THE PROS & CONS
- What’s Best: Technology and performance that re-sets the SUV bar.
- What’s Worst: There is so much going on in the Cayenne most people will never get to take advantage of it all.
- What’s Interesting: Porsche set out to build a five-seat truck with all the attributes of a 911 that can also tow up to 750 kg.
GREVENBROICH; Germany; Test driver Jochen Moeckl threw the prototype 2018 Porsche Cayenne SUV into yet another lurid slide on the wet pad and I couldn’t stop laughing.
Around we went, backwards, sideways and then forward with Moeckl in complete control doing things with the third generation Cayenne I thought were impossible.
But they are!
We were at Porsche’s Driving Safety Centre in Grevenbroich, in central Germany, among the first to see the 2018 Cayenne mid-size SUV, which will be coming to Canada next summer.
Prior to the first drive which you will see first here in coming weeks, Porsche wanted to show the world media how far they have progressed into making this perhaps not just the most capable on- and off-road SUV in the world, but also the smartest.
What do I mean by smart?
How about you using your smartphone to allow the Cayenne to automatically find an open parking spot and, when the app becomes available next summer, to park itself with you in or – get ready – outside the truck?
But even more astounding to me was the technology, such as the new Porsche Surface Coated Brake (PSCB) that puts a layer of tungsten carbide on the rotor disc face that dramatically increases stopping power with virtually no brake dust.
Or how about a leading edge, three-chamber air suspension which is fully adaptive, allowing the driver to go off-road on one setting and straight onto a racetrack and win with another setting?
And for wow factor, the topline Turbo model can be had with a five-position upper roof-trailing spoiler that in its most extreme (+ 80 mm) acts like an airbrake, and from a speed of 250 km/h, shortens the stopping by an extra two metres.
The 2018 Cayenne will be offered with a choice of three engines, starting with the 3.0-litre, direct injection single turbo V6 with 340 hp and 331 lb/ft of torque followed by a 2.9-litre direct injection twin turbo V6 in the Cayenne S with 440 hp and 405 lb/ft. Lastly, there is the mighty 4.0-litre, direct injection twin turbo V8 Cayenne Turbo with 550 hp and 568 lb/ft.
It may be a truck, but it is a mighty quick one, with the 4.0-litre doing 0-100 km/k is 4.1 seconds and a breathtaking 3.9 seconds with the Sport Chrono package.
The 2.9-litre is no slouch either, at 5.2 seconds (4.9 seconds Sport Chrono) with the 3.0-litre coming in at 6.2 seconds (5.9 seconds Sport Chrono).
Propulsion is Porsche’s well proven full-time all-wheel-drive, which is primarily rear-biased but can route up to 100 per cent of torque to the front wheels if necessary, or from side to side with automatic torque vectoring.
Rather then a dual clutch system, the Cayenne is fitted with an eight-speed Tiptronic automatic transmission with a torque converter. The reason is a torque converter is more robust, allowing the Cayenne to tow up to 750 kg.
The Tiptronic hits its highest speed in sixth gear. The seventh and eighth speeds, along with a coasting mode, are aimed at maximum fuel efficiency especially on long-distance cruising.
Fuel conservation is aided by standard stop/start technology when the car coasts to a stop when approaching a traffic light increasing comfort and reducing fuel consumption. The auto start/stop function is automatically deactivated in the Sport and Sport Plus driving modes.
Borrowed from the Panamera is optional rear axle steering that builds up lateral acceleration at the rear-axle significantly sooner and reduces the turning circle.
At speeds of up to approximately 80 km/h, the axles steer in opposite directions. This feature not only ensures significantly higher agility and steering precision, but also makes manoeuvring easier.
At higher speeds, both axles steer in the same direction, resulting in even greater driving stability, for example when changing lanes on the highway at high speeds.
Where this could actually be felt was when Moeckl went full throttle down an off-camber turn to the left, which would have sent mere mortal SUVs into the weeds.
Not only did the Cayenne stick like glue, but there was, surprising, no rubber scream of protest from the tires.
Another reason is what the brand calls Porsche 4D Chassis Control, the Cayenne being the first to employ the system.
It centrally analyses the driving situation in all three dimensions (longitudinal, transverse and vertical acceleration). The fourth dimension is the provision of information in real time.
Also Read: The Stelvio Pass is Just the Beginning
Amazingly, it provides an integrated approach that enables the chassis systems to respond proactively to the upcoming driving situation.
When I get to drive the 2018 Cayenne in a few weeks, I’ll be able to find out if this is truly the 911 of sport trucks.
Also Read: Porsche Cayenne Turbo 2019 Announced
2018 Porsche Cayenne
BODY STYLE: Five-passenger premium mid-size SUV.
DRIVE METHOD: Front-engine, permanent all-wheel drive with eight-speed Tiptronic S automatic transmission.
ENGINE: 3.0-litre direct injection single turbo V6 (340 hp, 331 lb/ft); 2.9-litre direct injection twin turbo V6 (440 hp, 405 lb/ft); 4.0-litre direction injection twin turbo V8 (550 hp, 568 lb/ft)
CARGO VOLUME: 770 litres behind second row, 1,701 litres folded
FUEL ECONOMY: (Premium 93 octane) 3.0-litre, 11.3/8.0/9.2L/100 km city/highway/combined; 2.9-litre, 11.8/8.4/9.4L/100 km; 4.0-litre, 16.4/9.5/11.9L/100 km
TOW RATING: 750 kg (3,500 lb)
PRICE: Cayenne, $75,500; Cayenne S, $92,600; Cayenne Turbo, TBA
WEB SITE: www.porsche.com/canada