The Sunday Mail (Queensland)

Great white lark

- JOSHUA DOWL­ING NA­TIONAL MO­TOR­ING EDITOR joshua.dowl­ing@news.com.au

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.

VER­DICT

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.

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