to spill Maccas in this one.
After negotiating the stopstart of city driving, and eventually getting better at caressing the brake pedal (I have a bruised collarbone to show for how effectively the brakes work) we finally got to appraise it on some open and winding roads.
A newspaper is no place to repeat my initial outburst when I hit the accelerator from rest.
But being pushed back into your seat is only part of the fun. Perhaps more dumbfounding is how on earth Porsche fettled the Turbo S to make it feel so agile and precise in corners.
Before long, the tank having rapidly reached half-empty, it was time to make a U-turn and head back to the city.
The rating label says the Cayenne Turbo S has an average consumption of 11.5L/100km. But there’s a caveat – exploit the performance and it’s more like 25L. Gulp.
The first car I’d buy if I won the lottery, though I’d need to buy two tickets – one to pay for the car and the other to cover the fuel bills.