In the third part of our Fast & Luxurious car series from the Summer 2021 issue, LUX’s car reviewer gets behind the wheel of Porsche’s powerful SUV: the Cayenne Turbo S E-Hybrid
When we were younger, we had a dream idea of what the perfect SUV would be. An effortless, go anywhere car with endless performance and the ability to take both motorways and winding roads (and on-roads) in its stride, without skipping a beat.
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The first drive in a then new 1990s Range Rover put us to rights. It was quite powerful, and comfortable, and could certainly go anywhere across a field. But at the moment it started even looking at a corner, the whole car would lean over as if it were going to fall on its side, and the general squishiness of its performance made it feel like driving a marshmallow on roller stilts. Not an edifying experience.
Things have moved a long way in the right direction since then, with technology, so often blamed for hampering a successful car experience, providing all the gains.
Now, it is possible to build a huge, luxurious, powerful SUV with the kind of road presence beloved of purchasers of this type of car, and a high centre of gravity which would have made a previous generation of cars lean over in corners. Due to electronics, everything stays flat.
Nowhere is this more apparent then in our spirited drive of the Cayenne Turbo S E-Hybrid. This Porsche SUV is top of the range, having enough horsepower to tow a small European country if required. There is a huge amount of room for five passengers and their luggage, and a high-tech interior that will please, and probably confuse, the most ardent technologist.
This Cayenne can win a drag race with almost anything else on the road, its excellent gearbox reading your mind as you approach corners in sport mode, and changing down ready for the next assault of a straight. And in the corners themselves, it stays flat and precise.
Driving it this way, you do wonder though whether such high-performance needs would be better served by a lighter, lower car like Porsche’s own 911. That car can’t squeeze in as many people and bags as this, and it certainly can’t make its way over a muddy field, but you wonder whether owners of Cayennes do that much real off-roading, or that much super high-performance driving. Most of them would be just as happy with a normal model Cayenne.
But if you want the best of the best, this is up there. Lamborghini’s Urus is even more wild and exciting to drive, but more ‘out there’ and perhaps too much for everyday driving. Bentley’s Bentayga and the Rolls-Royce Cullinan are different types of car, more expensive and more focused on luxury than performance.
In that sense the Cayenne Turbo S E-Hybrid is that ultimate SUV for the person who wants it all. Overkill, perhaps, but then what’s the car for?
LUX rating: 18/20
Find out more: porsche.com
This article was originally published in the Summer 2021 issue.