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2014 Porsche Cayenne Turbo S Review & Test Drive

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Among the pinnacle of performance vehicles, Porsche continues to impress in many coveted avenues of the automotive spectrum. One area thought to be dominated by those seeking the nearest grocery store or lining the parking lot of the local kids’ soccer park, is the SUV, a position where Porsche has aimed to crown itself as the ultimate performance bearer with its latest Cayenne Turbo S – the most powerful SUV yet from the German automaker.


The 2014 Porsche Cayenne in its Turbo S form is a welcomed trim for the performance SUV bringing the pure excitement that many have adorned from the brands famous 911, a timeless classic that repetitively trumps its competition. Some thought and pondered over the idea of a Porsche SUV being something desirable, and after a week with the new 2014 Porsche Cayenne Turbo S, I can honestly say, I want one!

With my extensive automotive enthusiast background and simple desire to just have some meaty substance under the hood of whatever I drive, the Porsche Cayenne Turbo S is naturally a vehicle that haunts my dreams, in a good way. Now, with the 2014 Cayenne Turbo S model, Porsche packs in its twin-turbocharged 4.8-liter V8 engine with 550 horsepower and 553 ft-lbs of torque into the now-lighter-weight SUV package at 4,784 pounds, which may not seem very light until you compare it to the previous generation’s hefty 5,192 pounds.


An 8-speed automatic transmission with a manual triptronic mode accessed by steering wheel-mounted shift paddles or via the shifter, makes the Cayenne Turbo S something that can start an adventure with enthusiasts or serve as the common grocery getter. Shifts come on strong but can be somewhat delayed when driving in the non-sport mode where the shift points take on a passive learning curve to adapt to your driving style. Conversely, in full sport mode, the transmission hardly ever uses the high gears and bangs through the lower cogs with a more aggressive authority and decelerates nicely with rev-matched downshifts.


Things just get started with the smooth surging power output of the Cayenne Turbo S and its adaptive abilities to pull of multiple duties, which puts smiles on the face of all occupants firmly planted in the well-bolstered sports seats up front or in back. Yes, the back seats are sporty too; probably better bolstered than those of the latest sports car you took a ride in. Porsche didn’t leave any stones unturned when masterfully crafting one of the fastest and best handling SUVs money can buy.


With 550 horsepower and 586 lb-ft of torque, the 2014 Porsche Cayenne Turbo S is nothing short of a thrill ride. Best of all, it is a thrill ride you can enjoy with several friends or family members, seating up to 5. Though, seating remains most comfortable with only 4 occupants considering how the rear seats are conspicuously molded for 2 adults with bolsters integrated into the outboard perforated leather seat bottoms and backs. The middle seat is more of a convenience factor of toting around that one extra person, who you probably do not like that much.


The interior is laced with soft-touches in just about every surface and arched orifice. Leather circumferences the dashboard’s subtle curves while the center stack is reminiscent of a private luxury jet’s cockpit control layout. There are buttons everywhere, almost to the point of being intimidating until you spend a good 15 to 25 minutes familiarizing yourself of all that the Cayenne Turbo S has to offer at your fingertips. The use of a nicely integrated high-resolution touch screen, combined with the traditional aspect of Porsche button controls all culminates well. As virtual eye-candy, the red-accented stitching matching that of about a good 85% of the interior’s color scheme exudes the thrill-ride theme of what a 550-horsepower turbocharged V8 engine produces through all 4 wheels.


Speaking of power and performance, the 2014 Porsche Cayenne is undoubtedly a Porsche. The Porsche Cayenne Turbo S features its standard 8-speed automatic transmission handling the duty of sending power to the wheels by means of a torque vectoring system that is giggle-inducing when coming out of turns. Although, initial power delivery isn’t as abrupt as you would think. Rather, the Cayenne Turbo S steps softly into its power band and then presses on your body with the force of gravity, keeping you deeply planted into the sporty leather seats. The Cayenne Turbo S is seemingly on rails as you pull out of turns or dead-stop corners. Nothing ever unseats the beefy 295/35 21-inch Michelin Latitude Sport tires at all fours from the pavement.

