With 911 & Porsche World’s rov­ing tyre kicker, Johnny Ti­pler

911 Porsche World - - Practical Porsche -

As a de­vout fan of Porsche sports-cars I tend to be a bit sniffy about the firm’s SUV mod­els, re­gard­ing them with an el­e­ment of dis­dain that’s purely (and some would say, un­fairly) based on an in­verted snob­bery against Chelsea trac­tors – even though I have made sev­eral trans-euro­pean runs aboard sundry Cayennes and the odd Macan. In their de­fence, you can’t fail to be im­pressed by their al­most un­canny long-haul com­pe­tence, cov­er­ing vast dis­tances with such ease and alacrity that you step out at jour­ney’s end feel­ing no more fa­tigued than when you set off, give or take a mi­nor con­tretemps ne­go­ti­at­ing the Shut­tle’s nar­row car­riage drive­ways. Oc­ca­sion­ally, then, it does no harm to re­mind our­selves of their pres­ence in our vi­brant mar­ket­place, and es­pe­cially when of­fered by a spe­cial­ist whose sin­cer­ity and straight­for­ward­ness we hold in high es­teem. I viewed these ve­hi­cles – Cayenne and 996 GT3 – re­cently when down in the West Coun­try vis­it­ing Wil­liams Craw­ford, and though con­cep­tu­ally chalk and cheese in terms of pur­pose, bodyshell vol­ume and per­for­mance de­liv­ery, they are in­cred­i­bly com­pe­tent ex­am­ples of the mod­els they rep­re­sent. First up, the Cayenne V8 – one of three ex­am­ples of the SUV on the fore­court here. This V8 was orig­i­nally supplied new in May 2014 by PC Ton­bridge in Kent, so barely three years old, and still a one-owner car. The se­lec­tion of options that per­son ticked would have el­e­vated its price tag to al­most £80-grand.

As­sum­ing you’re in the mar­ket for such a ve­hi­cle, the V8 model is ini­tially strik­ing and im­pres­sive from the out­side, fin­ished in Jet Black metal­lic, en­hanced by the Sport De­sign Pack­age, which in­cludes front and rear valances, side skirts, roof spoiler and ex­tended wheel arches that help ac­com­mo­date the 21-inch 911 Turbo De­sign five-spoke (the spokes are twinned, so in ef­fect 10-spoke) al­loy wheels. Do you need all that ephemera? Not nec­es­sar­ily, but then I’m guilty as charged as hav­ing la­dled all such fri­vol­i­ties onto my old 996. But it’s this Cayenne’s in­te­rior that re­ally blows you away. Peer through the pri­vacy glass to feast on a glo­ri­ous melange of Car­rera red and black leather, from seats that are al­most like thrones, to the con­sole sur­round, and dash­board that’s de­tailed with red stitch­ing. There’s a leather sports steer­ing wheel with shift pad­dles, al­lied to an au­to­matic gear-lever of agri­cul­tural pro­por­tions, and the alu­minium pack­age ad­denda pro­vide the fin­ish­ing touches to this al­to­gether deca­dent cabin space. The 14way elec­tri­cally ad­justable front seats are heated and have built-in mem­ory func­tion, while it is pre­dictably spa­cious in the rear. Had I still got sprogs at home it is a con­cept I could well be tempted by – swal­low­ing my an­tiSUV ten­den­cies. The power-op­er­ated tail­gate can­tilevers up to re­veal the cav­ernous lug­gage boot, and should you need ex­tra ca­pac­ity, fold­ing the rear seats down ex­pands the space to more than dou­ble that. Other options in­clude PCM3 off-road mod­ule – AKA sat-nav, the Ul­tra­sound park­ing as­sis­tance plus re­vers­ing cam­era, topped off with the so-called Sound Pack­age 2 and Hi-end sound sys­tem. As for on-road per­for­mance, the 4.2-litre twin­turbo diesel V8 ef­fort­lessly pro­duces 382bhp and a giddy 850Nm of torque, re­layed to the black­top by per­ma­nent four-wheel drive and an eight-speed Tip­tronic gear­box. Con­trols for the lazy per­son? Who cares – it is so very ef­fi­cient. Fur­ther­more, the Porsche Ac­tive Sus­pen­sion Man­age­ment sys­tem guar­an­tees as smooth a ride as pos­si­ble over the bumpy stuff. Talk­ing of which, don’t un­der­es­ti­mate its off-road ca­pa­bil­i­ties ei­ther – though as ever, se­ri­ous all-ter­rain ac­tiv­ity de­mands ap­pro­pri­ate tyres, as man­i­fest on the Transsy­be­ria ver­sion like the one that we played with a few years back in Bel­gium. This V8 Cayenne’s 100-litre diesel fuel tank will get you a long way, too, with 34-miles to the gal­lon at­tain­able.

Even though they’re most read­ily as­so­ci­ated with Porsche sports mod­els, a fair num­ber of SUVS pass through Wil­liams Craw­ford’s hands as well, as Adrian Craw­ford at­tests. ‘We do quite well with Cayennes; they’re fam­ily cars that tend to get used as a daily car. The qual­ity is beau­ti­ful, and that black 4.2 twin-turbo diesel V8 is im­mensely swift, and the torque of the thing is truly amaz­ing. You’ll even see over 30 miles to the gal­lon, too, and you won’t be want­ing for per­for­mance. They feel safe, and what’s not to like if you want a fam­ily car?’ When new it would have cost the best part of £80,000, and now, with 25,000-miles on the clock, it still feels and smells like a new car.’ Con­cerned about the fact it’s a diesel? ‘We’ve had quite a bit of hype on that re­cently. I can’t see them tak­ing away diesel pumps to­mor­row, and the ab­so­lute fact is that cer­tain cars drive bet­ter on a diesel en­gine, and some drive bet­ter on a petrol, and as far as Cayennes are con­cerned, you can ac­tu­ally get rea­son­able econ­omy whilst not giv­ing away any­thing in per­for­mance with the diesel. If you were run­ning a petrol you’d be get­ting half of that mpg. I per­son­ally would feel a bit queasy run­ning a petrol ver­sion, which is thirsty, so Cayennes suit diesels re­ally well. And of course, they want us all to be in elec­tric cars now, but I don’t see them putting too many slots in the road for lit­tle elec­tric cars yet, so I think we are way off with that, and I think diesels are here to stay for a while, be­cause that par­tic­u­lar en­gine works bet­ter in a big ve­hi­cle like the Cayenne.’ Tow­er­ing per­for­mance and an in­domitable road pres­ence char­ac­terise my blast up the A38. I could al­most suc­cumb to its pugilis­tic per­sona. PW

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