The car that, for many, represents the unacceptable face of the 4x4 just got more powerful, more expensive, and arguably even more risky to run. ( AC )
This is the new Porsche Cayenne Turbo S, just unveiled at the Beijing motor show. With a headline-making 542bhp to call upon, it's capable of cracking 62mph in under five seconds and going on to a maximum 174mph - incredible figures for any two-and-a-half tonne SUV.
Its unveiling at the Beijing auto show, says Porsche, is a response to the strong local demand in "the emerging markets of Eastern Europe and Asia for exclusive sports-style SUVs with top quality physical handling dynamics." But it also comes as tacit confirmation from Porsche that, in these increasingly emissions-sensitive times, you have to choose the launchpad for a car like this very carefully indeed.
After all, other parts of the global car market may not welcome such a thirsty, heavy 4x4 as readily as one where they still build hundreds of coal fuel power stations every year.
The last Cayenne Turbo S had a piffling 514bhp; this one trumps even a 911 GT2 for power, and gets 37 extra pounds feet of torque than the current Cayenne Turbo too, with 553lb ft of the stuff between 2250- and 4500rpm. Porsche has turned to a modified exhaust system and ECU to produce that extra shove.
Officially, the car hits 62mph in just 4.8sec. Weissach has yet to announce a 0-100mph figure, but expect it to be in the region of 12.0sec.
The firm's PASM active air suspension should keep this enormously powerful SUV pinned to the tarmac at speed, while its 21in alloy wheels, quad tailpipes, body-coloured wheelarches and body-coloured air intake grilles set it apart from a standard Turbo.
As of the 2009 model year, the Cayenne Turbo S will also be available with PCCB carbon ceramic brake discs - provided you opt for a wheel size of at least 20in. These stoppers measure 410mm at the front and 370mm at the rear and, being more resistant to fade than an iron brake disc, should make this car stop as urgently as it goes.