We have a couple questions however. The Cayenne Turbo is penalized for its price. Should it really be penalized for having the option of carbon ceramic brakes? Yes, they add $8840 to the price but one does not have to order them. Porsche should be commended for offering them as an option. The Porsche should also not be penalized for allowing one to get their key fob painted in a matching color to the car. These are options and the base prices are fairly close to one another (Jeep excluded).
The Cayenne Turbo is the best handling SUV and also the lightest. The weight listed by Car and Driver seems to be an error. Porsche lists it at 4,784 pounds and has emphatically pointed out the new car is much lighter than than the previous generation. The listed 5242 pounds is 458 pounds more than what Porsche quotes for the car which is a very large difference. Someone got their numbers wrong.
Weight aside, the X5M is the quickest SUV running a 12.5@113 in the 1/4 mile. It is followed by the Mercedes ML63 with a 12.6@113 then the Cayenne Turbo with a 13.0@109. The Jeep brings up the rear with a 13.7@103.
The Cayenne Turbo is the best handling out of the bunch with the best slalom and skidpad numbers. If the emphasis is placed on acceleration the BMW wins. If the entire package is taken into account, the Porsche really should not be finishing third. What cost it the victory in this group was really its as tested price which was inflated due to unnecessary options. If the Cayenne does not receive an 8 point penalty for the price, it would finish in first place. Exactly where it should be also considering it was picked as the most fun to drive.
Fourth: 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8
Familiar ergonomics, terrific sightlines, a bargain in this group.
Squishy seat cushions, five gears only, always looking for a drag strip instead of a slalom.
Shy on sophistication, long on hot-roddishness.
Third: 2012 Porsche Cayenne Turbo
Sharp steering, brilliant seats, an SUV ready for Road America.
Absurd price, restricted view astern, ergonomically intimidating, cramped.
How is it possible to make 5242 pounds feel so agile?
Second: 2012 Mercedes-Benz ML63 AMG
Princely cockpit, serene freeway cruiser, 175-mph top speed.
Uninformative to start with, completely numb at its handling limits.
The Moët & Chandon of SUV status symbols.
First: 2012 BMW X5 M
Blindingly quick, plenty of cargo room, a transmission that predicts the future.
Bizarre exhaust note, slightly leaden steering, minor impact harshness, smallish fuel tank.
A driveline and chassis that love and respect each other forever and ever.