Change of car.

I am now driving a very Switzerland-appropriate car. It’s left-hand drive, and amusingly enough it actually blends in with the other Swiss cars fairly well..

This new car is an October 2011 built Porsche Cayenne Turbo, in Meteor Grey metallic paint. It’s got a few nice extras over and above the normal Turbo specification which is plush enough to start with.

The extras include the double-glazed cabin glass, the panoramic roof, the 14-way electric comfort seats with heat and ventilation, the keyless-go system, the removable hitch, the carbon interior accents, the cargo management system, the radar-controlled adaptive cruise control, the gloss black exterior, auxiliary cabin heater, and the debadge option.

The normal trim level includes such things as a 235W 11-speaker Bose sound system, full variable height air suspension, alcantara headlining, full leather dash and door panels in Espresso colour, four-zone climate control, all-round seat heating, full European satnav, reverse camera and sensors, headlights that swivel for direction of travel, 100litre tank, stop-start, seat and steering-wheel memory, electric tailgate, lane-change assist, and accident sense/ pre-brake

The oily bits consist of a petrol powered 4.8l V8 engine longitudionally mounted up front, mated to an eight-speed Aisin tiptronic gearbox, providing drive to all four wheels. The engine output is rated at 368kW @ 6000rpm (500 metric horsepower) and 700NM (516 lb-ft) available from 2260-4500 rpm and it really is an amazing bit of technology. The car is sitting on 20″ SportDesign II Wheels, with an identical set of 20″ for the winter tyres – this meant no faffing with registering a change of wheel with the authorities in Switzerland. It does not have the sports exhaust option, so the V8 is a little muted, and that’s not always a bad thing.

Driving the car around town is smooth and very very quiet, fantastic visiblity from the car, the controls are all very usable. Everything is on a button thankfully, no screens to divert driving attention from when e.g. changing the temperature or other similar tasks. Parking is easy enough even accounting for the physical size of the beast. The car does not have the “Sport Design” aero kit, so it really doesn’t look as though it has the capabilities that it does, and it does avoid a lot of the negative feedback that other high-end cars seem to get. There are a lot of other Cayennes on the road here so it does not stand out from the crowd, at least in this town.

Getting out on an open Autobahn is an absolute revelation. The acceleration ability is hard to believe. Pressing the giggle lever to the floor makes the nose rise a bit and pulls the horizon closer at a real rate of knots. It’s quiet similar to the “going Plaid” section in ‘Spaceballs the Movie’.. Every car has a speed that feels somewhat natural to cruise at. My A4 carefree cruise speed was about 120kph, the Q7 was about 135kph, but as I found on the derestricted sections the Cayenne carefree cruise appears to be in the 160-190kph range. The cabin is just so quiet even on 275/40R20 full winter wheels, that it can be very hard to discern the rate of travel from auditory or other physical cues. It’s only when the digital dash speedometer is noted at well north of 200kph that the might of this Autobahn stormer is really shown. The acceleration that is possible once the car in front returns to their driving lane is something that will never get old to me.

The baptismal drive of the car from the garage in Martigny in the very southwest of Switzerland to the home in Dietikon was very interesting. We randomly went up the Furka Pass, and ended up following a few 911’s as everyone was enjoying the tight and twisty roads up to the Rhone Glacier and environs. Accelerating to overtake the odd motor camper was an enlightening experience, leaving a healthy respect for the margins the car provides. I will certainly not be taking off the traction control or the stability controls anytime soon, but I do know that I will reach my limits before the car will. It really does feel like I am driving a smaller car with just how well the car changes direction.

Our volume of driving is quite small as anticipated prior to the purchase. Public transport is used for intra-Zurich travel unless the Covid restrictions would suggest avoiding meeting random people if possible, and having the car in that case is a real boon. The weekly shop is low-effort with the car’s ease of use and the space within. Most of the longer trips so far have been cross-border shopping with one Halowe’en hiking trip to Campertogno in Valsesia. Decent Thule roofracks have been obtained unsurprisingly, and the car will now take bikes and boats, with camping gear as appropriate, to my favourite haunts around the Alpine region, in some comfort and style.

The plan is to do some nice road trips over the next few holiday seasons, and there’s no better vehicle that I could get my hands on that I would rather do any distance in.

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