2009 Cayenne S
I don’t know at what point in history that the worlds fashion starlets decided that utilitarian farming workhorses will forever more be the cool, must-have status symbol, but when they did Land Rover clearly benefited well. Even the Range Rover Sport, which are as square and ugly as the very first off road car to come out of the factory, seems to be a best seller. Unlike the staple sports-car icon bereft of the rich and famous, it seems that a cars exterior design was no longer important. Comfort, and size, mattered. And so every luxury brand got in on the act, including Porsche with the mighty Cayenne.
I’ve got one for a few days as a courtesy car. Here is my story….!
Christ, its big. I mean, its massive!!! When you stand square on in front of it, you realise just how much metal there is on these beasts.
As the Porsche driver rolled onto my driveway on Monday, I noticed the “S” plastered in shiny silver on its posterior. Fek me, a brand spanking new Porsche luxury mobile, in black. A quick check on the Porsche configurator reveals a list price of around £61,000. Not the boggo standard model I was expecting.
It came with PCM including sat-nav and telephone, heated electric memory seats, Tiptronic, Porsche crests on the leather (love them!), 20″ alloys and a boatload of other stuff including a couple of “Sport” buttons. This is gonna be fun.
£20 went down the green tube on on Monday. Followed by £15 Monday evening, then another £20 Tuesday afternoon. The light was showing red again when I handed it back on Wednesday.
Upon arrival, job one was to take it for a spin and to show everyone in the vicinity the new toy. Firing up the car, I’m met with a wholesome growl of the engine. Raaaa!! Love it. I convinced my lady that it was an absolute requirement of my very existence that I had to sink my right foot into the floor “just once”. A reluctant agreement ensued and my boot went down. Pause for anticipation and the thing starts to move. Its fast, picking up speed with a nice pace – not as fast as I was expecting though, but delights and fun all the same.
We arrive home and I park up and as I disembark I hear a distinct hissing sound coming from the suspension. Its moving!!! The car is actually moving down!! Wooohooo!! Air suspension! For a car with no gadget auto-spoiler, those geniuses at Porsche have given us another toy to wow the crowds. “Look at me” in traffic, car goes up, car goes down, car goes up, car goes down. I made a point to leave it in “load” whenever it was parked as its about 3″ lower and makes the car look fantastic on its 20″ wheels. Everyone commented on this.
30 seconds have passed since I got back home, so time for another spin – on my own this time. Working out these the air suspension settings, I hit the “Sport” button. “Chassis Sport mode” says the readout. Yeah! Sport! Then I press the other, bigger sport button next to it, lets see what that does for me. Two sport buttons. Must be a super-sport model, this.
Oooh, what a transformation! The car turns from comfortable luxury motor into a snarling beast desperate to get moving. Every blip of the throttle its dropping a gear and getting ready to fly. Its then that I realise that when I put my foot down earlier I didn’t actually engage the throttle in its entirety. There is a good few inches extra which requires a more considered push to engage.
On a rolling start, I nailed it (back seats laid flat, of course to get the best possible acceleration! 😉 ). Give the gearbox a second to realise that you meant it, and off it flies. It’ll drop down a cog or two and you head for the horizon at blistering speed. The acceleration is so impressive that you can’t help but beam your best grin, as its mighty 2.5 tonne weight is projected down the road akin to a dainty little sporting number. My friends and family all did the same thing – huge grins when you press the load pedal, couple with delights of disbelief. The engine sounds like something from the TV series “24”. Yeah, I’m Jack Bauer, me! Until, that is, that I meet a Cayenne Turbo in traffic the following day, piloted by Alan Sugar’s twin – and giving me a curt reminder that this is probably a more realistic demographic of ownership.
This is a seriously good piece of kit. In comfort mode, its much more relaxed, wallowing a little more over bumps and giving a ‘take it easy’ feel out of the steering. This chassis/suspension malarkey isn’t just a gimmick, which surprised me as I can’t usually tell the difference when toggling with gadgetry. Sport turns it much more into the car-feel that we know and love with our lil’ 2 seaters.
Sat nav is also very good – being the only one I’ve ever seen which can find my address! The parking sensors are brilliant, with fruity colour lights beeping and flashing away at you, spreading outwards on the dash, and above the rear passenger seats! It makes you feel like your in a cocoon of eyes, watching every panel as your drive, all nervous and desperately trying to make it clear that your getting close to something. The glove box is air conditioned too. Cool, literally! But why are there no drinks holder in there though?
The interior downsides are that the seats are just like every other car seat in that the headrests don’t support the heads of tall people. Whiplash would ensure in the event of something unfortunate. The seats in the Boxster/Cayman/911 are the only cars I’ve ever driven that are contrary to this.
You get noticed too, but I’m not sure that’s a good thing. In my Cayman, it turns heads. People look with a relaxed admiring gaze at the shiny red blob on the tarmac – and kids point and shout. With the Cayenne, a lot of people notice the car – and then they immediately notice YOU. It feels as though they are looking to see which tasteless, over indulgent celebrity (or, even worse, a wanna-be) is knocking about in their town.
The car really tugs with your morality though. I love it, absolutely love it – its big, its comfy, its quiet when you want, throaty when you don’t and very fast. The Cayenne is great to drive. I also like how it looks (although this divided opinion greatly when I was showing it off). The facelift shape, and the air suspension means it looks nice from all angles, with the only question mark lying with the square-on front view.
But, it feels like you shouldn’t like it. It seems to epitomize everything that is wrong with society. Its big and exclusive, aggressive, anti-social, angry, loud, expensive and selfish. And footballers like them.
But its a Porsche, and is a truly aspirational badge to own. For me, it does everything you could ask for – but it does drink a hell of a lot, coming out around 18mpg on the runs when I checked.