By on January 4, 2012

Forget Amerindian prognostications of the apocalypse occurring in 2012 – the sight of an oil-burning Porsche SUV is enough for some to consider it the end of the world.

The announcement of a diesel powered Porsche Cayenne was buried deep within a press release for the Porsche 911 Cabriolet’s debut at the 2012 North American International Auto Show. According to the release, the spring launch of the previously revealed Panamera GTS “…will subsequently be followed by the Cayenne Diesel as Porsche’s first compression-ignition car in the USA.”

A bit of digging on the Porsche UK site shows that the Cayenne Diesel puts up some decent numbers. 245 horsepower and 405 lb-ft of torque with the sprint to 60 mph coming up in 7.6 seconds. A V6 powered Cayenne with the Tiptronic gearbox is only .2 seconds quicker. The Diesel has the clear edge in fuel economy – returning 8.4L/100km in the city and 6.5L/100km – according to our conversions thats 27 mpg around town and 36 mpg on the freeway. The Cayenne V6 returns a meager 16/23 mpg by comparison.

Pricing and positioning for the Cayenne Diesel hasn’t been announced, but we can look to both the existing Cayenne lineup as well as its competitors for clues. The current Cayenne lineup has the Cayenne V6 at $48,200, while the V8-powered Cayenne S retails for $65,000. The Hybrid model (with a supercharged V6 and hybrid drivetrain is $69,000. The diesel will have to bridge the substantial gulf between the two cars, and given Porsche’s propensity to charge exorbitant sums for trivial widgets like colored wheel crests, look for the Cayenne Diesel to err towards the higher side of the pricing spread.

BMW and Mercedes-Benz offer their own range of diesel engines on certain SUVs (the X5, M-Class and GL-Class. The R-Class is questionable as an SUV), but their pricing strategy differs as widely as their respective marketing narratives.  BMW positions the X5 diesel as a much more expensive option – costing some $9200 more than a base X5 35i with the 3.0L twin-turbo I6, while the Mercedes ML350 BlueTEC carries a premium of $1590. The GL350 BlueTEC on the other hand costs $1000 less than the base gasoline GL450.


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30 Comments on “Porsche Cayenne Diesel Coming To America In 2012...”

  • avatar

    I would imagine Porsche is doing this because of the impending fuel economy changes. But do they seriously think rich soccer moms are going to buy a Cayenne diesel and manage to put the correct fuel in it? They definitely can’t call it a Cayenne diesel when it arrives, they’ll have to make it a “green” sounding name for the U.S.

    It will be interesting to see how many they sell with diesel engines!

    • 0 avatar

      There are a number of X5 diesels in my neighborhood and the soccer moms seem to have no trouble using the right pump.

      • 0 avatar

        Was going to say the same thing about the X5 and also add about the Q7 TDi. Pretty decent take rate of the diesel engine on both of those “soccer mom” mobiles and I think most people can figure out which nozzle to grab…

      • 0 avatar

        I can count on one hand the number of gasoline ML350s I’ve seen in Toronto. The vast majority seem to be BlueTECs, driven by the “soccer mom” type. Have yet to see one being carted away from a gas pump on a flat bad due to incorrect fueling.

    • 0 avatar

      I bet some of those “rich soccer moms” know more about the oil burner than you do!
      I think you should be more concerned about your knowledge of where the correct hose is…..

  • avatar

    The base GL is a V8 – GL450

  • avatar

    I would drive that thing, if I had the money to even toy with the thought (I don’t). Make mine dark blue.

    However, I thought that diesels had an issue with fuel congealing during the winter, in colder climates, without preventative procedures. I know that my knowledge of diesels is very limited and I may be thinking of the underengineered diesels of old.

    • 0 avatar

      This is a fuel issue unrelated to what particular vehicle it is being put into. In cold climates, the fuel is already treated – otherwise it would gel in the gas station tanks too. But it can certainly be an issue if you fill up down South and drive North. Pretty much a non-issue these days though. And modern diesels have no problem at all starting in extreme cold.

    • 0 avatar

      What’s up petrol heads? Most diesel sold in the south are # 2, whereas #1 is easier available around snow belt especially during winter months to prevent gelling. If you are driving from FL to NE, you shall stop over somewhere for fill-up so that #2 is mixed with #1.

    • 0 avatar

      Diesel fuel #2 gels around -10 deg.F/ Winter Blend Diesel fuel #2 and fuel #1 (kerosene) gels around -20 deg.F. That’s not much of a difference especially with day and night temps. IMO, anything under -5 deg.F day temps use a fuel additive and your good to go. The winter blend fuel is for the fuel stations underground tanks where the temps are more stable. Not your car!

  • avatar

    I believe the pricing differential on the X5 is less than $9200. I think the X5 diesel is equipped more like the X5 “premium”, rather than the base X5, for a difference closer to $1500.

