2009 Porsche Cayenne Diesel

So it’s come to this. A diesel-engine Porsche. If the Cayenne SUV made the purists scream, the new diesel entry will probably make them sick. It surely wouldn’t help matters to point out that the diesel version of Cayenne will be the slowest of the bunch, with a 0-to-62 mph time of 8.3 seconds and a top speed of 133 mph.

The turbocharged, 3.0-liter diesel V-6 makes 240 hp and 405 pound-feet of torque. The horsepower figure is 50 hp less than the gasoline V-6; in contrast, the torque output exceeds that of the normally aspirated 4.8-liter V-8 (with 369 lb-ft). Perhaps the most important figure for the new diesel, however, is the 25 mpg fuel economy, its European cycle rating. Oh, and it can tow 7000 pounds too.

Overall, adding a diesel to the Cayenne engine lineup smacks of something that Porsche feels it has to do, rather than something the company wants to do. Note that the car’s badges will read simply “Cayenne,” giving no indication that there’s a diesel engine under the hood. Is adding a diesel model a step that Porsche believes it must do only in diesel-mad Europe? Or will the company offer it in the United States as well? At the moment, Porsche says only that “initially the Cayenne diesel will not be sold in the United States.” We will get the upcoming Cayenne S Hybrid, in 2010, so perhaps that will give the Cayenne a sufficient environmental greenwashing for the U.S. market, and America’s Porsche purists – who still prize Porsche as a great sports-car maker – will be spared a diesel-engine SUV.

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