Head to Head: Porsche Cayenne Turbo v Mercedes-AMG G63
It’s a conundrum that few people face – which ballistically rapid, enticingly rare SUV should I spend 250 grand on?
You’re probably thinking ‘none!’, yet it’s something worth mulling over when putting together your dream garage … even just for kicks. Given that one of these beasts currently has a waiting list stretching to 2020, it’s hardly a ridiculous question. Stupidly fast SUVs clearly have their niche.
Mercedes-AMG is no stranger to stuffing steroid-pumped, large-capacity engines into bulky four-wheel-drive wagons, having begun the tradition with the original 5.4-litre V8 ML55 some 20 years back. But it’s the Porsche Cayenne Turbo that has long been the supersonic SUV to beat, setting the performance and handling benchmark across three generations, with the latest iteration by far the greatest.
In terms of physiology, the obvious competitor for a Cayenne Turbo is its cross-town rival, the Mercedes-AMG GLE63. They’re both high-tech, unitary-bodied, V8-powered muscle SUVs with a similar on-road bias. But the GLE63 wagon costs $45,000 less than its Porsche rival (before options), and there’s an all-new model just months away, leaving that duty to the all-new ‘Gerlanderwagen’ in G63 guise instead.
This mega-powered G-Class is as aerodynamic as a Westfields and as subtle as a meat-clever to the lower abdomen, yet the new-gen G63’s outlandish engine, massively overhauled underpinnings and equally extravagant price make it a line-ball alternative to the slinky twin-turbo V8 Cayenne.
How do they compare on price?
You’re gonna need at least $250K to put either of these SUVs on the road, and in the G63’s case, you’ll also need a suitcase full of patience because the 100-odd examples annually slated for Australia are spoken for until early next year.
The Cayenne is the ‘cheaper’ option, starting at $239,400 before on-road costs … and options. Our test car was far from carrying the maximum extras payload, yet it still tallied a mildly unsettling $272,150 thanks to rear-axle steering ($4590), Porsche Torque Vectoring Plus ($3590), Power Steering Plus (with a variable steering rack – $650) and Sport Chrono Package with mode switch ($2690), as well as 21-inch Cayenne Exclusive Design alloy wheels in Jet Black Metallic ($5400), Night Vision Assist ($4990), LED Matrix headlights in black with Porsche Dynamic Lighting System ($3440), Thermal- and Noise-insulated glass with rear privacy tint ($2990), tinted LED tail-lights ($1530), black aluminium roof rails ($1390), a Porsche crest embossed into the front and rear headrests ($990), and an exterior package in high-gloss black ($500).
The new-gen G63 starts at $247,700, though it’s already pretty jam-packed with equipment. On top of that, our test truck featured a Night Package ($5900, which brings darkened indicators, tail-lights and headlamps; black mirror housings, spare-wheel ring and body highlights; black protective trim inserts; and 22-inch cross-spoke forged alloy wheels in matte black), an Exclusive Interior Plus package ($10,300, which gets single-tone red/black exclusive Nappa leather upholstery among its inclusions), and designo Diamond White Bright paint ($5900) for a Cayenne-matching total of $269,429.