To push the envelope further, my Cayenne Turbo S featured Porsche’s PASM (Air Suspension with Porsche Active Suspension Management) and PDCC (Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control) systems to help actively balance body roll in corners and keep the wheels firmly planted where they needed to be. In summary, for the Cayenne Turbo S handling, it is downright impressive, as is its 0-60 mph acceleration in just 4.1 seconds and top speed of 173 mph. On virtually any hard-pressed turn on twisty roads the Cayenne Turbo S stays relatively level and balanced. For just over 4,700 pounds of spicy German engineering, the Cayenne Turbo S handles itself like a champ, potentially serving multiple duties for your commuter, family hauler and occasional track machine. The Porsche Cayenne Turbo S is a beast; there surely is no substitute.


Taking the 2014 Porsche Cayenne Turbo S down the highway proves to show its softer side, placing the adaptive suspension setting into comfort mode and raising the suspension back into its normal height. The Cayenne Turbo S proved to be a softy on the highway in comfort mode, my rear seat passengers fell into a deep sleep before arriving at our destination about 100 miles from home.


Before taking the family out on a road trip, riding solo in the driver’s seat that fits my posterior like a glove, I placed the suspension in a lower ride height with the dampers in sport mode. In such a mode the Cayenne Turbo S showed its endearing side, ready to be pushed to the limits and responding without fail, even when performing some evasive maneuvers on a closed parking area. Also, a surprising trait of the Cayenne Turbo S’ responsiveness was how it communicated back through the steering wheel with just the right about of weight and feedback from the road.


Porsche did their homework in not leaving the Cayenne out in the pasture consuming leftovers from its championed 911 siblings. Even during the unfortunate circumstance of slamming on the brakes while barreling down the highway just over 70 mph, the Cayenne Turbo S’ optional carbon ceramic brakes, an $8,840 option, proved to be worth the bill, bringing the Porsche SUV to a quick stop over and over with no fade or drama. Rather, a stop that takes place in under 108 feet from 60 mph to boot. There is no mistaking the Cayenne’s relationship within the stable of its German counterparts, even across the aisle when pitted against competition, such as the BMW X5M, Range Rover Sport and Mercedes-Benz ML63 AMG.


Getting to the bottom of things, the 2014 Porsche Cayenne Turbo S probably isn’t for everyone. Actually, it probably isn’t going to win any sales records at all. Be that as it may, the Porsche Cayenne Turbo S is not completely lost in its translation of living in excess when it comes to the pricing. My test vehicle, loaded nearly to the gills with several option packages and advanced tech leaving out only a few select options, the as-tested price comes to a staggering $176,330.

Yes, that’s a lot.

However, you get a lot. The 2014 Porsche Cayenne Turbo S standing as the crème de la crème of performance SUVs. We aren’t talking about the base Cayenne S, starting at $74,100, or even the base level of the Turbo variant at $113,700. We’re talking about an additional 50 horsepower and 37 ft-lbs of torque over the Cayenne Turbo neatly packed inside of the best handling SUV you will set your eyes on.

If you want the best you must pay to play, and the new Cayenne Turbo S reaching for the crown of performance SUVs and yet still serves several utility duties without fail. Don’t forget you will need to fill this bad boy’s 26-gallon fuel tank with premium on occasion getting 14 mpg in the city, 20 mpg on the highway and 16 mpg combined. I saw a surprising 21.8 mpg on the highway during our family trip. Oh, did I to mention you can tow up to 7,716 pounds when properly equipped? Just don’t expect to dash to 60 mph in 4.1 seconds in such a case. Still, the 2014 Porsche Cayenne Turbo S is your cake on steroids that you can eat all you want, just be prepared to pay a little extra for such an indulgence.

Sign me up!

Copyright: 2014


  • Price: Base Cayenne V6 $74,100 / As-Tested Cayenne Turbo S $176,330
  • Vehicle layout: Front-engine, AWD, 5-pass, SUV
  • Engine: 4.8-liter twin-turbocharged V8 550 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm / 553 ft-lbs. @ 2,250 rpm
  • Transmission: 8-speed automatic
  • Curb weight: 4,784 lbs.
  • Wheelbase: 114 in
  • Length x width x height: 190.8 x 76.3 x 67 in.
  • Ground Clearance: 6.4 in. (variable via air suspension adjustments)
  • Headroom: f/r-39.6 in./38.9 in.
  • Legroom: f/r-41.4 in./36.9 in.
  • 0-60 mph: 4.1 sec
  • EPA city/hwy fuel econ: 14 mpg / 20 mpg
  • Fuel Tank Capacity: 26.4 gallons

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