The interior package itself is similar to an old Cayenne’s: there’s a more sloping rear roofline but a slightly lower seating position has preserved head room, although leg room is not dramatically better than that offered by a Macan. The boot, however, is usefully bigger even than that of the old Cayenne.
Anyone who’s driven a previous Cayenne Turbo will know the 4.8-litre engine was one of the most characterful, forced induction motors on the market. The new one is not like that. It’s distinctly quiet by comparison and even when it gives its all, its voice is quiet and cultured. Some may like these more sophisticated manners, others will miss the old car’s uninhibited vocals. But no one will doubt the performance: this is a ferociously fast machine whose acceleration is somehow all the more remarkable for the car’s refusal to shout about it. In my experience, only the Bentayga makes you as aware of the physical forces required to accelerate that much mass at so preposterous a rate. And you lose nothing by not having the double clutch transmission: the new ZF is so good it appears to give entirely smooth and seamless changes from rest to whatever speed you think your licence will withstand.
It’s not just quick in a straight line, either. The problem with large, ultra-powerful SUVs is that they tend not to carry speed, meaning the disparity in performance in a straight line and through a corner is probably greater than in any other car. This, in turn, means that you are always shedding and then recovering speed, not always to the comfort of your passengers. But the Cayenne suffers less from this than any rival because it has a knack for finding grip when all logic tells you there should be none. Most of the time its poise comes from body control I’d not felt bettered by any similar car. The combination of those three chamber springs and the active anti-roll bars manage the mass of the car almost absurdly well, and if you press on even harder, you feel the four-wheel drive starting to work overtime too: instead of just scrubbing off speed in messy understeer or summoning the safety systems to save you from yourself, it just starts shuttling great gobs of torque to the four corners in any proportion that will allow the car to bite back into the apex. And it does so brilliantly.
But there’s a catch. For all its entirely successful efforts to ensure the Cayenne is devastatingly fast cross country for a two-and-a-bit-tonne SUV, Porsche has left the driver more amazed than engaged in the process. Clearly, we have to manage our expectations when it comes to aspects such as the amount of steering feel likely to be provided by one so high and heavy, and had this model line not had previous form, perhaps I’d not have noticed so much. But the old Cayenne always found a way to involve the driver more, put them on the stage and not in the stalls; for all its additional abilities, it is this less easily quantified but no less important aspect that has been slightly but significantly downgraded. Bluntly, it feels less like a Porsche. Interestingly, a recent drive in a pre-production base-spec 3-litre petrol Cayenne on steel springs revealed a car that was far more involving and communicative, albeit one that rides very rather than outstandingly well. Turbos all have air springs as standard.
Does the Turbo’s slightly aloof nature matter? To many, most even, it will not. What will count for far more is the car’s new-found capabilities, its superb interior, outstanding refinement and the fact that it both looks like a Porsche and goes like one too. The fact that it feels a little less like one will be neither here nor there. The price may have gone up five grand from that of the old Turbo but when the result is as quick as a current Turbo S (and likely far quicker point to point) and is so improved in looks and capabilities, the value is not hard to see.