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SUVs put to the test: Porsche Cayenne, Audi Q7, BMW X5, Mercedes ML, VW Touareg

Cayenne, Q7, X5, ML and Touareg
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W if he is currently toying with a large SUV, he should have one quality above all in addition to a financial crisis-resistant investment: strength of character. After all, the SUV serves as the number one environmental enemy, with “no longer up to date” often still means the nicest assessment on the rejection scale, which is open to the top. Differentiated consideration? Nothing.

Assembled German SUV elite

To dismiss XL all-wheel drive vehicles as pure luxury gliders with a high seating position would be unfair. With their robust nature, they finally balance trailers weighing up to 3.5 tons and sometimes transport seven people and their luggage. And in places where large station wagons only scrape helplessly with two wheels, they scramble thanks to All-wheel drive , differential lock or reduction gear even further. The comparison of the assembled German SUV elite also shows one thing: with a powerful diesel it is not only very confident, but also amazingly economical.

Consumption in the eight-point range with cautious driving is ultimately not far away from many family limousines. However, the driver's foot on the accelerator is much more responsible for drinking habits than in other vehicle classes, as demonstrated by maximum values ​​of around 15 liters. Over two tons of weight together with the large frontal area provide a lot of resistance. After Porsche didn't want to know anything about diesel for a long time and burned a lot of gasoline and acceptance with its large V8, the sports car manufacturer is now refined.

three-liter V6 in the Porsche Cayenne


Although the Stuttgart-based company with the VW takeover had access to the entire engine range, they decided not in favor of one of the eight, ten or even twelve-cylinder cylinders that were also available chose the stingy three-liter V6. However, the jumping horse in the Porsche coat of arms does not change To the lame Klepper: With 550 Nm of torque, the diesel is finally topped by the V8 turbo. In addition, the almost unchanged aggregate surprises with better manners than in the Audi Q7 3.0 TDI and VW Touareg 3.0 TDI . Special insulation materials and a revised exhaust system have made the common rail less used to its rural dialect.

Since the engineers geared themselves towards the gasoline engine when setting the chassis, the oil Cayenne with its rear-biased four-wheel drive also drives extremely lively. So agile that the rear part becomes a case for gentle ESP interventions in quick turns. The brakes are also typical of Porsche: although none of the five are naked, the Porsche Cayenne almost achieves the deceleration values ​​of its two-seater brothers even with hot windows. Even the precise steering with the best compromise between ease of movement for relaxed gliding and sporty feedback deserves the title of extra class. On the other hand, the suspension would be a little less willing to provide information about the asphalt surfaces. Especially when unloaded, the optional air suspension looks stiff like a Swabian in Cologne's carnival. In the somewhat tightly cut interior, a few hard plastic details still disturb the otherwise good quality impression.

BMW X5 with optional third row of seats

The BMW X5 interior not. However, anyone who has got used to the new iDrive operating system with direct selection buttons in other BMW models should condemn the cumbersome infotainment menu navigation. In addition the BMW X5 x-Drive 30d A third row of seats is optional, but it is the only one that can not be upgraded to an extreme climber using a reduction gear or a level control that acts on all four wheels. But with the electronic hill descent and traction aids, even off-road newbies can go astonishingly far.

Confusion in all five candidates

That he is still on asphalt feels more comfortable, it shows after just a few meters. Although not even blessed with the widest track, it leans in curves like a four-man bobsleigh with freshly sharpened runners. Its direct control also throws it around the corner, as if it wanted to refute the law of mass-inertia. Like the Porsche Cayenne Diesel he buys himself its agility, however, with clunky rolling, while the steering lacks straight-line serenity. But the only in-line six-cylinder in the test calms down with smooth running and a pleasantly sonorous voice. However, calm is over when entering parking garages and winding inner cities, because all five candidates take carewith their confusion and wide tropics for a higher adrenaline level.

Audi Q7 offers a lot of space

The Audi Q7 3.0 TDI Quattro make about thirty extra centimeters more bulky than the competition, but in return it provides luggage and people (on request with a third row of seats or individual seats for four to six people) have the most space available. In addition, its cargo space offers many practical additional compartments, and if you choose air suspension, you can bend your knees at the push of a button.

All the more astonishing how light-footed and effortlessly it can be circled even through tight curves despite its dimensions and combines agility with driving comfort: Even when unloaded, its air suspension absorbs bumps without appearing underdamped when loaded. Criticism deserves, however, the overloaded with buttons center console, which ensures a long look away, as well as the aging operation. The fact that people still like to take a seat behind the Audi wheel is due to the consistently high-quality choice of materials and the fine-clicking switches and controls.

Mercedes ML 320 CDI with good chassis


Mercedes has also taken the criticism of its predecessor to heart and has given the current ML an interior appropriate for the price range. In addition, the 320 CDI, including the Airmatic package, which is subject to a surcharge, pampers you with the smoothest chassis in the test, which particularly effectively filters out short bumps. Relaxed travel is also promoted by the somewhat indirect steering and comfortable, but low-lateral support seats. If the Mercedes ML 320 CDI 4-Matic is forced to wiggle quickly against its balanced nature, it will therefore gladly let the dynamic-loving Bavarian-Swabian competition take precedence.

The three-liter return the favor for its somewhat more comfortable start with the lowest test consumption. The Touareg also stays out of the agility scramble of its competitors. With top-heavy understeer in fast corners and increased space requirements, it feels most like a heavy car. In contrast to the ML, however, it does not make any exclamation marks when it comes to comfort: Strong body movements on long waves are just as annoying as a loaded, sweeping air suspension, a hard seat at the back or the distinctive working noises of the common rail. This is compensated for by the lovingly decorated interior with numerous extras with extensive instrumentation and smart details such as the large compartment under the trunk floor, practical shelves or the rear window that swings open separately for small luggage.

Tail light: the VW Touareg

In the last place of the VW Touareg 3.0 TDI, however, its slightly lower price doesn't change anything. At the same time, he doesn't have to feel like a loser in this prominent environment because heNowhere really sags and even the point gap to the winner Audi is still manageable. However, it is incomprehensible why Porsche has resisted the diesel engine for so long. With its dynamic design, the Cayenne clearly shows, despite its fourth place, that a six-cylinder diesel is not a sacrifice or an ecological fig leaf, but simply the ideal drive for large off-road vehicles.

Audi at the IAA 2009
BMW at the IAA 2009

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