Porsche facelifted the Cayenne, some months ahead of the Mercedes ML facelift. So the three-pointed star SUV now has a real contender.
Porsche facelifted the Cayenne and improved the model range exactly at the weak points. Even if the Cayenne and the ML are direct competitors, only few versions compete directly. The Mercedes has a very economical ML 250 BlueTec version, available in the US. This one does not actually havea direct correspondent in the Cayenne model range. On top of the diesel offer, the Porsche has the most powerful diesel in the world. The V8 turbodiesel delivers 385 HP and 850 Nm. But this version is not available on the US market.
The tough competition is around the bestseller 3 litre V6 diesel engine. Mercedes ML 350 BlueTec has a maximum output of 258 HP at 3,600 rpm and a huge torque of 620 Nm, available from 1,600 to 2,400 rpm. The Porsche upgraded substantially the 3 litre V6 from Audi. The unit now develops 262 HP (plus 17 HP) and a peak torque of 580 Nm.
In direct comparison, Porsche announces a fuel consumption of 6.8-6.6 l/100 km up against the 6.6 l/100 km for ML 350 BlueTec. Both models are very close, if we look at the dynamic performances. 224 km/h maximum speed for the ML 350 BlueTec and 0-100 km/h in 7.4 seconds. The Cayenne Diesel reaches 100 km/h in 7.3 seconds (7.2 sec. with the Sport Chrono Package, a premiere in an SUV). And it hits a top speed of 221 km/h.
The ML 500 with the 4.7 litre V8 bi-turbo, with 408 HP and 600 Nm now has a stronger competitor. Porsche sent into the history the aspirated 4.8 litre V8 and replaced it with the new 3.6 litre V6 bi-turbo. The unit delivers 420 HP at 6,000 rpm and 550 Nm of torque between 1,350 and 4,400 rpm.
Meanwhile, the dynamic performances are almost the same. 0-100 km/h in 5,5 (5,4 sec) for the Porsche and 5.6 sec for the Mercedes. There is a top speed of 250 for the Mercedes and 259 km/h for the Porsche. The latter promises a better fuel consumption of 9.8-9.5 l/100 km compared to the 11,0 l/100 km for the Mercedes.
Also the top version ML 63 AMG with 525 HP now has to face an upgraded Cayenne Turbo, which got 20 HP more and reaches a maximum output of 520 HP. The Porsche promises a slightly better acceleration from 0 to 100 km/h in 4.5 (4.4) seconds compared with 4.8 seconds in the ML 63 AMG. Meanwhile the combined official fuel consumption is 11.5-11.2 l/100 km for the Cayenne Turbo (11.8 l/100 km for the ML 63 AMG).
Porsche has also a time advantage against Mercedes. That is because the brand launched the first luxury Plug-In SUV, a world premiere. The Cayenne S E-Hybrid uses a similar propulsion system from the Panamera S E-Hybrid. It combines the new 3 litre V6 bi-turbo 333 HP with an electric engine. The maximum output of the hybrid system is 416 HP. The Porsche promises a fuel consumption of 3.4 l/100 km (79 g/km CO2 emissions), a maximum speed of 243 km/h and an acceleration from 0 to 100 km/h in 5.9 seconds.
Mercedes also has, on the pipeline – most probably for the facelift – a Plug-In Hybrid version with a similar construction from the S 500 Plug-In Hybrid, in which the new V6 3 litre bi-turbo with 333 HP, combined with an electric engine with 116 HP and 340 Nm, delivers a maximum output of 442 HP.
The fact that the Porsche is a little more dynamic is not a surprise, but the ML has other advantages. The ML has a bigger boot, of 690-2010 litres. Meanwhile the Porsche boot has a volume between 670 and 1780 litres. Mercedes is esteemed as the best comfortable SUV on and off-road, if equipped with the pneumatic air suspension. But the Porsche has a more sporty and rigid suspension.
And last, but not least, the ML is cheaper than the Cayenne. The highly demanded V6 diesel Mercedes ML 350 BlueTec costs 60,035.50 euros. The Porsche Cayenne Diesel has a price of 66,260 euros. The ML 500 4Matic is also a better offer than the new Cayenne V6 turbo (76,219.50 euros for Mercedes compared with 80,213 euros for the Porsche), meanwhile the ML 63 AMG is a bargain, with 110,253.50 euros. A Porsche Cayenne Turbo is priced at 128,378 euros. The Mercedes has much cheaper options and is better prepared for the off-road, having a higher ground clearance and the option for the off-road package with 100% lock central differential and reductor, which the Porsche lacks.