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Saturday, February 16, 2008

Porsche Cayenne Turbo S


The 521 horsepower, 531 foot-pound, bi-turbo V8 2006 Porsche Cayenne Turbo S is the world's most insanely powerful and quietly refined SUV. It's still more powerful than anything from Porsche in 2008.

We got it because Porsche was giving these away in January 2007 to make room for the less powerful 2008 models that started arriving in March, 2007. We're suckers for a deal.

How powerful is it? It's the most powerful V8 on the planet, and far more powerful than most V-10s and V-12s. For instance, the 2008 Rolls Royce Phantom Drophead CoupƩ's 6.75l V-12 has only 453 hp, and the 2008 V-12 biturbo Mercedes SL600 only has 510 hp. (At least the 6.75l 12-cylinder Rolls has the same torque, but only at a lower RPM.) The 2007 BMW B7 Alpina has only 500 hp and 516 ft-lb of torque from its blown V-8, while the once mighty 2008 Mercedes S63 has only 518 hp and a measly 465 ft-lbs of torque. The 2008 Bently Arnage T barely makes 500 hp from it's 6.75l engine, also with twin turbos. Most of these other cars will cost you about a quarter milion dollars, but not the 2006 Cayenne Turbo S, with over three times the power of a full military HMMWV Hummer H1!

Of course it's more powerful than most 80,000 pound class-8 tractor-trailer, like newest the International ProStar, which usually comes with only a 15-litre (912 CID) 450 hp Cummins engine (Car & Driver, Nov 2007, p. 151.)

The 2008 V-10 Dodge Viper finally manages to wheeze out 600 hp and 560 ft-pounds or torque, but it's pretty sad that all the Viper can do with almost double the displacement (8.4l) and two more cylinders is manage an extra 79 hp and 29 ft-lbs over the Porsche. With that much displacement, the Porsche would put out over 1,100 hp and 990 ft-lbs of torque. Funny, too is that the Porsche is a truck and the Dodge is supposed to be the sports car. What's going on today?

The 2006 Cayenne Turbo S was so over-the-top that there is no Cayenne Turbo S for 2008 - just an ordinary, less powerful 2008 Cayenne Turbo. All you can get, regardless of price for the 2008 model year is the ordinary Turbo (non-S) version, with barely 500 hp.

The 2006 Cayenne Turbo S was only available for part of 2006. It is already a modern classic. We love ours, especially because we got it, brand new, for almost $30,000 below sticker price! These were the supercar deal of the century in January 2007; in fact, Kelly Blue Book hadn't realized the new ones were being given away, so they still rated the trade-in value of ours as more than we paid brand new! We couldn't have afforded not to get it.

The 2006 Porsche Cayenne Turbo S is also the most powerful Porsche offered today and far more powerful than lesser SUVs like the Escalade that scream WORLD'S MOST POWERFUL on the window sticker, but have to qualify their measly 403 HP by limiting it to a class to exclude the Porsche.

Spotters Guide: Unlike non-turbo Porsche Cayennes, the Turbo S has huge front grilles for cooling and intercooling. Turbo versions have testicular bulges atop the hood, which is flat on the non-turbo models. The Turbo S comes with nothing less than 20" wheels, needed to clear the gigantic 15" diameter front brake disks.

2006 Porsche Cayenne Turbo S

Who Needs a 521 HP Minivan?

Porsche's Mommy Van.

With 40-series tires this isn't going off-road, and with a high center of gravity, it's sub-optimal for the street.

What the Porsche Cayenne Turbo S does exceptionally well is haul four people and an additional 1,000 pounds of anything you want in extraordinary comfort at great speeds.

Even lightly loaded it's a hoot to drive compared to anything else my wife wanted for hauling around our 10-pound baby. It's as smooth and comfy as the BMW 7-series and Mercedes S-Klasse we tried, and a lot faster, more nimble and easier to park. This little truck is more fun to drive than either, and just as quiet, smooth to drive and comfortable.

If you have to haul 1,600 pounds of payload, this is the most luxurious and high-performance way to do it. Luxury sedans can't haul as much weight, and trucks don't go this fast. Heck, with 530 ft-pounds of torque and a 7,700 pound tow rating, it can tow your house and still outrun other sports cars up steep grades.

My wife didn't like the looks of the Mercedes ML63, which has similar performance and sells for much less. I probably would have gotten the ML63 since I love the service I get from Mercedes, but my wife is a sucker for a great deal and it's her car.

Why Did we Get This?

We got this because Porsche is giving them away to move these off the lots as the 2008 model arrive in April 2007. We got ours for close to $30,000 off the sticker price, and you can, too. We got a six-figure supercar for only five figures!

Dealers are offering them at $22,000 - $25,000 off sticker, and it's not hard to get them to discount from that if you ask nicely. We got ours from Hoehn Porsche in Carlsbad California, just north of San Diego. They have several left, and as time moves on you probably can get them for even less than we did in January 2007. Jason James at (760) 494-5103 is the sales guy who got us our great deal; tell him I sent you.

