ANCHORAGE, AK: Sometimes the wait is worth it.
Available in Europe since 2009, the 2013 Cayenne marks the first time Porsche has offered a diesel in North America.
Cayenne is not only the most affordable Porsche you can buy but also its best seller with the diesel adding to the Cayenne, Cayenne S, Cayenne S Hybrid and Cayenne Turbo lineup.
Pricing for the 2013 Cayenne Diesel starts at $64,500.
Power is a 3.0-litre turbo diesel rated at 240 hp and 406 lb/ft of torque that comes in as low as 1,750 rpm with a fuel consumption rating of 10.8/6.7/9.0L/100 km city/highway/combined and a top speed of 218 km/h.
This is one speedy diesel with a 0-100 km/h time of 7.8 seconds and 0-160 km/h in 20.2 seconds.
Porsche says the diesel is 30 per cent more fuel efficient than a gasoline engine of similar displacement.
With a diesel of this size and power, nitrous oxide emissions are an issue. Porsche uses selective catalytic reduction (SRC) using a urea fluid with the marketing name of AdBlue that is dumped into the exhaust system to break down NOx. AdBlue is stored in a 5.5-gallon tank in the place below the cargo floor where the spare tire normally sits. It is shaped so a temporary spare fits over top of it. Fluid needs to be filled up every 15-16,000 km by a dealer.
The engine uses high-pressure direct injections that can adjust the amount of spray pulses depending on load several times during the compression stroke. Starting is by glow plugs that go from cold to 1,800 Fahrenheit in just two seconds.
A mechanical safeguard in the fuel tank filler neck ensures that the locking mechanism can only be opened by the larger diameter diesel fuel pump nozzle and that refueling will only begin at that point.
The Cayenne Diesel is equipped with an eight-speed Tiptronic S transmission, without the auto start stop function available on other Cayenne variants.
As with the Cayenne S Hybrid, the Cayenne Diesel includes Porsche Traction Management (PTM), which features permanent all-wheel drive and a mechanically locking rear differential.
Because of this, the torque vectoring system is not available on the Diesel.
Visually there isn’t much to tell it from another Cayenne except for small ‘Diesel’ badges found on the left and right front fenders.
Detail changes on the Diesel along with all Cayennes for 2013 include door locking and unlocking buttons near the front door handles as well as a new analog clock mounted on the top centre of the instrument panel.
The clock can be replaced with a compass that is a standalone option.
In time-honoured Porsche tradition, the ignition key goes in a slot on the dashboard to the left of the steering wheel.
And in keeping with tradition, all the driving information you ever need is in the five main, circular gauges with the tach the largest and dead centre.
But then comes the transmission tunnel with about as many toggle and touch switches as you’d find on a private jet—but then again—that might be the inspiration.
With another double bank of touch switches on the roof there is plenty to play with if you have the time to look up or down from the road ahead to comprehend them all.
The most important of these switches are located aft of the shift lever and allow the driver to change ride height, suspension stiffness (Comfort/Normal/Sport) and AWD/FWD/locked drive mode. Supplementing these are the ‘Sport’ mode for spirited drivers, hill descent control and the traction/stability control on/off function.
To gain access to a small gravel-bottom park beside a huge lake south of Anchorage for photos, it was necessary to extend the body up to its highest setting. This had to be done to traverse a deeply eroded earthen road so as not to damage the transfer case.
With one, sometimes two, wheels up to the halfshafts, the torque splitting transferred the grunt to where it was needed to hump up and over to the park.
On the other side of the coin, the body automatically lowers itself a tad at highway speeds for more straight- line stability.
Seats in the Cayenne remain one of the best features being wider and longer that you might expect but nicely side bolstered so that you sort of slide into it like a ball into a baseball glove.
Ride in Normal, which we used 90 per cent of the time, felt firmer than the Audi Q5 I drove earlier this year with the steering a slight bit heavier then the Audi, but the Audi felt better to me in the regard.
The highways my co-driver and I covered in Alaska seemed to be almost new but there was lot of repaving going on.
The result is very little road or wind noise got into the cabin. With the standard audio system, reception was spotty as you might expect but the quality of the sound was great.
I really liked the temporary spare that fits over the AdBlue tank. Painted construction orange with speed limit warning stickers attached, it makes anyone aware that the spare is just that—temporary.
There seems to be no segment that attracts more interest and more new models then luxury CUV/SUVs.
The price of the Cayenne is right in there and, of course, it carries the magic Porsche shield on the hood.
But, more than that, it now offers a super efficient diesel engine with the capability of covering 1,000 km on one tank.
Porsche’s only problem now is trying to meet demand.
Porsche Cayenne Diesel 2013
Body Style: Luxury CUV/SUV.
Drive Method: front-engine, permanent all-wheel-drive.
Engine: 3.0-litre, DOHC V6 turbo diesel (240 hp, 406 lb/ft)
Fuel Economy: 10.8/6.7/9.0L/100 km city/highway/combined
Cargo: 62.9 cu ft
Tow Rating: 3,500 kg (7,718 lb), roof loading, 100 kg (220 lb)
Web Site: www.porsche.ca