    This may sound sexist, but I don’t think any soccer moms choose the diesel version of any of these cars. I think, as I did with my X5 diesel, that the diesels are chosen by car enthusiast men, who know these diesels perform, with much better mileage than the gas counterparts. I don’t know how the diesel Cayenne will sell, but it seems to be Porsche’s strategy to offer many variants of their models, even if they sell in low volumes. I think it’s a good move, and a totally suitable engine for this kind of vehicle.

  • avatar
    Carlson Fan

    Diesel is alot more expensive than gas around here, especially in the winter. Sometimes close to a $1 more a gallon. I’m not sure how you save any money once you add in the increased maintenaince costs that come with a diesel and god forbid you have to fix something on it. I’ve always said buy a diesel truck for the towing power, not because it’s gonna save you money. And we all know how many people buy Cayenne’s to pull their boat to the lake or snowmobile trailer to the mountains.

    • 0 avatar

      If you can afford the payments you can probably afford the fuel. That being said, once you pay for the privilege of diesel at the pump, there really isn’t that much savings in fuel costs.

    • 0 avatar

      And we all know how many people

      Love torquey low revving engines? Historically they were very popular with the vast majority of American car buyers.

    • 0 avatar

      Diesel is always more expensive during winter months due to demand for heating oil. The real difference is not that much unless you are a cheapskate who choose not to fill up with premium unleaded petrol. Also, modern diesel engine tends to be more efficient than its petrol counterparts.

    • 0 avatar

      If you can afford a Cayenne you should be able to afford the little extra maintenance. Your looking at a fuel filter every 10-20 thousand miles,glow plugs every 2-3 years and maybe a fuel additive in extreme winter climates. And repair should be no more considering diesels don’t even have ignition systems. As for fuel savings try biodiesel(B20)blend it’s free,it’s everywhere and it burns cleaner then other petroleum products. We’ve run it in our farm equipment,company trucks and personal cars for 10 years with no issues. Plus it gets our at pump cost below 87 octane prices. And where you really save is the longevity of a diesel. Most gas cars need replacing or a rebuild around 200,000-300,000 miles where a diesel is 400,000-500,000 sometimes 600,000 miles. So..yes you can save money with any diesel.

  • avatar

    A DIESEL Porsche!!!??? Gott Im Himmel!

    • 0 avatar


      A diesel VW/Audi? Yeah, so what? That’s normal. Turbodiesel = teh torqz!!!
      A diesel Benz? Oh, that’s kinda normal, too.
      A diesel BMW? Not quite as normal, but not exactly news.
      A diesel Porsche? BLASPHEMY!
      A Porsche SUV? BLASPHEMY!
      A Porsche sedan? BLASPHEMY!

      For a German premium brand, the expectations of Porsche are certainly different. Now when they stop making the 911…well, then maybe we can all start raising hell.

  • avatar

    Porsche has committed enough blasphemy over the years that it’s not blasphemy anymore. The 914 was blasphemy, as was the 924, 928 and water-cooled 911. A Porsche is a car made and/or marketed by Porsche, not an “ass-engined Nazi slot car,” as P.J. O’Rourke famously described the 911.

    Can a diesel keep up with the Porsche brand values of high performance and daily usability? Nowadays, it can. If you look at European car magazines and websites, you’ll find that the BMW and Mercedes diesels are often the top choice in any given car line. They can’t rev as high, but the torque and fuel economy more than make up for anything you’d otherwise sacrifice.

    And yes, many but not all European countries tax diesel at a lower rate to encourage use. So you’d be crazy not to go diesel over there and God forbid a manufacturer fails to offer a decent one. Also, greenhouse gas emissions matter over there as well, and diesels emit less CO2.

    • 0 avatar

      Diesels emmitting less CO2 is not QUITE true. Diesels emit more CO2 per unit of fuel used, because there is more carbon in diesel than there is in gasoline. BUT, as diesel engines typically get better fuel economy, the total carbon emitted tends to be less.

      I beleive at least the UK tax code takes this into consideration – you need to have better CO2 results for a diesel than a gasoline engine to get into a particular taxation bracket.

  • avatar

    The problem here for Porsche is that this is a thoroughly class-competitive diesel engine in a VW/Audi, but is in no way special. BMW and Mercedes out-power it, and the VW is faster because it’s not as heavy.

    So you’re left with asking, how nice is a Cayenne without the performance advantage but with the same steep price?

  • avatar

    If the minivan market recovers, I look forward to Porsche apologists rationalizing a Routan with 911-style headlights and tail lights. As long as they keep making 911 replicas!

  • avatar

    Is this another Euro-diesel that needs the uric acid/pee tank filled @ great expense?

  • avatar

    To quote an article by Jens Meiners in Automotive News in March of ’04:

    “We don’t tend to follow the competition,” said Wolfgang Dürheimer, Porsche’s executive vice president for research and development.

    Of the 40,000 Cayennes that Porsche is selling annually, over half go to North America, where there is no demand for diesel SUVs.

    “We don’t want to develop an engine for just 5,000 units,” Dürheimer said.

    “An SUV by Porsche must be agile and sporty, but you need an engine willing to rev, which a diesel isn’t.”

    I guess that things change over the years.

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