If you want to know how we can improve driving standards in the UAE, it’s simple – the only thing we have to do is we all drive Porsche Cayenne Turbos…
Photos: James Davison
I am at Porsche Center Dubai on Shaikh Zayed Road to pick up the latest Porsche Cayenne Turbo and I have managed to embarrass myself in front of the sales assistant within five minutes of my arrival. As he is walking me through the various features of the car, I whinge about the electronic vents that need to be readjusted every time you turn on the car and inquire whether there is a way to save their setting to avoid this drill. He politely explains that it is possible to create a profile that would remember all the settings including seat position, mood lighting, driving configuration and, yes, the position of the electronic central air vents every time the car starts. However, he also points out that those are exclusive to the Panamera. The Cayenne’s air vents are, in fact, “manual, as you can see…”
I get out of there to avoid further embarrassment. On the road the Cayenne Turbo is quite something. It is monumentally quick, but I don’t have much time to stretch its legs today. The ride quality has improved tremendously, too.
Not entirely sure about the optional Jet Black Metallic exterior finish – It’s not a cost option. In fact, there are a total of eight standard metallic finishes to choose from. I think dark colours hide several of the styling details; I’d go for the Biskay Blue Metallic or any of the lighter hues. And, if you’re feeling particularly flush with cash then you can order the special Palladium Metallic colour for about AED9,200. I like it a lot, actually.
On the highway, the first thing I notice is how much the ride quality has improved in the third-generation Cayenne Turbo. You see, the problem with high-riding cars is that they tend to bob around corners and engineers have to remedy that with a thumping big sway bar. However, while it reduces the lean, it also knackers the ride quality. Porsche uses an electronic system which strikes a fantastic balance, making the ride one of the highlights of this car. It’s not as choppy as a BMW X5M on rough road surfaces, for instance.
Later in the day, I try to take some photos of the Cayenne for our Instagram account, but the black finish makes it almost impossible to shoot this thing. You have to be exceptionally skilled, and a professional automotive photographer, to capture decent photos of a black car. I am neither…
I’m late for a meeting and now would be the opportune time to check out what the 550-horsepower, 770Nm, 4.0-litre, turbocharged V8 can do. Handily, my tester is equipped with the optional Sport Chrono Package, which cuts the 0-100 km/h time to 3.9 seconds (the standard Turbo does it in 4.1). My gosh! This thing is rapid. And not just rapid for an SUV, it’s mentally quick, full stop. For context, 3.9 seconds to 100km/h is a sprint time most current bona fide supercars can manage. To do that in a high-riding SUV just feels… surreal.
But then again, the Cayenne Turbo never feels like an SUV – it’s almost like a very well sorted sports saloon. Even though this particular car isn’t equipped with the optional rear-axle steering (An AED7.910 option, and worth every fil, in my opinion) the Cayenne Turbo changes direction with such conviction and decisiveness that you begin to question the laws of physics, and whether Stephen Hawking was making things up all along. And that’s just in straight-out-of-the-box default mode.
Want more? Switch it to Sport+ and hang on for dear life as the Cayenne Turbo pummels you into the back of the seat with the sheer ferocity of its acceleration. That’s quick enough, but you can amp up the performance further if you hit the Sport Response button on the steering wheel and for 20 seconds you get the full fury of the drivetrain – it is beyond belief.
I reach work quite quickly, as you can probably imagine.
It’s a quiet day today, so I’ve decided to run some errands. At city speeds, the new Cayenne Turbo is a completely different car altogether. Not literally of course; it doesn’t magically transform into a Nissan Sunny around town. The ride quality is extremely pliant and there are no hesitant judders from the transmission. Porsche has used its standard eight-speed Tiptronic instead of the double-clutch PDK ’box here and that’s a good move.
Also, the cabin is supremely luxurious. The interior could easily belong in a million-dirham car and no one would bat an eye-lid. This particular Cayenne has the optional two-tone, black-mojave beige, smooth leather upholstery and it’s extremely plush and the seats are super comfy.
My seven-year-old son, who is a huge fan of maps for some reason, loves the sat-nav on the Cayenne and declares it the best he’s ever seen. And before you scoff, he’s seen pretty much every possible kind from a Ford to a Ferrari, so there…
The week is almost over and I still haven’t got any photos for the feature. I call my automotive journo slash photographer buddy James Davison (You can check his Instagram here) and ask him if he’s able to shoot the Cayenne for me. He agrees.
The rendezvous point is somewhere in Al Quoz. He sends me a location pin, I follow it on Google Maps, and yet manage to get lost. My legendary navigational ineptitude is clearly still intact.
I eventually make it and then we head to his apartment in the Marina to get his gear and finally to the shoot location. Davison concurs, this car is very difficult to photograph because of its colour. I feel slightly better about myself.
Davison also likes the Cayenne Turbo a lot and we are in full agreement that this is possibly the best fast SUV in its price bracket.
It is an early start to attend a meeting in Abu Dhabi at 9:00am sharp and the Cayenne Turbo is the perfect tool for the job. If you’ve ever witnessed the horrific driving standards on the highway you’ll know that it’s tailgaters galore for almost the entire 100km-plus journey. In the Cayenne Turbo, literally no one drives inches from your rear bumper or flashes their headlights. Slow-pokes, too, jump out of the way as soon as the car emerges in their rear-view mirror. I could get used to this.
Everyone should drive a Porsche Cayenne Turbo, if we’re ever going to crack down on tailgating and improve driving standards in this country. Problem sorted.
It’s back to Porsche Center Dubai to drop off this super-SUV and the eager sales assistant wants to know my opinion of the car. And to be honest, having lived with it for a week I can quite confidently say that the new Cayenne Turbo begs the question: why do others even bother making a fast SUV?
The Cayenne Turbo melds the drivability of a sports saloon with the performance of a sportscar and yet delivers the comfort and practicality of a family crossover. If there is truly a car in this segment that lives up to the ‘Sports’ promise in SUV moniker, this is it.
My phone rings; I have another meeting in Abu Dhabi tomorrow. Sigh…
Porsche Cayenne Turbo
4.0-litre twin-turbocharged V8 | eight-speed automatic, all-wheel drive | 550 horsepower and 770Nm of torque from 1,960rpm | zero to 100km/h in 3.9 seconds and a top speed of 286km/h | From AED582,000; as tested AED625,060