by John Tallodi
The Porsche Cayenne has been fighting off ever-improving adversaries in the sporty mid-sized SUV sector and the latest model, which has finally reached our shores, has received a complete redesign for 2018.
However, if you want the most powerful (and expensive) Cayenne currently on sale then it will have to be the previous-generation Turbo S. Still available in 2018 until the new model arrives, this massive bruiser is still a formidable performance SUV.
There is nothing wrong with the fit and finish and general material quality in the Cayenne, it still looks good too, although certain design features are now looking tired and the need for a physical key slot really gives away its age.
The row of buttons littered around the transmission tunnel are also at odds with modern minimalist designs but a recently updated infotainment system and the solidity of the switchgear is bang up to date.
So too are the very supportive front sport seats, rear passengers will still find it a squeeze, especially if they sit three abreast and the cargo area is below average.
The Turbo S is just about as dynamic and involving as a hefty SUV can get, it is fitted with most of the Porsche back catalogue of electronic and suspension aids so its ability to both cruise smoothly over rough tarmac and blast around corners with minimal body lean is as impressive as ever.
The sharp steering and powerful carbon ceramic brakes give you confidence to push harder into corners and while few owners will push the Turbo S to its limits, it does make for a very competent and safe vehicle in just about any driving conditions. No, there is no logically sound reason to own such a vehicle but there is something strangely appealing about the way it goes about its business.
The latest Cayenne Turbo may have downsized to a 4.0-liter engine but this Cayenne Turbo S still uses a 4.8-liter twin-turbo V8 which produces 570 horsepower and 590 lb-ft of torque. Both numbers are slightly higher than the new (550hp, 567 lb-ft) Turbo manages and it pips the newer car to 60 mph too, taking 3.8-seconds versus 3.9. It is however a bit slower, topping out at a pedestrian 176 mph versus the new Turbo's 177 mph effort.
All this power is sent to all four wheels via an 8-speed automatic transmission, the sound through the optional performance exhaust is totally intoxicating too and it goes some way in justifying the 21-mpg overall fuel economy you can expect.
Being the range-topping model, the Turbo S has been packed with most of the desirable features you would have to add on the lower-rung variants, the difference here is that you pay for it all up front.
Noteworthy standard luxury and convenience features include 18-way adaptive power seats, 14-speaker Bose audio system, adaptive LED headlights and carbon-fiber interior trim. Performance levels are enhanced by the fitment of active anti-roll bars, torque vectoring braking system, an electronic-locking rear differential and carbon ceramic brakes for the 21-inch wheels.
There are still a full range of colors and interior details to pick from and you should definitely get the sport exhaust and high-end Burmester surround sound system.
The Premium Package Plus is the sole package available for the Turbo S and it includes a panoramic roof, comfort lighting package, keyless entry and drive, power rear sunblinds, front seat ventilation, lane change assist and surround park assist.
The evolution of the mid-sized Cayenne SUV continues and while the latest generation models do move the game on with cutting-edge safety and technology features, for the time being the most powerful and quickest model on offer is still the second-generation Turbo S.
Aside from the older design this twin-turbo beast is still well up to the task of blasting along a twisty mountain pass and there are few alternatives, old or new out there that can come close to matching it.