First Look: 2013 Porsche Cayenne Diesel – Review and Report

By Jonathan Spira on 8 August 2012
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Coming to America this September

Porsche Cayenne Diesel in Reutte, Austria

While the idea of a Porsche SUV was somewhat controversial in 2002 when the Porsche Cayenne was introduced, it was met with great success and turned out to be a true high-performance SUV, with excellent handling and powerful engines including a V-8 and a turbo-charged V-8.   Later on, V-6 and diesel-powered variants were offered, the latter having been introduced at the 2009 Geneva International Motor Show and having gone on sale shortly thereafter.  Although the V-8 was sold in North America, the diesel version wasn’t imported.

The second generation Porsche Cayenne, which made its debut in 2010 at the Geneva show as a 2011 model, looks smaller than the original Cayenne (although it isn’t) and adopts a more muscular and sporty stance.  Indeed the headlights are clearly inspired by the Carrera GT and the interior is very much like the Panamera’s.

Not only does the new Cayenne look different but it’s roughly 550 pounds (250 kg) lighter than its predecessor thanks to the use of light metals such as aluminum and magnesium, making it more fuel efficient as well.  None of these changes seem to have compromised handling: indeed, despite a lower stance, its off-road capabilities remain the same as are its road manners.

Starting in September, in addition to the traditional gasoline powerplants, Porsche will be offering U.S. buyers a diesel variant, the 2013 Porsche Cayenne Diesel, which was unveiled this past April at the 2012 New York International Automobile Show.

Porsche markets the new (for the U.S.) Cayenne Diesel with the tagline “Different fuel. Same spirit.”    I think they hit the nail on the head.  I spent a week with the Porsche oilburner in Germany and Austria and here are my initial impressions.  A follow-up report will include more driving impressions on my drives to Munich, Germany and Reutte, Austria.


The Cayenne starts with the 3.0-liter turbo diesel V-6 and the same eight-speed transmission found in the Audi Q7 TDI and Volkswagen Touareg TDI.  Since it’s a Porsche, power is increased from 225 hp to 240.  Torque remains the same, however, at 406 pound-feet.

Top speed is 135 mph (217 km/h), and this may be my only complaint, although it’s one that’s largely only valid in Germany, where much of the Autobahn system has no speed limit.  While in most cases I outran other traffic, there were a few occasions where I simply needed a bit more speed and I hit the limiter.  This clearly won’t be a problem in the U.S. market, at least insofar as highway driving is concerned.

Auto stop-start was included on the European-spec model I was driving but it will not be included on the version that hits U.S. shores.

Porsche says the Cayenne Diesel goes from 0 to 60 mph in 7.2 seconds and its towing capacity is similar to the Touareg and Q7 at 7716 pounds (3500 kg).

Although final EPA fuel economy figures are not yet available, Porsche estimates that the Cayenne Diesel will have a rating of 20 mpg (10.2 l/100 km) in the city and 28 mpg (8.4 l/100 km) highway.  Based on this, the Cayenne Diesel can go up to 740 miles (1191 km) on one tank of fuel.

The Cayenne Diesel meets Tier 2 Bin 5 emission standards and uses a selective catalytic reduction system that incorporates AdBlue (urea) fluid to reduce Nox emissions.

The 3.0-liter V-6 diesel engine uses high-pressure common rail fuel injection and a variable vane geometry turbocharger.  The engine block itself is constructed from compacted graphite iron, which reduces overall mass by 55 pounds (25 kilograms).

The new Porsche comes standard with an 8-speed Tiptronic S transmission. Also included is Porsche’s Traction Management system, which features permanent all-wheel drive.

Click here to continue to Page 2The Interior and The Details

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