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Porsche’s 2019 Cayenne Turbo pushes the brand’s SUV performance bar to incredible new heights.

 

There were a lot of doubters when Porsche first introduced the Cayenne in 2002. Some critics thought Porsche was making a mistake by offering something other than a two-door sports car, thinking an SUV couldn’t possibly perform like a “real Porsche.” With the commercial success of the Cayenne since its launch, however, it’s clear Porsche’s gamble was spot on, having sold over 770,000 worldwide to date. Now in its third generation, the new Cayenne is better than ever, with improved handling, power and even more luxury.

The top-of-the-line 2019 Cayenne Turbo receives a 4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V-8 that develops a staggering 550 horsepower, a gain of 30 horses from the previous generation, and 567 lb.-ft. of torque. Equipped with the optional Sport Chrono Package, the Cayenne Turbo blasts from 0 to 60 mph in just 3.7 seconds, with the new eight-speed Tiptronic S gearbox. Its top speed is an astonishing 177 mph.

All this power is delivered to the pavement via Porsche’s excellent hang-on all-wheel-drive system, which automatically transfers torque front to rear based on the road conditions for optimum traction. The Cayenne Turbo also offers rear-axle steering for the first time, an option that dramatically improves agility in day-to-day driving by reducing the car’s turning circle by 2 feet, to 37.7 feet. Porsche’s Active Suspension Management system almost defies physics, keeping the Cayenne flat through corners, while smoothing out bumpy roads to please passengers. But the real beauty is its ability to deliver an incredibly comfortable ride without sacrificing handling ability—a balancing act that many other SUVs have yet to accomplish as nicely.

Inside, the Cayenne Turbo sees a drastic change over its predecessor. Gone are the numerous physical buttons that lined the center console, replaced instead by capacitive touch glass screens (already seen on the Porsche 918 Spyder supercar and the four-door Panamera sports sedan) and a high-definition 12.3-inch centrally mounted touch screen. There’s also a new instrument cluster, which features two 7-inch LCD screens that flank Porsche’s signature center-mounted analog rev counter. Porsche emphasized connectivity and ease of use with these screens, making it easier to pair phones, listen to music and customize your vehicle experience. A new suite of Porsche Connect Plus apps even makes smart home integration possible, allowing Nest users the ability to control the temperature of their house from an app accessed through the center screen.

Once considered a long-shot gamble by industry insiders, the Cayenne has proven early naysayers wrong, demonstrating that the brand can deliver on its performance promise no matter what vehicle it produces, and the Cayenne Turbo continues this tradition with aplomb. Look for the new $124,600 2019 Cayenne Turbo to arrive at Porsche dealers early fall 2018.

2019 Porsche Cayenne Turbo

Base Price: $124,600
Engine: 4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V-8
Transmission: 8-speed automatic
Horsepower: 550 hp @ 5,750 rpm
Torque: 567 lb.-ft. @ 1,960 rpm
Maximum Cargo Capacity: 59.3 cu. ft.
City Fuel Economy: 17 mpg est.
Highway Fuel Economy: 23 mpg est.
Fuel Tank: 23.7 gal.
Weight: 4,795 lbs.
0 to 60 MPH: 3.7 seconds, with Sport Chrono Package
Top Speed: 177 mph
Fab Features: World’s first active roof spoiler on an SUV Surface-coated brakes to reduce brake dust. Sport Response Button for a 20-second burst of max performance.

 

Originally published in the January/February issue of Silicon Valley

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