Porsche's new performance Cayenne has laid down a 'Ring record | Top Gear
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Thursday 8th December
SUVs

Porsche's new performance Cayenne has laid down a 'Ring record

The fastest SUV in the Eifel mountains is designed to dominate the class Porsche originally pioneered

Published: 17 Jun 2021
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Porsche has set a new Nürburgring lap record. It’s some two minutes off its own, outright record of 5m 19s, but that’s because it’s been set by a Cayenne.

A new, mildly mysterious ‘performance Cayenne’, no less. Clearly a bit disgruntled with the fact it no longer leads a class of car it basically pioneered – the fast SUV – Porsche has pulled out all the stops to blow the Aston DBX, Bentley Bentayga Speed and Lamborghini Urus into the weeds. Setting the new ‘Ring record for the 'SUV, off-road vehicle, van, pick-up' category is a pretty solid way to lay down its gauntlet.

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Its time was 7m 38.925s and was achieved on June 14 with Lars Kern at the wheel – the same man who whipped a 991 GT2 RS around the Nordschleife in 6m 47s back in 2017. The Cayenne’s lap time may not drop jaws quite as much, but when you slot it into the lap time league table, the circa-two-tonne SUV looks among great company: quicker than Renault’s Megane Trophy-R hot hatch hero, and just a few tenths of a second behind last-decade supercars like the Ferrari 458 Italia and Lexus LFA. In its own weight bracket, it’s about four seconds off the pace of a current BMW M5.

So it’s jolly adept on track, perhaps needlessly so. But little else is known of what to expect from the sprightliest Cayenne of all. It looks to be based around the swoopier roofed Coupe (at least to begin with) while we’re led to believe peak power will top 600bhp, and 0-62mph will be in the low threes.

Expect every bit of chassis tech Porsche makes to be thrown at it, helping to ensure it’s a notable step on from the not-exactly-shabby Cayenne Turbos and GTSs we’ve driven in the past.

"Over the first few metres of the Nordschleife in this Cayenne, you're tempted to turn around to make sure that you're really sitting in a spacious SUV,” says record-breaker Kern. “It changed direction at lightning speed in the fast curves such as between Hohe Acht and Eiskurve, with no wobble and no tendency to understeer. Even in this technical stretch, the Cayenne is a real driver's car that is easy to control."

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Tweaks over the production ‘performance Cayenne’, beyond a mild sheet of camouflage, were apparently limited to a racing seat and roll cage. Its 22in wheels were shod in the same Pirelli P Zero Corsa tyres that’ll be fitted to the car you’ll be able to buy. Expect firmer details beyond a comments section-stirring lap time in the coming weeks…

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