How’s this for a sign of automotive progress - Porsche has just sent a new version of its Cayenne ‘Coupe’ around the Nurburgring in 7 minutes and 38.925 seconds, around the same time it managed with a 997 911 Turbo a little while ago. Comparing a recent Nordschleife lap time with one from over 10 years ago does require a caveat, of course.
Alterations mean some parts of the track are a little quicker than previously, and tyre technology has moved on a hell of a lot since then. Whack a 997 on modern rubber, send it out on 2021’s faster ‘Ring, and that time will drop. But still, this remains a sign of just how damn quick these uber SUVs are now. And this Cayenne, which we don’t know the name of yet, is the fastest of the lot.
Porsche test driver Lars Kern’s effort means the Cayenne something or other holds the SUV lap record at the famed German track. Previously, that honour went to the Audi RS Q8, which uses the same platform as the Cayenne and a derivation of its 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8. It went around in 7min 42.2sec.
The Cayenne had a roll cage and racing seat to protect Lars but was otherwise as standard. Its 22-inch wheels were wrapped in Pirelli P Zero Corsas that’ll come on the soon-to-be-revealed Cayenne variant as standard. The lap was in the bag on the morning of 14 June with a balmy ambient temperature of 23 degrees Celsius and the track at 46.
In the full lap footage, there’s inevitably a lot of squealing from those Corsas, but on the whole, the Cayenne looks amazingly well composed for such a big, tall thing. Describing how the car handled itself, Kern said:
“It changed direction at lightning speed in the fast curves such as between Hohe Acht and Eiskurve, with no wobble and no tendency to understeer…The wheels normally leave the ground at both the Pflanzgarten I and II crests but these sections felt smooth and quiet in this Cayenne. There is a lot of wheel travel, and the body stays solid and controlled.”