Porsche had added a seventh trim level to its Cayenne SUV family, and it's the fastest, most powerful, and most expensive version yet. Compared to the Cayenne Turbo on which it's based, the new Turbo S packs an extra 50 horsepower, as well as a long list of extra standard equipment.
The big news concerns the twin-turbocharged 4.8-liter V-8 engine, which now produces 550 hp and 553 lb-ft of torque, up from 500 hp and 516 lb-ft in the standard Porsche Cayenne Turbo. That's enough for the Turbo S to reach 60 mph in a claimed 4.3 seconds and a top speed of 175 mph -- 0.1 second quicker and 3 mph faster than a regular Cayenne Turbo.The horsepower and torque figures match those of the Porsche Panamera Turbo S, which uses the same engine as this Cayenne.
To ensure the suspension can keep pace with the upgraded engine, several items that are optional on other versions of the Porsche Cayenne come standard on the Turbo S, including Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control, Porsche Torque Vectoring Plus, and Power Steering Plus. PDCC actively adjusts the suspension to reduce body roll, PTV Plus applies the inside-rear brake to encourage sharper turns and can lock the rear differential, and Power Steering Plus changes how much power assistance is provided based on vehicle speed. An eight-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive are standard.
To distinguish the Turbo S from lesser models, Porsche applies gloss-black trim to the front air intakes and rearview mirror, adds 21-inch 911 Turbo II-style wheels with gloss black accents,and fits a pair of polished aluminum dual exhaust tips. Carbon fiber trim pieces and an Alcantara headliner are standard in the interior, and buyers get a choice between exclusive Black/Carrera Red (pictured below) and Black/Luxor Beige leather upholstery.
The Porsche Cayenne Turbo S goes on sale in the U.S. next spring from $146,975 (including a $975 destination charge). That makes it the most expensive version of Porsche's SUV; the existing 2013 Cayenne Turbo costs $109,725.
The addition of the Turbo S brings the total number of Porsche Cayenne variants to seven: the 300-hp Cayenne V-6, the 240-hp Cayenne Diesel, the 400-hp Cayenne S, the 380-hp Cayenne S Hybrid, the 420-hp Cayenne GTS, the 500-hp Cayenne Turbo, and the new 550-hp Cayenne Turbo S.
A Porsche not to your tastes? There are still several other high-performance luxury SUVs that offer similar power to the Turbo S -- and often for less money. The 2012 BMW X5 M and X6 M both have a twin-turbo 4.4-liter V-8 engine with 555 hp and 500 lb-ft of torque. The X5 M costs $88,145 while the X6 M is $91,195. The 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8 has a 6.4-liter V-8 engine with only 470 hp, but its base price of $61,785 is less than half that of the Porsche Cayenne Turbo S.
The 2012 Range Rover Sport Supercharged costs $76,095 and has a 510-hp supercharged 5.0-liter V-8 engine. Finally Mercedes-Benz offers the 550-hp GL63 AMG and the 518-hp ML63 AMG, both of which have twin-turbo 5.5-liter V-8 engines. The ML63 costs $97,005, but prices for the GL63 have yet to be announced.