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.

  • Jeffrey An all electric entry level vehicle is needed and as a second car I'm interested. Though I will wait for it to be manufactured in the states with US components eligible for the EV credit.
  • Bob65688581 Small by American standards, this car is just right for Europe, and probably China, although I don't really know, there. Upscale small cars don't exist in the US because Americans associate size and luxury, so it will have a tough time in the States... but again Europe is used to such cars. Audi has been making "small, upscale" since forever. As usual, Americans will miss an opportunity. I'll buy one, though!Contrary to your text, the EX30 has nothing whatsoever to do with the XC40 or C40, being built on a dedicated chassis.
  • Tassos Chinese owned Vollvo-Geely must have the best PR department of all automakers. A TINY maker with only 0.5-0.8% market share in the US, it is in the news every day.I have lost count how many different models Volvo has, and it is shocking how FEW of each miserable one it sells in the US market.Approximately, it sells as many units (TOTAL) as is the total number of loser models it offers.
  • ToolGuy Seems pretty reasonable to me. (Sorry)
  • Luke42 When I moved from Virginia to Illinois, the lack of vehicle safety inspections was a big deal to me. I thought it would be a big change.However, nobody drives around in an unsafe car when they have the money to get their car fixed and driving safely.Also, Virginia's inspection regimine only meant that a car was safe to drive one day a year.Having lived with and without automotive safety inspections, my confusion is that they don't really matter that much.What does matter is preventing poverty in your state, and Illinois' generally pro-union political climate does more for automotive safety (by ensuring fair wages for tradespeople) than ticketing poor people for not having enough money to maintain their cars.