At first glance, the new Porsche Cayenne may look almost identical to the model it's about to replace, but don't be fooled. It's a completely new car from the ground up and, according to CEO Oliver Blume, is the closest the company has come yet to distilling the iconic Porsche 911 in SUV form.
That doesn't mean that it's gone from being a large premium adventurous family runaround to being a cramped but extremely capable sports coupé. In fact, the new model is noticeably longer and wider than the second-generation model, though 9mm has been shaved off its height. What Blume means by his assertion is that the car now benefits from a host of dynamic features that make the 911 such a phenomenal driver's car.
For instance, it now has rear wheel steering as well as four-wheel drive. An active chassis control system will keep the car flat and stop it from rocking and rolling in the corners, and a new eight-speed dual clutch transmission will eke the most out of the Cayenne, regardless of which engine is under the hood.
It's also packed to the brim with more creature comforts and active safety features as standard than ever before, yet, in true Porsche fashion, its engineers have not only managed to offset this extra weight, they've somehow managed to make this fully loaded SUV a full 65kg lighter than the old Cayenne.
Porsche also insists that all of these new features, plus a reworked traction management system, will make this Cayenne the most capable at handling off-road terrain in history -- be it mud, sand, rain-soaked tarmac or rocks. But the truth is the vast majority of owners are looking for a high-sided, comfortable road car, and these people won't be disappointed. Every new engine is faster than the unit it's replacing.
The entry-level 3-liter turbocharged V6 is good for 340hp, 450Nm of torque and a 0-100km/h time of 5.9 seconds when fitted with the optional Sport Chrono Package. Plump for the next model up, the S, and that V6 gets two turbos, 440hp, 550Nm torque and a potential 4.9-second 0-100km/h time.
But that's just the start. In the months to come, Porsche will also be offering a pair of potent hybrid versions using tech developed for its 918 Spyder hypercar. So by next September buyers could be snapping up a Cayenne with 670hp on tap.
But that's for the future. The new Cayenne will make its first public appearance at the Frankfurt International auto show on September 12 when order books will also officially open.