Road Test: 2006 Porsche Cayenne Turbo S
Testing the World's Most Powerful Sport/Utility
Exploring a vehicle's dynamic limits will, on occasion, cause us to be rough on the hardware. It's not that we enjoy smoking clutches, boiling brakes, or atomizing tires (okay, maybe a little), but heavy-footed manhandling is an often unavoidable part of discovering all we can about the mount under lash.
Larger, aluminum intercoolers and a boost in turbo pressure are responsible for this ueber-'ute's 520 horsepower and 168-mph top speed, but those figures were simply sidebars to our first drive. Dubai's modest speed limits, numerous speed cameras, and herds of wandering camels kept our on-pavement behavior well under control--but that all changed when the pavement ended. The Cayenne can take an impressive amount of punishment without stumble or grumble as its permanent four-wheel drive collaborates with the electronically sophisticated Porsche Traction Management (PTM) and air-spring suspension (with six different levels of ground clearance) to pull its 5200 pounds through, up, and over most obstacles with ease.
In normal on-road conditions, PTM sends 62 percent of the engine's torque to the rear wheels, echoing standard Porsche practice and supplying the sport-minded driver that coveted rear-drive dynamic. If the system detects a lack of traction at either axle, such as on slippery pavement, ice and snow, or over not so firm ground--PTM then can transfer the lion's share of the twin-turbo V-8's power to the axle with grip through a longitudinal differential lock. Should the going get really rough, the driver can select a low-range mode, where-upon PTM works through a reduced-ratio off-pavement gear and recalibrates the control settings for the ABS, traction control, and the center differential and also raises the ride height by just over an inch. And if the terrain becomes especially difficult, where individual wheels might lose contact with the ground, actuating the low-range switch a second time provides a locked drive system for even better traction and increases ride height to 10.8 inches.
For hard-core dirt-pounders, an optional Advanced Offroad Technology Package adds a rear-axle differential lock, special side protection, a system that decouples the anti-roll bars for greater wheel articulation, and a steel plate under the floor panel around the radiator.
In addition to the enhanced powertrain, the Turbo S offers larger brakes, modified suspension components, revised software controls for Porsche's Active Suspension Management, and 20-inch wheels with 275/40 all-season radials specially designed for the Cayenne and good for speeds up to 186 mph. Deep sand is tough to negotiate without special tires made for this purpose, but the Cayenne became mired in the fine-grained sand of the region only when we failed to apply enough throttle to plow through the deeper holes. Our foray into the dunes required nothing more than a reduction in tire pressures. A tire-pressure monitoring system is standard, and an on-board compressor and pressure hose allow reinflation when the vehicle returns to civilization.
And talk about punch: Porsche claims the Turbo S will do the 0-to-60 dance in about 4.8 seconds. Though Porsche's numbers are usually accurate to somewhat conservative, we didn't have the opportunity to affix our test gear to verify this number. But we have little reason to doubt it.
Its list of standard equipment is similar to the 450-horsepower $91,015 Cayenne Turbo's, but the new Turbo S is a bit more expensive. Its MSRP of $112,415 is far above the normally aspirated V-8 Cayenne S's $58,015 ("just" 340 horses), while the VW V-6-powered Cayenne seems an outright bargain at a paltry $43,015 (along with its paltry 247 horses). The only visual clues to S ownership are the badging, quad tailpipes, and body-color front air-intake grilles.
Few Cayenne owners outside of the Arabian Peninsula will ever discover that the Cayenne's four-wheel drive can do lots more than just climb an icy driveway to the mansion on the hill or carve a sure-footed line through oily freeway onramps. It might not have the dirt-encrusted cachet of a Jeep or Land Rover, but if one needs to cross the country quickly without touching asphalt, the Cayenne Turbo S is a well-qualified and superbly performing choice.
|2006 Porsche Cayenne Turbo S|
|Location of final assembly||Leipzig, Germany|
|Body style||5-pass, 4-door SUV|
|EPA size class||Midsize SUV|
|Drivetrain layout||Front engine, 4WD|
|Airbags||Front, side, head curtain|
|Engine type||90°: twin-turbo V-8, all aluminum|
|Bore x stroke, in||3.66 x 3.27|
|Valve gear||DOHC, 4 valves/cyl|
|SAE horsepower, hp @ rpm||520 @ 5500 rpm|
|SAE torque, lb-ft @ rpm||530 @ 2750 rpm|
|Recommended fuel||Premium unleaded|
|Track, f/r, in||64.6/65.2|
|Headroom, f/r, in||39.7/38.9|
|Legroom, f/r, in||40.6/36.0|
|Shoulder room, f/r, in||58.5/56.7|
|Hiproom, f/r, in||57.4/53.3|
|Cargo volume, rear seat up, cu ft||19.1|
|Cargo volume, rear seat down, cu ft||62.5|
|Ground clearance, in||10.8|
|Approach/departure angle, deg||32.4/27.3|
|Curb weight, lb||5200 (mfr)|
|Max payload capacity, lb||1598|
|Max GVWR, lb||6790|
|Max GCWR, lb||N/A|
|Max towing capacity, lb||7716|
|Fuel capacity, gal||26.4|
|Suspension, f/r||Independent w/control arms/ independent w/multi-arm axle on subframe|
|Steering type||Hydraulic assisted rack and pinion|
|Turns, lock to lock||2.65|
|Turning circle, ft||38.4|
|Brakes, f/r||Vented disc/vented disc, 4WABS|
|Wheels, f/r||20x9.0-in, 20x10.0-in alum|
|Tire type||Michelin Diamaris|
|EPA fuel economy, city/hwy||13/18 (est)|
|Acceleration, 0-60 mph, sec||4.8 (mfr est)|
|On sale in U.S.||Currently|