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A lighter, faster Porsche Cayenne luxury large SUV was unveiled at an elaborate global event in Germany last night.
The third-generation Cayenne is up to 65kg lighter than before at 1985kg in base guise, despite being longer by 63mm at 4918mm, and wider by 44mm at 1983mm.
Porsche will start Australian deliveries from the middle of 2018, with the new model making its public debut at the Frankfurt motor show on September 12.
A new lightweight MLB architecture, constructed from a mix of steel and aluminium, is shared with other Volkswagen Group vehicles such as the Audi Q7 and Bentley Bentayga, while the overall design is based heavily on the 911 sportscar.
Two turbo V6 petrol powertrains have been announced for Europe, with other potential powerplants – including diesel, petrol V8 and petrol-electric hybrid variants – to be revealed at a later date.
According to Porsche AG chairman, Oliver Blume, the Cayenne has been completely redeveloped.
“It has been visibly and tangibly improved and perfected in all respects,” he said. “The Cayenne has also been digitalised and networked throughout to give it a forward-thinking design.”
Replaced by this new version, the second-generation Cayenne was introduced in 2010 before being facelifted in 2014.
Australian line-up details and pricing will be outlined early next year, with only European specifications announced for the new model so far.
The base model features power and torque gains of 30kW and 50Nm over the current Cayenne, and is fitted with the same 250kW/450Nm turbo 3.0-litre V6 as the latest Porsche Panamera.
This variant zips from 0-100km/h in 6.2 seconds, compared with 7.6s currently, with the extra power put to the ground via an eight-speed 'Tiptronic' close-ratio automatic transmission.
The 0-100km/h time can be cut to 5.9s with the optional 'Sports Chrono' package, which also allows a top speed of 245 km/h.
An all-new, Porsche-developed 2.9-litre twin-turbo V6, pumping out 324kW/550Nm is offered in the Cayenne S, up 15kW on its predecessor. The S goes 0-100km/h in 5.2s and tops out at 265km/h.
The Cayenne’s new body features extensive use of aluminium – including the complete exterior skin – while most of the chassis components, front section and floorpan are alloy. Side frames and such are still made from steel in the name of crash worthiness.
Fuel efficiency gains are marginal despite the weight-saving measures. The Cayenne records up to 9.0 litres per 100 kilometres on the Euro combined test cycle, while the more powerful S goes up to 9.2L/100km.
Porsche has taken a leaf out of the 911 book to make the Cayenne sportier by fitting wheels fatter at the rear than those on the front. Standard wheel diameter is 19 inches, up an inch from the previous model, while 21-inch wheels are now optional.
The new Cayenne gets electric-activated rear-axle steering as used on the 911 and Panamera, along with the 'Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control' electronic roll stabilisation system, the active all-wheel drive system as standard, and three-chamber air suspension.
A 48-volt electrical system, up from the standard 12-volts, has been adopted due to the heavy reliance on electric activation in the chassis control systems.
Porsche has included four off-road driving modes – mud, gravel, sand and rocks – adjusting the transmission, chassis and differential locks accordingly, despite surely knowing that the Cayenne will rarely head to the bush.
LED headlights are now standard, but customers can opt for more levels of sophisticated lighting that have increased capabilities, such as anti-glare matrix operation on motorways using up to 84 LEDs.
The luggage compartment is 770 litres, some 100 litres bigger than previously.
The driver sits in front of a large analogue tacho flanked by two LCD screens for other gauges and functions, while a Panamera-style 12.3-inch touchscreen now features in the middle of the dash.
Porsche has introduced a world first a tungsten-carbide coated brake disc as an option to the standard steel discs on the Cayenne. These coated steel discs represent a half-way house to the full ceramic set-up that remains the top option.
A Porsche-developed 4.0-litre twin-turbo unit is expected to replace the current 4.8-litre V8 in the new-generation Cayenne Turbo and Turbo S variants.
The existing Cayenne has achieved 913 local sales so far in 2017, up 1.8 per cent on the same seven months of last year, despite being a relatively old model.