Porsche Cayenne Turbo Review

Jay Shoemaker
by Jay Shoemaker
porsche cayenne turbo review

Global warming. Some consumers consider hybrids the responsible response. Others are busy taking one last toke on the tailpipe of extravagance. Pistonheads, have I got a bong for you! After accelerating Porsche's 2.5 ton brick to 60mph in less than five seconds, I can only conclude that you NEED a Cayenne Turbo– if only to outrun the Earth Day crowd tossing rocks at your windows. The Turbo is pointless and politically incorrect and you better get one now before all the oil and clean air are gone forever.

The previous Cayenne Turbo was styled by the same people who train (inject? genetically engineer?) WWF wrestlers. The '08 model is even less in touch with its feminine side. In fact, the new Turbo's mammoth grill looks set to swallow a Miata whole. In the rear, quad pipes jutting out from my tester's prison wall rear made an interesting contrast to the trailer hitch ($630) located between them. The Porker's 21" wheels ($4145) had me checking my fillings ($375).

The Cayenne Turbo ($93,700) comes standard with plenty of modern conveniences: satellite radio, heated seats and steering wheel, dual zone climate control, etc. For slightly less than the price of a Kia Rio, your dealer will gladly upgrade [s]his profit[/s] your comfort to the requisite extreme. How about a cool looking cargo management system ($590 or the same price as 118 bungee cords)? The panoramic sunroof ($3,900) is a must-see. But I'm not so sure about the rear camera and park distance control ($1680); I'd rather pay a bystander $5 each time I need help backing up.

The Cayenne Turbo's nav system had me wondering about the price of tour guides. I swear: Werner Von Braun couldn't operate this system. After my driving partner and I became momentarily disoriented (lost), he fiddled with the 39 buttons surrounding the nav screen for a good ten minutes. We eventually gave up and retraced our missteps.

As you might expect from a German automaker that came to luxury trucks via purpose built sports cars, the Cayenne Turbo has a few lessons yet to learn. Although the leather makes the grade, the plastic switchgear isn't pleasant at this price and the erstwhile operation of the Cayenne's fold-down rear seats is maddening. Continuing your OCD RTFM education from last week's Bimmer review…

First, squeeze the cleverly concealed latch that allows you remove the rear headrests and throw the neck savers on the floor. Next, pull on the back of the rear seat cushions, starting on the driver's side, until the bench stands upright. Now fold the seat back towards the front– oops, not enough clearance. Open the front door, move the front seats forward. Ignoring the effect on front legroom, fold down the seats [as] flat [as they can go].

On the flipside, Porsche engineers get Mehta-esque mad props for making the "refreshed" ‘08 Cayenne Turbo even faster than its preposterously pacey predecessor. Using direct injection engine technology (applied across the Cayenne line), Porsche's boffins boosted the Turbo's horsepower to 500 and upped torque to 516 ft.-lbs. I'm afraid it must be said: that's an excremental load of grunt for an SUV.

Forward thrust is appropriately brutal. The Turbo's weight actually adds to the experience– in the same sense that an F18 Hornet wouldn't be half as much fun blasting off a carrier deck if it weighed half as much. Unlike the outgoing Cayenne Turbo S, blower lag is no longer an issue. Although there's a momentary delay as the afterburners light-up, the twin turbos are wonderfully responsive to both a wide open throttle and cruise control. As you'd hope, the anchors are automotive arresting wires.

Acronym-starved rivet counters (and the Pendleton District Camera Club) will delight in the knowledge that The Sultans of Stuttgart have blessed the PASM-equipped Cayenne Turbo with yet another automotive acronym: PDCC or Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control. So now upmarket truck drivers get a side order of active stabilizers (on the front and rear axles) with their infinitely adjustable adaptive dampers. With both systems engaged (or at least going steady), you'd swear you were driving a VW GTI with sandbags in the back.

Again, the Cayenne Turbo's fuel economy sucks: 12 city, 19 highway, and a lot less when driven by the type of person bound to buy one of these astounding luxobarges. But hey, it's better than it was– only the EPA's changed the testing procedure so it doesn't seem that way and anyway how many people really care? About as many people who've taken this thing off-road.

If you're ready to party like it's 1999, the 2008 Porsche Cayenne Turbo will gargle gas, accelerate, brake and handle better than any of its competition– you know, if there was any. It's an extremely capable, utterly unique and completely indefensible vehicle. Nice one Porsche.

