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Paris show: Porsche spices up second-gen Cayenne

Light fantastic: Porsche's facelifted Cayenne features a 3D tail-light treatment and a restyled tailgate.

Mid-life update for Porsche Cayenne includes plug-in hybrid and power upgrades

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Porsche logo24 Jul 2014

By TIM NICHOLSON

PORSCHE has revealed its facelifted second-generation Cayenne SUV ahead of its Paris motor show debut in October and Australian on-sale introduction in November this year.

The updates to the hugely successful sports crossover include subtle styling tweaks, some mechanical changes for better performance and fuel efficiency and the addition of a new plug-in hybrid variant.

Changes to the styling of the second-gen model, that arrived in mid 2010, include new panels and body work from the windscreen forward and new “airblades” running through the grille and lower air intakes, that Porsche says guide cooling air to the intercoolers.

High-spec variants, including the S and Turbo, feature LED headlights and the Porsche Dynamic Light System (PDLS) as standard, while the Diesel now has bi-Xenon headlights and LED daytime running lights.

At the rear, the Cayenne's tail-light cluster has been redesigned and now features a 3D effect, and the tailgate handle and lights and registration plate recess have been slightly restyled. The exhaust pipes have also been re-jigged and are now housed in the lower part of the body.

Equally subtle changes have been made to the cabin, with the inclusion of a new multi-function steering wheel with paddle shifters, based on the tiller in the 918 Spyder hybrid-powered hypercar.

A tyre pressure monitoring system is standard across the range, and rear-seat air-vents are now available as an option.

The biggest change to the range is the addition of the plug-in S E-Hybrid, which Porsche points out is the first of its kind in the luxury segment. The Volkswagen-owned sportscar-maker has beaten BMW to the punch, with the plug-in hybrid X5 not set to debut in production guise until later this year or early next year.

The S E-Hybrid features a 10kWh lithium-ion traction battery which allows for an electric-only driving range of between 18km and 36 km, depending on road conditions and driving style.

The new plug-in variant replaces the non-plug-in Cayenne S Hybrid, and marks the third vehicle in Porsche's arsenal to be equipped with the petrol-electric technology behind the Panamera S E-Hybrid and the aforementioned 918 Spyder that are not sold in Australia.

Power in the electric motor has risen from 34kW in the outgoing hybrid to 70kW in the plug-in, and combined with the 245kW 3.0-litre supercharged V6 produces 306kW at 5500rpm and 590Nm of torque from 1250 to 4000rpm.

This powerplant can push the Cayenne from a standing start to 100km/h in 5.9 seconds on the way to a top speed of 243km/h (125km/h in electric mode), while sipping just 3.4 litres of fuel per 100 kilometres on the combined cycle.

The Cayenne S swaps a 4.8-litre V8 for a 3.6-litre twin-turbo V6 and gets a 15kW/50Nm power boost to 309kW/550Nm, and engine displacement is also up from 61kW per litre to 86kW, which is about a 40 per cent gain.

Matched with an eight-speed Tiptronic S transmission, the 0-100km/h sprint time of 5.5 seconds in the S is 0.4 seconds quicker than the outgoing model, and fuel consumption sits between 9.5 and 9.8L/100km, which is an improvement of about 1.0L/km.

In Turbo guise, the Cayenne gets a 14kW/50Nm increase to 382kW/750Nm from the 4.8-litre twin-turbo V8 petrol engine, which pushes the SUV from 0-100km/h in 4.5 seconds before reaching the 279km/h top speed, while consuming between 11.2 and 11.5L/100km of fuel.

Oil-burning Cayennes gain slight increases in power and torque, with the Diesel variant powered by a 3.0-litre turbo-diesel V6 offering an extra 13kW/30Nm for an output of 193kW/580Nm, allowing for a 0-100km/h dash time of 7.3 seconds and fuel use of 6.6 to 6.8L/100km.

The Diesel S gains just 3kW of extra power over the outgoing model for 283kW, while torque remains at a whopping 850Nm.

The top-performing Cayenne oiler rushes to 100km/h in 5.4 seconds before hitting a top speed of 252km/h all the while using 8.0L/100km of fuel.

Porsche says it has retuned the chassis of the updated Cayenne to ensure it is “optimised for even greater comfort” without compromising the big SUV's dynamic prowess.

Pricing for the existing Cayenne range in Australia starts at $100,200, plus on-road costs, for the V6 and topping out at $259,600 for the Turbo S.

It is unclear how much this will change, but new pricing and specification will be revealed ahead of the refreshed model's November 8 on-sale date.

The Cayenne is, perhaps unsurprisingly, the best-selling Porsche so far this year, with 768 SUVs finding homes to the end of June, which is a 42.8 per cent jump over the same period last year.

Porsche's high-riding performance car is also outselling its mechanically related cousin, the Audi Q7, which has shifted 763 units in the first six months of the year.

It does, however, trail a number of other models in the premium large SUV segment, such as the top-selling BMW X5 (2033 sales), Mercedes-Benz ML-Class (1370) and Range Rover Sport (1312).

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