New 2018 Porsche Cayenne Everything you need to know

After revealing its all-new Cayenne last month, Porsche then unveiled the current top-of-the-range Turbo at this year’s Frankfurt motor show. Now with a three-strong model range, including the basic Cayenne, the S and the Turbo, Porsche invited evo to learn everything there is to know about the new SUV. We were also treated to a passenger ride around the ADAC’s test facility near Düsseldorf.

Engine

There are currently only three engines available in the Cayenne, however all are direct injection turbocharged petrol with ‘hot-V’, which is where the compressors are located on top of the engine between the cylinder banks. The base Cayenne is powered by a 3-litre V6 that produces 335bhp and 332lb ft. Oddly, the more powerful Cayenne S has a smaller capacity V6, only a 2.9-litre. Still, it betters the 3-litre unit by 99bhp and 74lb ft to give it a total power out put of 434bhp and 406lb ft of torque. The added power is thanks to an extra turbo nestled between the two banks of cylinders to make it a twin-turbo. It also uses variable valve timing on the inlet cam.

The motor that powers the Cayenne Turbo has two extra cylinders and a capacity of 4-litres to help it produce its 542bhp and 568lb ft. The V8 in the Turbo is part of the same modular family of engines – the six-cylinder unit being a shortened version of the eight.

As well as the packaging benefits, one of the aspects utilised by a ‘hot-V’ configuration on a V8 engine is easily being able to feed two turbos with both banks of cylinders. That keeps the turbos spinning consistently despite the irregular nature of a cross-plane crank V8’s firing order. Porsche hasn’t done this, though. Instead the Turbo’s V8 uses two twin-scroll turbochargers with each chamber fed by two cylinders from the same bank to try and even out the turbine speeds.

At least one diesel engine for the Cayenne is imminent. Porsche hasn’t confirmed which oil burner might find their way into the front of the big SUV but, as the SUV’s petrol engines are shared with current Panamera, the saloon’s 4-litre twin-turbo V8 is the most likely candidate. The diesel V8 in the Panamera is also the same engine found in the Audi SQ7, only without the supplementary electric driven turbo. Whether the Cayenne will get the Audi’s third compressor, Porsche wouldn’t confirm.

Chassis and drivetrain

Like Porsche’s other models there is a selection of options to choose from should you wish to improve the way the Cayenne drives. It can be specced with Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control (PDCC), which consists of front and rear anti-roll bars that each have an electric motor and gear set. The motor is used to counteract the twist of the bar and, effectively, make it stiffer when necessary. The system can also almost completely decoupled to improve axle articulation when off road.

There are also two different types of Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM), one with adaptive dampers and coil springs and another with three-camber air springs and adaptive dampers. The latter system allows the car to continuously vary the spring rate by using a combination of the three air bags. As spotier driving modes are selected different combinations of the three air bags are used to create a spring rate ideal for whatever the situation. However, rather than change the balance of the car, the spring rates increase by the same amount front and rear to maintain some consistency in the way the Cayenne drives.

Having steel and aluminium together isn’t wise when trying to prevent corrosion as the two materials react badly when placed together. Everywhere that steel is joined with aluminium in the Cayenne the two are bonded together with glue, not only to create a secure connection but also to provide a barrier to stop the two materials touching.

Such a variation of materials in the Cayenne’s body creates a problem when it’s heated up in the paint section of the production line. With aluminium and steel expanding at different rates, without very careful planning, the body could distort beyond recognition and not shrink back to its proper shape once it had cooled. So that there’s room in the body to swell when it’s taken up to 80 degrees Celsius in the paint shop, some creases are added to the car’s shape. The lines that stretch the length of the roof are not for style or aerodynamic purposes, they are there purely to allow the body to expand and contract safely.

Like a modern sports car, the Cayenne Turbo has adaptive aero devices that move to either reduce drag or help reduce lift. Unlike the spoiler on the trailing edge of the Cayenne and Cayenne S’s roof, the one on the Turbo doesn’t have a flick. Instead it follows the line of the roof to minimise drag as much as possible. However, above 99mph or if Sport mode is selected, the rear edge of the Turbo’s spoiler raises by 20mm. Then, when either the separate spoiler button is selected or the car is put into Sport Plus mode, it raises to 40mm. The higher the spoiler the more effective it is at reducing lift, but that also causes drag. So, once over 124mph the spoiler totally retracts to make the body as smooth as possible.

There are a further two positions the wing can take, if the car is also equipped with an opening panoramic roof the back of the spoiler raises to 60mm when the roof is opened to compensate for a wind deflector. The final position happens under braking where the spoiler raises to 80mm to create as much drag as possible and slow the Turbo down. It can reach its maximum angle in just 0.9sec and helps reduce the car’s braking distance by 2metres when stopping from 155mph.

As well as the spoiler moving, flaps behind the front grilles also open and close. Whenever it’s possible, horizontal flaps in front of the central radiators and vertical ones in front of the intercoolers close to help reduce drag. The car then decides when to open them taking into account the temperature of the engine, how hard the car is being driven, how much power is needed and whether the air conditioning is being used. The central and side flaps can move independently of one another, depending which part of the car needs to be cooled.

Tech

The new Cayenne uses the same infotainment system as the new Panamera, which means a touch panel around the gear selector, a large 12.3-inch central screen and twin screens within the instrument cluster. But because the Cayenne is slightly newer, there are a few improvements over the saloon’s system. ‘Points of Interest’ now have reviews, while parking listings will inform you whether there are spaces available and how much it costs to park.

It’s the same situation with the driver assistance systems, too. While, just like the Panamera, the SUV has adaptive cruise control and comprehensive park assist functions. What’s new on the Cayenne is a wheel rim protection system that alerts the driver to any obstacle that could cause and damage to the wheels or tyres.

An update that will come sometime next year will also allow drivers to see their car from outside in a 3D environment on the main screen to help them park. Images from the cameras on the Cayenne are projected into a virtual bowl, while objects and topography detected by the radar and parking sensors also appear within the virtual landscape. The driver can then select a view point from anywhere outside the car so they can then navigate around items that wouldn’t be seen from inside, or might be missed by plain 2D cameras.

From the passenger seat

Fast SUVs are no longer a novelty, really. The Cayenne Turbo’s performance, although impressive on paper, is no longer remarkable to witness. Still, the level of refinement and comfort when travelling at speed of the new car was notably better.

What we’re not used to are huge SUVs with a playful and entertaining side, one that mimics characteristics usually the preserve of wild super saloons or well-sorted hot hatchbacks. From the passenger seat, there was a palpable sense that a lot of the Cayenne Turbo’s grunt was being sent to the rear axle and there was some throttle adjustability even in fast corners on dry tarmac. This was then confirmed by some large oversteer on soaking wet tarmac; after turning into a corner at a very moderate speed, with a little bit of trail braking, the demonstrator was able to apply lots of throttle in second gear and the Cayenne drifted sideways. The four-wheel drive obviously intervened, as there was no need to add any corrective lock, but it didn’t try to curtail the slide only stopped it from becoming too excessive. The demonstration may have been staged in a very controlled environment but it displayed a very un-SUV like intent for the new Cayenne Turbo.

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