If you're the type of maven who follows the inner workings of the luxury car industry, you may have noticed an odd development taking place over the past year or so involving two of the biggest car brands in Germany.
The deal in the end was highly convoluted and involves enough holding companies and subsidiaries to make a whole team of lawyers' heads spin in unison, but essentially boiled down to Porsche trying to take over the entire Volkswagen Group and all its sub-divisions. In the end, the Porsche holding company bought a sizable portion of Volkswagen, which in turn bought Porsche's carmaking unit. Not exactly what Porsche had planned, but a major development nonetheless.
The move left some observers wondering how Porsche – a small manufacturer of sportscars – had turned its fortunes around to such an extent that it could even attempt such a mammoth takeover. The answer, to sum it up in a word, is the Cayenne.
After decades of almost exclusively building two-door sportscars, Porsche launched its first sport-utility vehicle (ironically developed in conjunction with Volkswagen) in 2002. Sales were such a runaway success that it almost singlehandedly catapulted Porsche into profitability. And this is the latest, fastest and most powerful version yet.
The Cayenne Turbo S packs a twin-turbocharged V8 engine with 550 horsepower and 553 lb-ft of torque capable of propelling the large crossover to sixty in 4.3 seconds and on to an Autobahn-munching 175 mph top speed. Those are veritable supercar performance figures in a versatile SUV.
In addition to the upgraded engine (which is 50 horsepower and 37 lb-ft stronger than the existing Cayenne Turbo) and all the luxury amenities you'd expect from a luxury SUV, the Cayenne Turbo S features all the electronic bells and whistles to keep the extra power in check, including Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control, Porsche Torque Vectoring Plus and Power Steering Plus.
In short, it's the ultimate Cayenne to date, but comes at a price: $146,975 (plus delivery) to be precise. The result, however, leaves us wondering if Volkswagen really needs another six-figure luxury performance SUV in its stable.
Porsche's sister companies Bentley and Lamborghini both recently showcased their ideas for SUVs that would help bring what they do best to a new audience. Bentley's is tentatively dubbed the EXP 9 F, Lamborghini's the Urus. The latest industry reports, however, indicate that, with the European economy in shambles, Volkswagen may put both these programs on hold for the time being.