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Porsche Cayenne Turbo S and Range Rover Velar: A tale of two rad road trips

Charles Fleming, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Automotive News

I had to do some traveling over the winter holiday break. So I arranged two test vehicles, for two stretches of road, to complete two journeys.

Guess what? They were both terrific.

For a quick four-day turnaround to the San Francisco Bay Area and back, I chose the Porsche Cayenne Turbo S.

The Cayenne is a grand traveling vehicle that combines sports car specifications with sport utility vehicle looks.

Undeniably a Porsche, it's powered by a 4.8-liter twin turbocharged gasoline engine that makes a burly 570 horsepower and 590 pound-feet of torque.

That power is delivered to the ground via an 8-speed automatic transmission, which can be manipulated with Porsche's superb paddle shift gear selectors, and stays anchored to the asphalt with Porsche's "active all-wheel drive."

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The engine gurgles happily in Normal mode, and really clears its throat in Sport and Sport Plus. The driver may notice heads turning on the street. The Cayenne Turbo S, when in Sport Plus and fitted with the $3,200 sport exhaust system upgrade, rumbles like a race car.

But it's an SUV.

Despite the all-wheel drive, the variable suspension settings and the very responsive engine, the Cayenne sits high and wide and drives more like a small truck than a large car.

Around town the car never felt nimble. It never drove or handled lighter than its weight. As a short-term operator, I was a little baffled by the ample array of buttons, dials and switches on the center console, which looked lifted from an F-14 Tomcat.

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