2014 Porsche Cayenne Turbo S
The 2014 Turbo S’s gestation likely was similarly drama-free, going, we imagine, something like this: “We already did a Turbo S with the first-gen Cayenne, right? Plus, the regular Turbo is just too damned slow. Let’s fiddle with some stuff and get it done.” And so the S gets the same twin-turbocharged, 4.8-liter V-8 engine employed by the Turbo, but juiced for an extra 50 horsepower and an additional 37 lb-ft of torque. Like other Cayennes (the expansive lineup also includes base, S, S hybrid, GTS, and diesel models), power is routed to the pavement via an eight-speed automatic transmission and an all-wheel-drive system with torque-vectoring capability at the rear axle.Sixty mph arrives in 4.1 seconds, a time that’s four-tenths quicker than the most recent Turbo we tested and just plain mental for something that weighs 5237 pounds. (As for that “almost the quickest Cayenne” disclaimer up top, a 2011 Turbo hit 60 mph in four seconds flat, but that result increasingly seems to be an anomaly in the Cayenne landscape.) The Turbo S more or less equaled its less powerful sibling in other measurables, registering the same 0.90 g on the skidpad, the same dismal 15 mpg in mixed driving, and nearly identical 70–0 braking. The similarities in the numbers are to be expected, given every Turbo (and even a few other Cayennes) that we’ve tested also wore the 21-inch Michelin Latitude Sport tires found on our Turbo S. The Turbo S’s moves are lively and pretty damn impressive for an SUV, with informative steering, a livable balance between ride and handling in most of the adjustable suspension’s modes (Comfort mode softens things up enough to deliver on its name), and an abundance of usable grip. But you’re still sitting high off the ground in something very heavy, and no Cayenne—no matter how powerful—ever fully overcomes these obstacles. Based purely on stats, the reasons for paying $35,600 on top of the Turbo’s $111,375 base sticker for 50 extra horsepower and roughly similar performance exist outside the realm of rationality. But then the Turbo S caters to people who themselves exist outside the realm of rationality, the sort of crowd bent on spending the most money possible on a given car.They will be satisfied with this Cayenne, although perhaps not our Cayenne. That’s because while our $168,225 example wore $21,250 in options, it was missing several big-ticket items like the $8840 carbon-ceramic brake package, $5655 Sport Design body kit, $2990 rear-seat entertainment system, $1640 wireless internet connectivity, $2225 leather-wrapped air-vent slats, $1025 leather-wrapped sun visors, and $650 colored seat belts. And for the sake of time, we’ll skip the myriad personalization options that allow buyers to mix and match grab-handle and rearview mirror leathers, instrument- dial colors, and monogrammed doorsill plates—none of which are free. Suffice it to say that if you want to spend more than $235,000 on a Turbo S, you can.Parsing the fine differences between the Turbo S and the Turbo is pointless. That’s because neither model is the most delicious pepper in the Cayenne jar—that honor goes to the more visceral, 420-hp GTS. It remains our pick of the Porsche SUV litter, and, while it’s slower in a straight line, it clings to tarmac with more tenacity and responds to inputs more immediately than either Turbo. It helps, too, that it makes a glorious sound, one unmuffled by turbochargers, and is a comparative steal at $84,275, which leaves plenty of room for all manner of leather-wrapped headlights or carbon-fiber mud flaps. But for some, there is no substitute for magnificence, in which case the absurdly powerful and supremely refined Turbo S sits ready to welcome them at the top of the Cayenne pyramid.