Porsche Cayenne: Winning hearts in Qatar

January 02, 2011 - 9:18:16 pm

by Pramod Prabhakaran

A day spent in a Porsche Cayenne will tell you why this car is making news in the Luxury SUV segment. In a short span of time it has notched up impressive numbers in the competitive local market.

According to figures provided by Porsche Centre Doha, the exclusive Porsche car dealers in Qatar, the model makes up 37 per cent of the luxury SUV market share. Since the introduction of the new generation Cayenne in June they have already sold an impressive 300 units so far. The figure is pretty good when you consider the fierce competition in the segment.

Luxury SUVs are a favourite with many in Qatar, especially with the citizens. According to the company official now more and more Qataris are showing interest in Cayenne. The company officials are so upbeat about the sales figures that they are hoping soon “every household will have a Porsche Cayenne.”

According to Gilad Moses, Marketing Manager, Porsche Centre Doha, “We have done well this year in general. We have sold over 15 percent more Porsche cars than last year. We are well ahead of our target. We are witnessing a very good interest in Cayenne models and its on its way to become the most loved SUV in Qatar.”

With a price range starting from QR240,000, maybe not all households will park a Cayenne in their shades, but definitely most will aspire for one. The base price for a Cayenne S is QR287,800 and for Diesel it will be QR246,200. The hybrid version is also available in the local market and it costs QR307,200. When it comes to turbo it will set you back by QR471,700. All options are extra.

“We are confident of doing much better in the coming months as the market is growing and our models are getting excellent feedback from the customers,” he added. Till date 484 cars have rolled out of Porsche showroom in 2010 compared to 419 cars in 2009.

The new generation Cayenne marries the sporty feel of Porsche sports cars with modern-day luxury. Its just perfect for the daily drive to office or supermarket as well as for the off-road trip on a weekend. Yes, the lack of cargo space makes it a little less desirable for large families. There is no option for a third row of seats.

Driving comfort is where the Cayenne scores. Brisk acceleration, deft handling of corners, good responsive brakes and above all brilliant feedback from the steering makes it a pleasure to drive on the roads. I don’t think many will take their Cayenne off the roads. But you will be surprised by the way it responds off-road. Its agile, strong and takes to the dune pretty well. And it looks pretty cool too.

They have placed the ignition on the left side of the steering – a tradition continued from the Porsche sports cars. The logic is that you save a few seconds as you insert the key while entering the car with the left hand. Porsche has packed the Cayenne with all the latest in technology. Some options I don’t think anyone will ever use in this part of the world, but then I guess that’s the way world of motoring works.

The base Cayenne comes with a 3.6-liter 300-horsepower V6, while the Cayenne S comes with a 4.8-liter 400-horsepower V8. The super-powerful Turbo comes with a twin-turbocharged 4.8-liter V8 with a massive 500 horsepower. While the base engine is paired with a six-speed manual transmission, all others get a new eight-speed Tiptronic S automatic.

Porsche’s engineers have succeeded in making the excellent driving characteristics of the Cayenne significantly better. And once again, the name of the game is lightweight construction, even greater use of aluminium and special plastic materials as well as constructional improvements reducing the weight of the vehicle by some 66kg . The reduction in weight achieved in this way not only increases the standard of driving dynamics on lower fuel consumption, but also, by reducing the unsprung masses, serves to significantly enhance the standard of driving comfort.

With the exception of the Cayenne Turbo, all models comes as standard with steel springs, which may for the first time be combined as an option with Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM), making the steel suspension even better in providing superior long-distance comfort, even better performance, and supreme agility.

Porsche Active Suspension Management is a bumper system for active, infinite adjustment of the dampers front and rear. On the new Cayenne the driver is able to choose three different programmes by means of the PASM suspension buttons on the centre console: Comfort, Normal, and Sport. Depending on the mode selected, road and driving conditions, PASM controls damper power individually on each wheel for optimum results and qualities.

The Cayenne Turbo comes with new air suspension and PASM is featured as standard in a combination also available as an option on the other models. All air-sprung struts on the front and rear axle are optimised for minimum weight and are now mounted directly on the body for a significant improvement of both torsional stiffness and driving behaviour.

A further important point is that the new air suspension forms a self-contained system storing air in the system’s high-pressure reservoir upon any change in ride height. Such interim storage serves, first, to save energy by using a compressor optimised to meet the new requirements and, second, enables the suspension to reach the ride height chosen either manually or automatically more quickly than before.

All new versions of the Cayenne with eight-speed Tiptronic S transmission optional on the base model and standard on all others, come with an Auto Start Stop function. Auto Start Stop switches off the combustion engine under defined conditions as long as the vehicle is at a standstill, reducing fuel consumption and emissions in the process and thus preventing the engine from idling unnecessarily, for example when stopping at the traffic lights.

As soon as the vehicle comes to a halt due to application of the brakes, with the driver holding the brake pedal in position, the Auto Start Stop function will switch off the engine after about a second, informing the driver accordingly through the green Auto Start Stop symbol in the instrument cluster.

In the process the driver may leave the selector lever in position D or M, and the engine will remain inactive also when shifting to P and N. Once the driver lets go of the brake pedal, the engine will start again and the driver can set off without a delay. For reasons of safety, however, this is not possible if the driver’s door or the engine compartment lid are open or if the driver is not wearing his seat belt.