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Porsche Cayenne S review: Frills add thrills

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PORSCHE CAYENNE S

Singapore

YOU buy a Porsche Cayenne S if you want a big, spacious Sport Utility Vehicle (SUV) capable of semi-ridiculous feats of driving acrobatics, but also great comfort and refinement.

But the car itself is just a starting point. Like many luxury nameplates, Porsche gives customers a long list of options, encouraging them to load up on extras to make their car their own.

Go crazy with that, and things add up fast. The Cayenne S you see here, for example, has 19 items of extra equipment, totalling an eye-popping S$138,883. Just to be clear, that's on top of the S$433,988 it costs to buy just the car, to say nothing of the Certificate Of Entitlement.

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The sum spent on extras for this particular Cayenne S would have been enough to buy a whole other compact SUV. So why cough it up?

Well, Porsche's options catalogue contains items for everything, from changing the car's appearance to enhancing the way it drives. The benefit is that buyers who don't mind paying for the privilege end up with the exact Porsche they want.

That's not to say a Cayenne S without options is hardship on wheels. The interior is refined and polished, and Porsche's new cockpit concept is particularly elegant thanks to the absence of visible buttons. Instead, the controls and touchscreen infotainment are all under a layer of glass, though it all becomes a fingerprint magnet.

Meanwhile, practicality is very much present in the form of lots of room for all occupants, and a gigantic 770 litre boot.

But there doesn't seem much to differentiate it from other luxury SUVs at first glance. You can see lots from behind the wheel, it does away with bumps, and makes you feel, quite literally, elevated. But turn the pace up, and the Cayenne S is unrelenting in matching what the driver demands, and then some.

It's quite amazing how much sheer speed, grip and dynamic ability this 2 tonne car has when driven hard. It may look like Mike Tyson, but it's got Bruce Lee moves.

Big, powerful cars like this feel at home on the highway - 440 horsepower from a twin-turbo 2.9 litre V6 tends to do that for a car - but where the Porsche will leave even normal sports cars behind is in the tight and twisty stuff.

A large part of that is down to the aforementioned optional equipment, which includes four-wheel steering, adaptive air suspension, active anti-roll bars, torque vectoring, and Porsche's Sport Chrono package which allows for launch control and switchable drive modes.

A standard Cayenne S without these gizmos would behave very differently, which is why the additional price would be worth it to an enthusiast driver. Those who aren't cornering fiends can simply leave it out and save the cash.

With the Cayenne S, as with many things in life, it's good to have options.


PORSCHE CAYENNE S

Engine 2,894cc, 24V, V6 biturbo
Power 440hp at 5700-6600rpm
Torque 550Nm at 1800-5500rpm
Gearbox 8-speed automatic
0-100km/h 265km/h
Top Speed 4.9 seconds
Fuel Efficiency 9.3L/100km
Agent Porsche Centre Singapore
Price S$433,988 excluding COE or options
Available Now