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  • Rcolayco Rcolayco on Jul 08, 2007

    The new Cayenne Turbo is a car that one has to drive to understand what it's all about. I've owned and currently own cars ranging from Toyotas (Corolla AND Land Cruiser) to Mercedes (E200 Kompressor AND E55) to Porsche (996 Turbo, 997 GT3 and Ruf Rt12). None of them quite prepared me for the pleasure of this incredibly versatile truck that combines a plush, quiet ride with quickness that reminds of hot hatches. Oh yes, I forgot for awhile that I did once own a Mitsubishi Evo 7. The Cayenne Turbo isn't quite that agile, but can certainly stay with a less than expertly driven one. But WITHOUT jarring you like the Evo does. In these times, yes global warming concerns do validly cause much guilt when using such a vehicle. What I'm saying is that a car like the Cayenne Turbo is not merely about saying that you've got the money to spend on it. It does provide a motoring experience that one does not get from other, less expensive SUVs or, for that matter, other cars.

  • TheMASS TheMASS on Jul 19, 2007
    Mine is scratched to hell... so what? Everything that gets damaged on a Porsche is gonna cost more to fix than a Chevy. My guess is that a cheap paint job would scratch easier. ...and come on I didn't buy the Cayenne for its looks --ugly... but knowing how it drives makes it look better :) Driving 120MPH+ in the open desert with the choice of gears provided by the torque those Turbos put out is an Off Road reason they are apprieciated. Also remember it's NOT only an Off Road vehicle... It'll smoke almost any car you pull up next to on the road. -- I'm hoping that as more Cayenne's leases expire second generation owners will use them as Off Road vehicles and the Tuners begin offering Off Road upgrades.

  • Alan The Prado shouldn't have the Landcruiser name attached. It isn't a Landcruiser as much as a Tacoma or 4 Runner or a FJ Cruiser. Toyota have used the Landcruiser name as a marketing exercise for years. In Australia the RAV4 even had Landcruiser attached years ago! The Toyota Landcruiser is the Landcruiser, not a tarted up Tacoma wagon.Here a GX Prado cost about $61k before on roads, this is about $41k USD. This is a 2.8 diesel 4x4 with all the off road tricky stuff, plus AC, power windows, etc. I'm wondering if Toyota will perform the Nissan Armada treatment on it and debase the Prado. The Patrol here is actually as capable and possibly more capable than the Landcruiser off road (according to some reviews). The Armada was 'muricanised and the off road ability was reduced a lot. Who ever heard of a 2 wheel drive Patrol.Does the US need the Prado? Why not. Another option to choose from built by Toyota that is overpriced and uses old tech.My sister had a Prado Grande, I didn't think much of it. It was narrow inside and not that comfortable. Her Grand Cherokee was more comfortable and now her Toureg is even more comfortable, but you can still feel the road in the seat of your pants and ears.
  • Jeffrey No tis vehicle doen't need to come to America. The market if flooded in this segment what we need are fun affordable vehicles.
  • Nrd515 I don't really see the point of annual inspections, especially when the car is under 3 years (warranty) old. Inspections should be safety related, ONLY, none of the nonsensical CA ARB rules that end up being something like, "Your air intake doesn't have an ARB sticker on it, so you have to remove it and buy one just like it that does have the ARB sticker on it!". If the car or whatever isn't puking smoke out of it, and it doesn't make your eyes water, like an old Chevy Bel-Air I was behind on Wed did, it's fine. I was stuck in traffic behind that old car, and wow, the gasoline smell was super potent. It was in nice shape, but man, it was choking me. I was amused by the 80 something old guy driving it, he even had a hat with a feather in it, THE sign of someone you don't want to be driving anywhere near you.
  • Lou_BC "15mpg EPA" The 2023 ZR2 Colorado is supposed to be 16 mpg
  • ToolGuy "The more aerodynamic, organic shape of the Mark VIII meant ride height was slightly lower than before at 53.6 inches, over 54.2” for the Mark VII."• I am not sure that ride height means what you think it means.Elaboration: There is some possible disagreement about what "ride height" refers to. Some say ground clearance, some say H point (without calling it that), some say something else. But none of those people would use a number of over 4 feet for a stock Mark anything.Then you go on to use it correctly ("A notable advancement in the Mark VIII’s suspension was programming to lower the ride height slightly at high speeds, which assisted fuel economy via improved aerodynamics.") so what do I know. Plus, I ended a sentence with a preposition. 🙂