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Porsche Cayenne Diesel 2015 review


The top dog in the Porsche pack is about to be taken down a peg.

The Cayenne has ruled on the sales charts since it first arrived — even saving the 911 and Porsche's other sports cars from potential extinction — but is about to be overtaken by the Macan.

That's not to say Porsche is going soft on the Cayenne as it continues to do good things at the top end with the GTS.

Now comes an updated Cayenne Diesel.

There is nothing really new to see, although the CarsGuide test example has a nice sunroof and show-off Porsche logos embroidered on the seats (at a cost of $490). However, the 3.0-litre V6 turbodiesel is significantly changed.

Most importantly, it now complies with the latest Euro6 emission standard and that's a big deal for a diesel. One other major car maker, let's call it Mercedes-Benz, once predicted that the tougher new European emission standard would mean the end of diesels.

But Porsche has cleared the bar, increasing outputs (by 13kW and 30Nm) while reducing the 0-100km/h sprint time by 0.3 seconds and making a 5 per cent improvement in fuel economy.

The Cayenne is big and heavy but justifies the Porsche badge

The feel in the latest Cayenne is a little sharper than I remember, especially if I take manual control of the transmission via the lever or the paddle-shifters.

There is no chance to check the fuel economy, but I have no reason to complain.

The Cayenne is big and heavy but justifies the Porsche badge with great brakes, good cornering balance and lots of driving feedback.

It's classy in the cabin and the latest steering wheel looks and feels great (although I would never pay for embroidered badges or, honestly, a sunroof).

This car is sharp and responsive

My most recent spell in the Cayenne completely erases the nasty memories of my first time with a Porsche SUV.

The first-generation Cayenne had really lousy assembly quality and wobbled around so much that I wanted to turn back to the dealership after 10 minutes.

This car is sharp and responsive, with truly great headlamps and punchy audio. I'm not a fan of the electric handbrake, which is counterintuitive to operate and does not have the "auto off" function of many cheaper cars.

What else is not to like? Well, I wonder how many people are buying the diesel Cayenne for the engine, when it's really about the starting price. My personal favourite is the GTS, although it adds a $50,000 slug to the bottom line, because it is beautifully equipped and great to drive.

I also wonder about the car's safety rating, though if ANCAP had the cash and commitment to crash it, almost certainly it would earn five stars.


Still, the update to the Cayenne Diesel is worthwhile and I like the car. It's one I'd recommend to friends.

The smaller Macan SUV is a giant worldwide hit and has the combination of space and pace that works for a lot of modern families.

"Yes, in a full calendar year the Macan will be the No. 1-selling SUV for us," says Porsche spokesman Paul Ellis.

"But Cayenne's market share will remain the same and, as usual, we're aiming for 10 per cent against its natural competitors."

Those competitors, if you cannot guess, mostly amount to the BMW X5 and the go-faster versions of the Mercedes-Benz ML and Audi Q5.

Pricing guides

Based on 39 cars listed for sale in the last 6 months
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Range and Specs

(base) 3.6L, PULP, 8 SP AUTO $69,960 – 80,410 2015 Porsche Cayenne 2015 (base) Pricing and Specs
Diesel 3.0L, Diesel, 8 SP AUTO $53,888 – 79,888 2015 Porsche Cayenne 2015 Diesel Pricing and Specs
GTS 3.6L, PULP, 8 SP AUTO $81,888 – 84,990 2015 Porsche Cayenne 2015 GTS Pricing and Specs
S 3.6L, PULP, 8 SP AUTO $90,640 – 104,170 2015 Porsche Cayenne 2015 S Pricing and Specs