Porsche Cayenne Turbo S Interior.

My wife wanted something bigger than my Mercedes E430 for hauling around our baby, so we went shopping.

We were in the process of ordering a Mercedes GL450 until we drove this out of curiosity. Even my wife, who usually doesn't notice any difference in driving between a rental car and a Ferrari, was hooked after one spin around the block.

Why? She felt much safer because, unlike SUVs, this Porsche felt as safe and maneuverable as a sports car. She felt it would be much more nimble for parking and for avoiding potential accidents while driving.

This ultra-sports model of the Cayenne has a suspension lowered from the usual SUV. It has air-adjustable suspension, so just like a lowrider, one can adjust the ride height while driving. Adjust it down for the best results on the road, but unlike classic lowriders, the Porsche drives a little faster.

Dusk, Nellie Gail Ranch

Specifications (mostly from Porsche) back to top

MSRP: $112,000 to over $171,000, typically $125,000 (we paid a lot less!)

Production: 1,500 units worldwide, with 600 of those for the USA (projected)

Engine: twin-turbo, twin-intercooler, 32-valve quad-cam 4.5-liter V8 (4,511 cc)

0-60 MPH: 4.8 seconds; 0 - 100 Km/h 5.2 seconds

Top Speed: 167 MPH

Horsepower: 521 at 5,500 rpm (383 kW)

Torque: 531 ft-lbs at 2,750 - 3,750 rpm (720 N-m)

Compression Ratio: 9.5:1

Transmission: Six-speed automatic with Tiptronic

Low Range: 2.7:1

Locking Differentials: Front and center; optional rear. Dashboard controlled.

Ride Height: multiway adjustable from in-cabin, also adjusts automatically with speed.

Front Brakes: Red 6-piston aluminum calipers, 15" diameter x 1.5" thick rotors

Rear Brakes: Red 4-piston aluminum calipers, 14.1" x 1.1" rotors.

Tires: 275/40R20 107W Michelins

Wheels: 9J x 20 front and 10J x 20 rear

Curb Weight: 5,192 lbs

EPA: 13/18 MPG (city/highway), we get 9 MPG local, 17 MPG interstate, 13.16 MPG average.

European Fuel Consumption: 20.4 l/100km (SP)

Fuel Tank: 26.4 US Gallons

Cd: 0.39

Turning Circle: About 39 feet, which is very tight

Length: 188.3 inches

Width: 75.9 inches

Wheelbase: 112.4 inches

Height: 66.9 inches

Seating: Four cross-country, five just to go to lunch.

Cargo Volume: 19.1 cubic feet normally, 62.5 cubic feet with the seats folded forward.

Payload: 1,600 pounds

Towing Capacity: 7,716 pounds


This is all under construction, especially this section. There are more options on a Porsche than people reading the internet.

The sunroof is an $1,150 option.

AWD is standard, even on the lowest-end V6 Cayenne. There are no RWD-only models. There is a crazy off-road package available, but with 40-series tires, I doubt you'd want it on the Cayenne Turbo S.

The dash compass is a $95 option, QR1.

SIM Phone is a $960 option, 9W1. With this option you stick your GSM SIM card in the radio, and the Porsche Cayenne Turbo S becomes the world's most expensive and powerful phone. We were sold that our car had this feature, but it doesn't work and looks like we may have been scammed. We're still researching if you really need this option along with the standard nav system and if so, we'll see what the dealer can do to make good on it. You stick your SIM in the little pop-out drawer on top of the volume control.

Porsche Cayenne Turbo S at the dealer.


You already know that the Turbo S is insanely fast. So what? 0-60 is rated 4.8 seconds, and this Porsche has more power than a 2006 V-10 Dodge Viper (510HP), 2006 V-10 Lamborghini Gallardo (520HP), 2007 Mercedes Bi-Turbo V-12 SL600 (510 HP), 2007 E63 AMG Mercedes (507 HP), 2006 Ferrari F430 (483 HP), and of course all the mass-market throw-aways like the 2007 Corvette Z-06 (500 HP), 2007 Shelby GT500 (500 HP), blah blah blah.

What the magazines forgot to mention is how solid, safe, quiet and refined it is. It's like driving any other solid German supercar, except that it rides high like a minivan. Weird, but true.

Hit the Comfort setting of its air suspension, and it rides more smoothly than my luxury sedans. The PASM active suspension is smart enough to get stiff if you start driving crazy, so it's the best of all worlds: soft while cruising, and stiff when you need it.

The smooth perforated leather is buttery-soft; not the usual vinyl-like leather used on most cars.

Everything is leather, even the doors and all of the dashboard. The headliner (ceiling) is imitation suede, called Alcantara.

The electric engine cooling fans are variable-speed. Instead of clicking on and off like other cars, when you park the Cayenne Turbo S, the cooling fans slowly ramp down their speed, even after locking the Cayenne Turbo S. This makes the Cayenne Turbo S sound like it has a turbine jet engine spinning down for a few minutes when you park it. A lot of hot air comes from under the front wheel wells.

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