The Porsche Cayenne, a car built shortly after the turn of the century and placed into a world of mixed anticipation. The design at the time was the first thing to hit. A little adventurous in a world that has just started getting accustomed to SUV’s as general family vehicles. I remember thinking the first time I set eyes on the Cayenne, that a toad had been used for the design and that they had merely stuck some extra metal between the wheels and the top of a 911. Adventure though seems to have worked; it is after all a 4x4. Only a year after production Porsche started selling the Cayenne in America and has been strong ever since. So many thought the Cayenne would be the demise of Porsche but how wrong they have been.
The Cayenne had been given the first V8 engine since the front engine 928 finished productions in 1995 and has kept it since. Even its not so pretty looks have stuck, having had only one update in 2014, so it begs to differ how this SUV has stayed so popular. Well basically this SUV came to market when fresh ideas were needed. They were almost pioneers in making the SUV a luxury and safe place to be. People enjoyed the practical side of motoring, the experience of driving on the roads in a car like manner and the comforts when off-road, should there be a need. Most obviously these cars became the kiddy collection vehicles, being seen at the hands of the ladies in front of schools each day. They felt safe and people became confident driving them.
As with most four wheel drives, they tend to have a huge thirst for fuel. The Cayenne is no different with many having the V8 engine. So over the years Porsche have been updating and experimenting with V6 engines. This is where I come in with the new 2016 Porsche Cayenne 3.8 litre V6 GTS. They have put together a car that almost turns its nose up at the fuel pump.
Now I live in the UAE and here fuel prices are pretty good indeed. You’ll see many large vehicles about holding V8 engines as a result. The streets can sound like the zoo has realised the lions. Burbles here, rumbles there but this Cayenne GTS has come with a calm, sophisticated manner that may just see it winning the affections of those that wish to have a little luxury without the continued fuel expenses. Certainly for those in the west this car will have appeal when it comes to the daily saving of fuel.
Porsche Middle East kindly donated the Cayenne GTS for three days. I had a rather calm, relaxed and surprising drive. After being shown the car, I had my usual five minutes with the car. Air-conditioning on of course as it was rather warm, sat taking in the ambiance, checking out the functions and just getting to know the soul of the car. Cappuccino came to mind, not to drink but due to the sumptuously soft and tasty colour of the leather, it did rather induce the want to have one. Soft cream leather dressed the lower dash and seats and a darker almost melted chocolate upper layer dressed the top of the dash. I could almost smell the aroma of finely ground coffee and taste the smooth melting chocolate that has melted before me. Now obviously you could choose an interior pallet to suit your tastes (including the new Carmine Red GTS signature tones), however this one Mmm rather wonderfully makes you feel you have indulged and treated yourself a little. There is a slight spacecraft feel to the dash, many buttons all of the same size a shape and chromed, extended by the touch screen facility. We live in a techy world though and this can be expected in many marques today. It contrasts well, with the leathers and fixtures and is all within arm’s reach. The buttons and functions will be a personal thing though.
Driving position varies, dependent on your height etc. But I felt so comfortable. The centre console is higher than most SUV and is more reminiscent of a sedan type vehicle. Fully adjustable electric steering helps with having a comfortable arm reach and electric seats too, which give such flexibility in position. The seats themselves, heated and cool vented, which feels rather nice when things are a little warm. Wide enough to accommodate those a little broader in the waste but not so wide that those slim Jim’s like me can still feel all the comforts of the seats. This goes for all seats, even the rear passenger seats feel supple a giving to your shape and to note that leg room is rather ample for even for a six footer. Passengers have full climate control in the rear also, can’t be bad.
Driving then! Engine rumbles almost like that of a diesel but not in bad way. It’s sensation, whether at a standstill or on the move is rather pleasant. This is a four wheel drive at heart and the gentle rumble or vibration that comes from the engine is very satisfying. It draws in that solid feeling of the car and comforts when you accelerate, giving a firm torquey pull. Steering though electronic does not have that common modern car numb feeling that so many tend to comment on and the accelerator pedal to add has a note of feel to it also. In all it is a wonderful experience when yes, so many modern cars seem to try so hard to disengage the driver from the experience of actually driving. Acceleration is smooth, partly due to the excellent PDK double clutch gearbox. Through corners and turns the Cayenne keeps neatly planted if to drive progressively. Very little roll and very close to that of a heavy sedan.
The Porsche Cayenne comes with so much wizardry. All part of keeping you safe on the roads, however it also highlights the old fashion want to drive. The attraction here is two-fold. Young will love the tech and the brand; the more mature will love the feeling that it gives actually driving it and the obvious saving this draws in on fuel…
Article written by: James Hutchinson
Photography: James Hutchinson
Porsche Middle East