The new performance SUV benchmark
Porsche is smarter than pundits who predicted that the end of the world was nigh when it introduced the Cayenne SUV a few years ago. For proof, look at the German sports car maker’s sales figures in North America for 2005. Half of the 33,974 vehicles that rolled into American and Canadian driveways were Cayennes. Half. And that’s in a year when Cayenne sales had cooled – the sport-ute previously accounted for more than that. But when sales drop, it’s time to inject some new life into the product. You’ve gotta give the customer, in this case a customer with plenty of expendable income, a good reason to trade up. With the 2006 Cayenne Turbo S that debuted at the 2006 Los Angeles Auto Show today, Porsche has done just that. Porsche started by dropping a twin-turbo, 4.5-liter V8 engine good for 520 horsepower and 530 lb.-ft. of torque under the hood. For perspective, consider that only the Porsche Carrera GT supercar makes more giddy-up. Acceleration to 60 mph takes just 4.8 seconds of your life, and you can run this puppy up to a top speed of 167 mph. But dipping into the throttle is gonna cost you in more ways than just sticker price. The Cayenne Turbo S is rated by the EPA’s light foot at 13 mpg in the city and 18 mpg on the highway. You’re buying this thing to go fast, so expect a real-world number possibly as low as the single digits. Suspension components get an upgrade to handle all that additional power – 16-percent more than the already stunningly quick Cayenne Turbo – and the beefed-up brakes feature special cooling ducts for the ventilated front rotors. The rear discs are internally ventilated, and the Porsche Active Suspension Management system gets recalibrated software for the Cayenne Turbo S’s increased performance potential. The Cayenne Turbo S gets unique 20-inch SportTechno wheels, too. You can opt to paint the inserts on those wheels in the same color as the body, and there’s a Sport Design package available that adds special trim front and rear, a larger roof spoiler, and unique side skirts. Inside, the Cayenne Turbo S comes loaded with equipment, including a Porsche Communication Management System with navigation and a Bose audio system breathing through 14 speakers. Interesting options include a panoramic roof, keyless locking and ignition, four-zone climate control, a rearview camera, and other goodies. In fact, you can load your new 2006 Porsche Cayenne Turbo S with so many extras that the price goes from stratospheric to ridiculous faster than the SUV reaches 60 mph. But when you’re spending $110,600 just to put a foot in the door, another 30 grand for options doesn’t seem out of whack. If you’ve got a wad of cash burning a hole in your pocket, the 2006 Porsche Cayenne Turbo S goes on sale in two weeks, landing in showrooms in the middle of January, 2006.
Photos by Ron Perry