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Porsche Cayenne

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June Neary checks out Porsche's desirable third generation Cayenne luxury 4x4

Will It Suit Me?word count: 77

Nobody actually needs a car like Porsche's Cayenne luxury SUV - but lots of us would like to own one. You can't move for luxury large SUVs like this one on the county school run, but I couldn't really see the point until I tried one. Having done so, I'm a little more converted. I love the high driving position, the versatility and the feeling of safety. The improved styling of the MK3 version has also helped.

Practicalitiesword count: 255

Porsche have thankfully resisted the temptation to attempt to cram seven seats into the Cayenne body and as a result the interior is pleasantly spacious with more luggage space than its direct rivals and plenty of leg and headroom for five passengers. The quality of fit and finish is superior to anything Porsche has produced to date, with a beautifully designed, if surprisingly conservative, fascia. And out back? Well raising the electrically operated tailgate reveals a boot that's one of the very largest in the class, the 770-litre capacity giving you more space than you'd find in a comparable Range Rover Sport. In fact, there's so much room here that you wonder why Porsche doesn't offer an optional third row pair of fold-out chairs. Evidently, though, MPV-ness is still a step too far for the brand just at present: expect that to change in the future. Should you need more room, then across the range, the rear backrest is split 40:20:40 so that, if necessary, you can push through long items like skis between two rear-seated occupants. If you've specified air suspension, you can also more easily take really heavy items too, courtesy of a useful cargo wall button that can lower down the loading lip to help your arthritic Labrador. Completely flattening the rear bench (a process that as an option can be electrically powered) frees up as much as 1,710-litres of fresh air. That's more than you'd get from a large Executive segment estate like BMW's 5 Series Touring or Audi's A6 Avant.

Behind the Wheelword count: 347

Since the beginning, the Cayenne has appealed to buyers looking for a sharper, more sporting drive from their SUV. Despite this, it's always been extremely good off road, as long as you don't mind exposing those big alloy wheels to a bit of a pranging. The Cayenne continues to set the benchmark when it comes to driving satisfaction in a large luxury SUV. Drive one on a racetrack and it'll steer with a directness that no other car in this class can match, with an optional active anti-roll system on hand to make it corner like one too. At full chat, the petrol engines even sound suitably red-blooded. All that weight has to tell somewhere of course - and you certainly feel it under braking - but by and large, like it or not, this car represents an astonishing engineering achievement. Especially as the on-demand 4WD system combines with optional air suspension to create impressive off road prowess. This MK3 model line-up kicks off with a turbocharged 3.0-litre V6 petrol unit developing 330bhp. Next up is the Cayenne S, which gets a twin-turbocharged 2.9-litre V6 good for 434bhp. At the top of the range is the Cayenne Turbo, which this time round swaps a 4.8-litre V8 for a 4.0-litre twin turbo V8 putting out a potent 533bhp. There's also a Hybrid version of this SUV which uses a 3.0-litre V6. The hybrid Cayenne's engine puts out 335bhp, a figure then bolstered by a further 134bhp from the electric motor, so total system power amounts to 469bhp. Optional extras (fitted as standard at the top of the range) include a new three-chamber air suspension system, an active anti-roll system and rear-wheel steering, but some enthusiasts might feel that these features detract a little from the purity of the driving experience. Most seem to agree that this now sets the class standard. It's also worth mentioning that this Cayenne is just as happy as its predecessor off the beaten track. A spare set of off-road wheels and tyres might prevent some costly refurbishment work to the standard alloys though.

Value For Moneyword count: 195

Asking figures for Cayenne ownership start at around £55,000, but you'll need nearly double that for the top Turbo version. Still, it's hard to argue with the amount of kit the car gets as standard. There's a full leather interior, Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM), Bi-Xenon headlights, front and rear ParkAssist, tyre pressure monitoring, automatic dimming rear view mirrors, Porsche Communication Management with touch-screen satellite navigation and audio controls, cruise control and a three year warranty. That's on top of a Porsche Vehicle Tracking System (VTS). There's also a clever cruise control system that takes into account speed limits, bends and inclines. You won't expect it to be cheap to run - and it isn't. The base 3.0-litre V6 Cayenne manages between 31.4 and 30.7mpg on the combined cycle and between 205 and 209g/km of CO2 (variance depending on spec and wheel size). For the twin turbo 2.9-litre Cayenne S, the figures are between 30.7 and 30.1mpg and between 209-213g/km. And for the Cayenne Turbo, you're looking at between 24.1mpg and 23.7mpg, with CO2 readings between 267-272g/km. I would imagine 'real world' consumption on that top variant is likely to be a good deal scarier.

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Category: Crossover or SUV 4x4s

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This is an excerpt from our full review.
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