To give the Cayenne Turbo its un-SUV-like handling characteristics under nearly all driving conditions, engineers incorporated an extra-large double-track control arm configuration up front, and a rear sub frame-mounted multilink assembly. Both ends employ airbags for load leveling and selectable ride height. With six different levels, the Cayenne Turbo adjusts ride height over a range of 4.56 inches, giving it a maximum ground clearance of 10.75 inches.

Given its Autobahn breeding, the Turbo is surprisingly compliant off road, soaking up almost all irregularities terra firma can dish out. Selecting the 2.7:1 low range, the Cayenne has no problem ascending steep trails. We're impressed with Porsche's Active Suspension Management System that steadies body sway over deep ruts by adjusting shock rates at any corner within milliseconds. Onroad, the system allows three damper settings: Comfort (for a Cadillac-like ride), normal (which feels like Boxster tuning), and sport which is 911-ish in nature.

With all the ruggedness outside, the Cayenne Turbo's interior is all Porsche inside. Front, side, and curtain air bags are standard in all Cayennes, hidden beneath layers of supple leather and suede. Aluminum trims the cabin, creating an elegant yet technical-looking living space. As with all Porsches, the front buckets are perfectly sculpted, providing great support for long stints behind the wheel. There's plenty of back seat space, with great head, leg, and foot room for two adults. Three will fit, so long as you don't mind being friendly. And unlike the BMW X5, you can get a weekend's worth of luggage in the cargo for four adults, the Cayenne besting the Bimmer's capacity by nearly 3 cubic feet.

One aspect we never thought we'd see in a Porsche is towing capacity, and the Turbo pulls quite well. With a max tongue weight of 616 lb and a 7716-lb capacity, it's a safe bet that you'll see Cayennes hauling cabin cruisers as easily as if they were personal watercraft.

Starting at $88,900, and quickly working into the mid-90s with a few options, the Cayenne Turbo is in rarified air. But for those who want the power, excitemen, and driving dynamics of a Porsche, paired with the liveability and convenience of a sport/utility, the Cayenne Turbo really has no competition -- it truly is in a class by itself.