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    I'm in love (part 2).... Cayenne surprise

    I have decided to part with my Audi S5, after only one and one-half years.   Why? Two reasons:  

    - since we now have a 911, the S5 will never again be used for a “fun drive” – sorry, not even close to 911 levels of driving involvement which is no surprise for RT members. 
    - I’m taking early retirement this summer, and see more exploring happening that ties with my love of outdoors activities – but more unpaved or steep roads where I can’t use a GT car.
     
    So - I have decided to trade it on a very capable 4x4 that can be fully comfortable on multi-day highway touring, as well as handle western Canada/US off-pavement stuff.  And, I have admired the new Cayenne, and expected that it would be perfect for my new uses – the 2nd Porsche in the house… all a perfect fit in my own mind.   (note: Mercedes ML or BMW X5 are fine on-road, but are much less designed for serious off-pavement use, so they were out)
     
    So, this weekend I finally did some extensive testing on a Cayenne S, and just to be a bit fair and open minded and see how another brand interpreted the 4x4, also tested a Range Rover Sport supercharged (though I knew I would end up with a Cayenne).   What is the surprise? 
     
    Just this: The Range Rover Sport simply shocked me with how much fun it is to drive. It is impossible to imagine how a vehicle that weighs that much can feel so graceful, controlled, but truly quick.... and simply a grin to drive. The 510 hp supercharged engine starts up with a big V8 bark, and when you dip into this engine’s power, it is a monster – immediate torque that is well matched with the 6-speed autobox, and Land Rover leaves a little bit of the V8 rumble audible even cruising. But beyond the motor, the RRS provides a feeling of surprising agility, and a nice road feel that keeps you aware of road surfaces and bumps while absorbing anything that might threaten control.  Roll is well controlled especially in their Dynamic setting, which give you confidence to push it a bit.   Like that big guy at the party that ends up being an amazing dancer, and suddenly you see him differently...
     
    How does the Cayenne S compare? Well it was just as refined, smooth, and capable in traction technology, as I expected. Its V8 revs smoothly and easily but doesn’t feel as torquey, and is disappointingly quiet. The driving position is more car-like than the upright Land Rover. This one had PASM so all the normal or comfort settings provided good ability to handle rough roads, but in a way that was relatively isolating with little feel for what the road was doing.  Steering is very precise, better than the RRS, but also fairly heavily weighted which makes the Cayenne feel like the heaviest of the two vehicles instead of by far the lightest. 
     
    Final conclusion: The Cayenne is a very, very nice 4x4, and I left with utmost admiration and respect for its engineering and design. And yes, it will get better gas mileage, likely even better reliability (though both cars have had niggling issues).  But admiration doesn’t make your heart beat faster.  For ~$15,000 less (optioned similar), the RRS-S/C has an honesty and real character, and makes you smile which I did not expect for this type of vehicle  It also has equal ability to cover huge distances in comfort, and for what it might be worth for some, better off-pavement ability (since Porsche has taken the Cayenne somewhat away from the Gen. 1 off-road ability).   I am sure that on a race track, Porsche’s engineering and lower weight would leave the RRS wel behind, but these vehicles more than most belong to the real world, not the ideal world of the track.  
     
    I did not question my wife while we did the testing and while we switched drivers (I always want her unbiased view), and at the end, asked her which one I should buy.  Her reply – the Cayenne.  Why? Because that way I would get to drive it more… if I bought the RRS she would want to drive it, it was so much fun.  
     
    So, last week, RC was shocked by the fun of an Aston Martin, now I’m made dizzy by a Range Rover Sport … what is happening in good old England?   Smiley

    --

    2010 Audi S5,  2009 Porsche 911S


    Re: I'm in love (part 2).... Cayenne surprise

    Nice writeup 4trac

    RR is very nice to drive. The feel really grows on one, as I found out after a long road trip.

    Did you consider the RRS diesel as well?


    Re: I'm in love (part 2).... Cayenne surprise

    HeavyMetalThunder:

    Did you consider the RRS diesel as well?

    Over here, the diesel range is not offered by either LR or Porsche.  Pity, as I expect the TDV8 would be even better; I would easily trade a very small amount of hp for huge torque and 3x the mileage. 


    Re: I'm in love (part 2).... Cayenne surprise

    Fair enough.

    I think if one wants to go offroad it really is the RR, Cayenne or the merc G class.

    Did you think about the G as well?

    Cool to hear your thoughts, since I am in the same place decision wise as well

     

     


    Re: I'm in love (part 2).... Cayenne surprise

    Range surely is classy. personally i am not a fan. and while i loved my cayenne turbo gen 1, i totally dislike gen 2.

    in all fairness though, you should pit the cayenne turbo against the RR SC......its a no match for the range in that case.

    the cayenne s while a superb car, does leave a bit to be desired for when it comes to power.

    maybe a merc GL would be an alternative ?


    --
    Speed has never killed anyone, suddenly becoming stationary... That's what gets you.

    Re: I'm in love (part 2).... Cayenne surprise

    intouch1:

    in all fairness though, you should pit the cayenne turbo against the RR SC......its a no match for the range in that case.

    maybe a merc GL would be an alternative ?

    @intouch:  here the Cayenne turbo is ~$40,000 more than the RRS S/C - it may be a better match power wise, but the Cayenne S is the better match for the RRS-S/C in terms of price, and likely also in terms of  a better balance of on/off road capability.  But I'm sure I would love a Cayenne turbo for mainly highway blitzing. 

    @HeavyMetal:  Merc?  The G class (Geländewagen) is extremely capable, but its uncompromising military roots mean it is happiest on trails, not highways (also very expensive).  I have not seen the GL class - looks capable but a bigger size range than the Cayenne - larger even than the big (original) Range Rover.       
     


    --

    2010 Audi S5,  2009 Porsche 911S


    Re: I'm in love (part 2).... Cayenne surprise

     I also considered the RRS. But the model is out for at least 6 years aready, so you know a replacement is around the corner. For me a no go.

    If the Cayenne S is too quite, take the sports exhaust.

    But I do like the looks of the RRS. Didn't drive the new one, but once drove the old RRS SC.


     
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