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Road Test: Porsche Cayenne S 5dr Tiptronic S (2003-2006)

£46,660 when new
Road test score

Car specifications

Brake horsepower
Fuel consumption
0–62 mph
Max speed
Insurance Group


Defining the new facelifted Cayenne S is a 3.6-litre V6, pinched from the Macan. Making up for the loss of both capacity and a pair of cylinders from the old 4.8-litre V8, is a pair of turbos. Handy. So under the bonnet - which Porsche assures us has been reshaped - there’s 414bhp and 405lb ft of torque. That’s enough to give a frankly silly 5.5-second 0-62mph time and 161mph top speed. That’s 0.5 seconds quicker to 62mph, a handful of mpg improvement and a drop in CO2 too - by 23g/km, if that’s important. It’ll also creep past its predecessor on the autobahn, with a top speed improved by 1mph.

The bi-turbo V6 also brings greater drivability, its thick wodge of torque delivered significantly lower down the rev range. It’s quieter too, but here that’s not necessarily a good thing, the old S’s devilish V8 sound replaced by something a lot less charismatic.

Engine aside, it’s as incredibly able as it ever was. The eight-speed auto (conventional torque-convertor here, not PDK) shifts quickly and imperceptibly enough, while the suspension’s ability to both ride with composure and allow this two-tonne machine otherworldly agility is as impressive as it is concerning.

The chassis people have been busy, says Porsche - trick new bushes and revised dampers helping the Cayenne live up to its sports-car billing. Like the styling, you really need to go looking for the changes. Check out the headlights and tail lights for some revisions and some reshaped air intakes, but that’s about it. It’s not too ugly, all things considered, the MkII a significant step on from the original model.

There’s more standard kit too - those new headlights being bi-xenon units with LED running lights - while a 918-derived sports steering wheel now gets paddles as standard. All that and more for £60,218, which is the Cayenne S’s biggest problem. That’s within £1,300 of its Cayenne S Diesel or Cayenne S E-Hybrid relations, the diesel offering a significant hike in usable performance with greater economy, while the as-yet-to-be-released plug-in hybrid offers the potential to dodge tax better than a well-informed Square Mile banker. All of which makes the Cayenne S look a little pointless, however good it might be.


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