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Car reviews - Porsche - Cayenne - 5-dr wagon range

Launch Story

Porsche logo30 Mar 2007

By CHRIS HARRIS

PORSCHE Cars Australia (PCA) has thrown out the welcome mat to a new group of customers with a $94,700 Cayenne.

Using a Volkswagen Group engine, the V6 model is the first sub-$100,000 Porsche for more than 20 years.

PCA has defended the introduction of its first V6 model, insisting it will not flood the market and drag down the value of the brand. Even so, the company decided not to let journalists drive the V6 Cayenne at the launch of the refreshed Cayenne launch last week in Victoria, only allowing more expensive and more powerful V8 models to be tested.

PCA managing director Michael Winkler said the company did not want the upgrades across the whole range to be overshadowed by the arrival of the V6 model.



“It is almost a lose-lose decision to make. From my point of view we really wanted to demonstrate the upgrades that the new car has compared with the old model and the way to do that is with reference models (V8s) that everyone is familiar with, rather than risk a bit of confusion and turning it into a six-cylinder launch,” Mr Winkler said.

PCA spokesman Paul Ellis added the company had to airfreight the media test cars in time for the launch and wanted to bring the best models. “We could have left one V8 behind and brought a V6 in its place, but we wanted to do a top-down approach,” he said. “We are not holding back on the V6, please don’t take that message away.”

While the more affordable V6 model is attracting most of the attention, all Cayenne models have been given a mid-life update.

On sale April 1, the updated SUV features fresh styling and heavily revised engines with improved performance and better fuel economy. Pricing for the two existing Cayenne models has increased. The V8 S model is up by $4600 to $134,500 and the V8 Turbo is up $8100 to $215,200.

A Cayenne with a 3.2-litre V6 engine was made available in overseas markets before this mid-cycle facelift came along, but PCA decided against importing it. The new engine that has made the cut is a revised 3.6-litre V6, which has 29kW more power for a total of 213kW, while torque rises by 75Nm to 385Nm.

Just like the V8 Cayenne models, a six-speed automatic transmission comes standard. A six-speed manual is also a no-cost option for the V6 and S, while the Turbo only comes as an automatic.

The V6, like the two V8 engines, now uses direct petrol injection. The six- cylinder Cayenne is no featherweight at 2160kg and takes 8.5 seconds to run from 0-100km/h. Combined fuel economy for the six-cylinder Cayenne stands at 12.9L/100km.

The equipment level of the V6 Cayenne reflects its cheaper price tag and compared to the V8 models it misses out on air suspension, a 6.5-inch centre console screen and satellite navigation system, multi-function steering wheel and a premium Bose CD sound system. It also runs on 17-inch wheels as standard, while the S and Turbo come standard with 18-inch rims.

Standard safety gear across the range includes stability control and six airbags, while a rollover sensor that can deploy the curtain airbags when it anticipates a crash has been added.

The naturally aspirated 4.5-litre V8 used in the Cayenne S has been increased to 4.8 litres and now uses variable valve timing and lift for intake which boosts power by 33kW to 283kW and torque by 80Nm to 500Nm. The 2225kg Cayenne S has a combined fuel economy figure of 13.7L/100km and sprints from 0-100km/h in 6.8 seconds, 0.2 seconds faster than the previous model.

The same engine, fitted with twin-turbos, generates 368kW and 700Nm of torque in the Cayenne Turbo, 37kW and 80Nm up on the previous model. Weighing in at 2355kg, the Cayenne Turbo uses 14.9L/100km and runs from 0-100km/h in just 5.1 seconds, 0.5 seconds faster than before.

The Turbo runs the same equipment as the S, adding bi-Xenon headlights with cornering function, electrically adjustable steering wheel, more extensive leather trim that also covers the doors and dashboard, metallic paint, sunroof and keyless entry and start.

A rear-view camera is a $3590 option across the range, while an electric tailgate is a $1390 option.

The updated Cayenne model features a new bonnet and front guards and headlights, while other changes have been made to the front and rear bumpers and tail-lights. The front end of the Turbo now features a massive airdam that makes it easily identifiable as the king of the range.

Apart from the engine changes, the running gear of the Cayenne remains largely the same apart from a new optional stability system called Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control. PDCC costs $7390 and works in conjunction with the air suspension that is standard on V8 models and costs $6850 for the V6. It uses anti-roll bars and actuators to reduce bodyroll, keeping the Cayenne level under lateral forces of up to 0.65g.

PCA predicts the V6 will account for about 25 per cent of Cayenne sales, while the S model will remain the most popular model with 50 per cent. The Cayenne sales target for 2007 is 460, down on the peak of 562 in 2004, but up from the model’s 414 sales of last year.

PCA says it will actively promote the price of the V6 model in Cayenne advertising and is confident of luring many existing BMW X5 and Mercedes-Benz ML customers.



“A lot of people just assume it would cost $170,000 we want to let them know they can afford it,” Mr Winkler said. Even so, Mr Winkler said PCA would not flood the market with the more affordable six-cylinder model and was prepared to limit supply.



“We are going to keep the supply tight,” he said. “We are also going to make sure we maintain a degree of exclusivity for the brand.”

“Once you take the $97,000 base price, put some options on it and the on-road price on it at $120,000, it is sill a very expensive car and an exclusive car. I think it will regulate itself.”

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