Alex Nunez, Forecast Earth Correspondent
Diesel use in Europe is widespread, as you're all aware. Drivers run the stuff in everything from city cars like the Smart to mainstream economy hatchbacks to the big German luxury sedans. The advantages are pretty obvious: high fuel economy without sacrificing power. Still, there have been some holdouts. Porsche, for example, has made it this far without looking at diesel. As of this week, that's officially over, as the European-market, diesel-fueled Cayenne SUV has gone into production. Understand this: no matter how engaging the diesel Cayenne is to drive (the Cayennes are good trucks, so this one should be quite entertaining), it's probably not something Porsche really wanted to do. But there's no longer much choice in the matter, so here we are.
The engine is the 3.0L diesel also used in the Audi Q7 TDI, and it makes 240 horses and a stout 406 lb-ft of torque. It should be every bit as good, and possibly better, than the 290-hp/283 lb-ft base gasoline V6. It'll also outdo the gasser in fuel economy; figure 25 mpg or so. Down the line, a Cayenne Hybrid will join the range, and that powertrain will get carried into the forthcoming Porsche Panamera four-door GT car as well. Diesel Porsches? Hybrid Porsches? Welcome to the world of ever-more-stringent green standards. Fortunately for Porsche, its product lineup is diverse enough to let them work in these technologies without killing off the bread-and-butter cars it's renowned for. As previously reported here, Porsche is doing a good job increasing efficiency in them without decreasing their awesome factor. And trust me, the latter matters. A lot.
Alex Nunez is associate editor of Autoblog.com.