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Like it or hate it there’s no denying the success story that has become of the Porsche Cayenne. First launched in 2003 it polarised the public with its controversial looks and gravity-defying handling. It redefined the whole idea of the ‘sport utility vehicle’. Over the years Porsche have made it faster, lighter, and more luxurious. But one thing they’ve yet to perfect is the design.

The second generation Cayenne, launched in 2010, was easier on the eye than its predecessor but it was far from being the most beautiful SUV on the road. What was even more incredible was when Porsche first showed us photos of its smaller Macan, an SUV I regard as being one of the best looking on sale at the moment, I couldn’t believe it was designed by the same person who was responsible for the Cayenne.

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Well now the Cayenne II is at the point in its life where it needs a facelift and Porsche has kindly given it one. No really, this is the new 2015 Cayenne. I know, I know… It’s Porsche design at its finest. The cosmetic changes are very subtle, a bit like playing spot the difference. But the differences are there. They include new headlights which feature a four spotlight daytime running light design as seen on the 911 Turbo, Macan, 918, and facelift Panamera. There’s also a new bumper design with new intakes which feature more blades. The taillights have a new design as well which seem to have taken inspiration from the ones on the Panamera.

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Inside, the main change is to the steering wheel which is modelled on the 918 Spyder’s. Apparently. Also from the 918 Spyder is a new E-Hybrid model called the Cayenne S e-Hybrid. Quite the mouthful but luckily it’s a bit more frugal with its fuel. Replacing the S Hybrid, the S e-Hybrid mates a 328bhp 3.0-litre supercharged V6 to a 94bhp electric motor giving a total output of 410bhp and 590NM of torque. That allows for a very respectable 0-100 km/h time of just 5.9 seconds while somehow returning a claimed 3.3L/100km. That’s thanks in part to the S e-Hybrid’s ability to run in pure EV mode for around 18km.

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Other updates to the Cayenne range include a new engine for the Cayenne S. Gone is the naturally aspirated 4.8 V8 and in its place is the 414bhp 3.6 turbocharged V6 from Macan Turbo. But it’s still called the Cayenne S, not Turbo. The Cayenne Turbo still a 4.8 V8, but with a turbo. Power is up by 20bhp to 512bhp. The diesels get power increases too; 16bhp for the Diesel and 3bhp for the S Diesel. All Cayennes have improved fuel economy too thanks to standard idle stop/start technology and active air flaps behind the grille which open and close depending on engine temperature. When cooling isn’t required they close to help aid aerodynamics and reduce drag.

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This new Cayenne should land in NZ around the end of 2014/early 2015. So that’s the facelift Cayenne. New lights, new grilles, new more powerful and cleaner engines… But has it been enough to get people out of Land Rover, BMW, and Mercedes showrooms? What do you think?

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