Cayenne lights it up with new fuel option
"It’s got a metric snapperload of grunt between the wheels and it runs cleaner and more efficiently than diesels of the past."
ANCHORAGE, Alaska - Up at the very top of the USA, the scenery is wild in the most literal sense, and the expanse of mountains and sea give rise to wild visions. If you were a complete loon you might swear you could see Russia from here.
Touring around Anchorage in the 2013 Cayenne Diesel, on low-traffic Alaska highways where the major obstacles are big trucks and potential wildlife (they have bear and moose here in abundance), the luxury ute displays all the qualities that have made it a big seller for the gang from Stuttgart; but with a new engine option.
Does everybody likes a song about common-rail, fuel injected powerplants and fast-start glow plugs as much as I do? And I’d sing you one, too, but that would be the boring part, as its something you can look up on the intertubes.
But the diesel in this case is something of a milestone for Porsche; it’s the luxury carmaker’s first diesel offering in North America (unless, as product expert Thomas Herold reminded us at the presentation, you count the tractors the company sold during the first half of the 20th century).
The 2013 Cayenne line-up is being further expanded with the addition of the diesel model; which should help in bringing the company’s projection of 10% growth in sales to reality.
The engine itself is a 3.0 litre, V6 turbo that outputs the diesel-characteristic low horse/high torque numbers you might expect – 240 hp and 406 lb.-ft., respectively - with peak torque coming on at a low 1,750 rpm.
So it’s got a metric snapperload of grunt between the wheels and it runs cleaner and more efficiently than diesels of the past, thanks to a combination of diesel particle filters, catalytic reduction components and specialized exhaust system (and of course everything benefits from the availability of ultra-low sulphur fuel these days).
Diesel Cayennes have been available in Europe for a few years now (since 2009), and the 2013 model comes set to meet the higher emission standards on this side of the pond - a sticking point in introducing diesels for a variety of manufacturers.
But that’s the boring part – the good news is that engine aside, the new model is still all Cayenne. The main difference is the badge on the side that differentiates it from the rest of the line-up in appearance.
It honestly doesn’t feel any different than any other member of the family, and I’ve driven pretty much all the members of the Cayenne clan; and while there may be a difference in how readily the torque comes on, it can’t be said this one is light years away from it siblings. Maybe it has a throatier engine note, but nothing out of character for this breed. One new feature inside the cabin (at least, I haven’t seen it before) is an analog clock mounted top-center on the dash.
What should set it apart, though, is the fuel efficiency – the company boasts numbers of 10.8 L/100km in the city, and 6.7 on the highway – and the inherent range. Put colourfully, I should be able to drive the Cayenne to the contiguous United States from here, or over to Russia if they suddenly built a bridge over the Bering Strait.
Porsche’s COO, Michael Bartsch, described the buy-in interestingly, saying that the original purchase price of the state would have equated roughly to the price of 130 Cayenne Diesel vehicles.
Positioned at the lower, entry-end of the line-up, this newest member of the stable is already available at dealerships. Sporting an MSRP of $64,500 before freight and taxes, it’s worth a test drive, especially in locations with fewer bears.
2013 Porsche Cayenne Diesel
MSRP range: starts at $64,500
Notable options: leather interior; larger wheels (19-, 20-, 21-inch); panorama sunroof; premium sound system; heated seats
Configuration: front engine/ all wheel drive
Available engines: 3.0L turbo V6 (240 hp/406 lb.-ft)
Available transmissions: 8-spd auto. with sequential shift
Fuel (capacity): Diesel (100L)
Fuel economy ratings (L/100km): 9.0 L/100km combined
Warranties: 4 years/ 80,000 km (comprehensive)
Competitors: Audi Q7; BMW X5; Range Rover
Strengths: fuel economy; torque; prestige
Weaknesses: no keyless start