As its name suggests, the Cayenne Diesel is a version of Porsche's popular luxury crossover that features a torquey and fuel-efficient oil-burning mill under the hood. Notably, this Cayenne is the first Porsche model offered in the United States with a diesel engine.
The Cayenne Diesel joins Porsche's ever-expanding Cayenne lineup, which also includes the standard Cayenne, the Cayenne S, the Cayenne S Hybrid, the recently-introduced Cayenne GTS, the high-performance Cayenne Turbo, and the new range-topper in the Cayenne Turbo S.
Setting it apart from its gas- and gas-electric-powered siblings, the Cayenne Diesel is motivated by a 3.0-liter V6 turbodiesel engine that also sees duty in the Volkswagen Toureg and Audi Q7. In the Cayenne, the engine produces 240 horsepower and an earth-shattering 406 lb-ft of torque. It propels the big crossover from zero to 60 miles per hour in a claimed (and likely conservative) 7.2 seconds.
The diesel mill is bolted to an eight-speed Tiptronis S transmission that drives all four wheels. The automatic start/stop system that is found on other Cayenne models is not available on the diesel. The EPA rates fuel efficiency at 19 mpg in the city and 29 mpg - numbers that compare well to the more expensive (though more powerful) Cayenne S Hybrid's 20/24 mpg efficiency figures.
To help reduce harmful NOx emissions, the Cayenne Diesel is equipped with Porsche's selective catalytic reduction (SCR) technology. The SCR system sends AdBlue fluid from a tank mounted in the spare tire well to the catalytic converter.
On the outside, the only noticeable difference between a diesel-powered Cayenne and a gas-burning one is a set of discreet "diesel" badges glued to both front fenders. The interior is completely unchanged, although that's hardly a bad thing: with a contemporary, Panamera-inspired design and high-quality materials, it's one of the better-executed cabins in the segment.
As with other Cayenne's Porsche Active Suspension Management, or PASM, is available as an option. PASM is an advanced suspension system that provides for infinite damper control for both the front and rear axles, and a choice of three settings: Comfort, Normal and Sport.
Standard and Optional Features
The Cayenne Diesel comes standard with leather upholstery, power-adjustable front seats, a 10-speaker AM/FM/CD sound system, Bluetooth connectivity, LED running lights and taillights and 18-inch alloy wheels.
In typical Porsche fashion, the options list is longer than Infinite Jest. Highlights include carbon ceramic brakes (!), an off-road underbody protection kit and an 1000+ watt, 16-speaker Burmester sound system. Additionally, more typical items like dual-zone automatic climate control, heated seats and a navigation can all be had (for a price).
Standard safety items include dual front, front side and full-length side curtain airbags in addition to traction and stability control systems and a tire-pressure monitoring system.
Nowhere in the U.S. market are diesels as widely available as in the luxury crossover segment. Alternatives to the Cayenne diesel include oil-burning versions of the BMW X5, Audi Q7 and Mercedes-Benz M-Class.