The new Porsche Cayenne is available in Malaysia in two variants, with the baseline model starting at RM795,000. Mind you, this is before one inevitably goes through the options list. One tick in the list leads to another and before you know it the price is remarkably different from the one you started with. BPQ 881, for example, will strike your bank account with a RM929,540 hit, approximately RM134,540 extra on top of the showroom floor price tag.
Two things to note – first: that’s a big amount. Second: given the chance, you’ll probably do the same; or roughly similar.
The rear-axle steering is useful, so that’s RM9,500, and LED headlights with matrix beam and Porsche Dynamic Light System is another RM9,000. The standard car comes with 19-inch wheels and while near RM18,000 is needed for an upgrade to 21-inches, it’s absolutely worth it. And as mentioned just now, one tick leads to another…
The slight problem is that the Cayenne is no longer physically posh as it once was. Every other car company has an SUV, making the roads flush with these machines which for the most part share the same silhouette. And could it also be because there is very little room to make a crossover look expensive or sporty? The Cullinan and Levante would prove otherwise, however.
Not that it should worry Porsche too much because the Cayenne is still the last word when it comes to how a tall and heavy SUV should drive. 340hp from the 3-litre turbocharged V6 is quick to keep its promise of 0-100kph in 5.9 seconds (with Sport Chrono) all without drama and fuss. It’s obviously not as forceful as the Cayenne S’ 2.9-litre twin-turbo although in this case the larger capacity – and older – engine is the one I prefer more. After all, there comes a point during cruising at past 200kph where one starts to wonder, “Why am I doing this speed in an SUV?”
What I really want is accessibility of power with a generous amount of comfort and refinement, and that’s what the Cayenne is ready to deliver. The larger wheels do make potholes more noticeable but not enough to shock vehicle occupants.
While I’m not impressed by the exterior design, the cabin is another thing altogether. First of all, the leather is red and looks good, thanks to a simple and proven black contrast colour – which costs RM18,000 (surprised?). There are similarities to the Panamera’s dashboard (both adopt the latest Porsche Advanced Cockpit concept), except that here you get grab handles and naturally the seating position is less ‘sporty’ than in the sports sedan model. There is one useful difference, however, as the fiddly motorised air-conditioning vents in the Panamera is gone. Want to change the airflow direction? Just use your fingers – quick and easy.
I’m still undecided about the Direct Touch Control’s glass surface. It looks remarkably sleek, but probably only until the afternoon because the only way to not get it smudged is to scrub your hands real good after lunch or eat with fork and spoon. No banana leaf rice for lunch, then.
The Porsche Communication Management needs time to get used to due to its complexity but is a gem. It’s responsive and despite some functions buried deep inside menus (or not quite easily located), is delightful to use. Android Auto is still not available for PCM but Apple CarPlay gives access to my two most-used apps while driving which is Waze and Spotify, so that’s good enough for me. Voice command is much talked about these days – also not often used – so a push of the activation button on the signal stalk and say, “I’m cold” will promptly be answered with “the temperature will be adjusted” – or something like that. Speaking of which, the rear passengers also get their own air-cond vents together with blower and temp control.
So this million Ringgit car doesn’t look the part, but it sure does play the role. It has the same electronics for safety and convenience as in the Panamera, plus with extra comfort. The large 745 litre of space certainly offers more practicality, and this particular Cayenne has the larger (optional) 90 litre fuel tank to give extra range – at a much sensible price of RM557. My time driving it was rather limited, but in the 200km or so, the vehicle’s computer recorder around 14.9 litre/100km. That’s far off the company claim of 9.2-9.0L/100km, although I can bet that that was done with far more restrained driving.
|Engine||1,984cc, 4-cyl turbo, 227bhp, 350Nm|
|Performance||0-100kph in 6.4 secs, 248kph|