Yes, I was sitting around waiting for that new bubbly economy with inexplicable wild profits to just fall back in my lap and realized that it was never going to happen. Everything will simply feel like it costs more from now on. So, all those shameless, untimely, and insensitive luxury sports car tests I've been putting off shall be put off no more. That goes for (maybe even) BP-refueling SUVs that go faster than most sports cars.

Witness my choice of the new "958" 493-hp Porsche Cayenne Turbo V8 and fairly-soon-to-be-replaced "W164" 503-hp Mercedes-Benz ML 63 AMG 4Matic V8. At least you can admit I showed some awareness in that both vehicles are extremely practical carriers of things and people, and both have a relatively stellar reliability and safety rating. And they tow pretty dang well, of course. (7,716 pounds on both the Cayenne Turbo and ML 63 AMG 4Matic, just in case you want to trailer-camp in fancy places.)

Frankly the primary reason for the comparo being between these two is logistics. Porsche and Mercedes (you could also say, these days, VW Group and Daimler, if you dare) have been nearby rivals on many fronts throughout the years. Mercedes would love to have that sort of Porsche 911 icon in its portfolio but still doesn't, while Porsche has always wanted those Mercedes-sized resources. The latter of the two may now be resolved for Porsche what with the VW takeover that shocked the world, but it's all still very tied up in courts and boardrooms. Yeah, I know-BORRRR-ingggg.

The ML 63 is honestly still the meat hammer of all high-performance Euro trucks, weighing in at at least 5,093 pounds at the curb and propelled forth by the fat-barrelled 6.2-liter naturally aspirated "M156" V8 that made AMG a real builder of its own engines in 2005. For each of the 503 horses there are 10.1 pounds to deal with in the ML. And they deal with it in just less than five seconds in getting me to 62 mph from a stop. The thing is pure momentum hurtling through space, displacing more air than some school buses. The wheels for The Last Great Oligarch.

Then we have the kinder, gentler second-generation Porsche Cayenne Turbo that follows the passionately criticized first-gen spice truck, which nonetheless has (in a depressing yet predictable turn of events) accounted for a huge portion of total company sales since its introduction. Vocal Porsche purists and "experts" hate being wrong like that. This new Cayenne peels off the weight and takes on more attractive lines on the exterior as it sits on the chassis shared with the new VW Touareg and existing Audi Q7.

This better looking Cayenne incarnation weighs in at a feathery light 4,784 pounds. Divide that fluffiness by the 493 horses of the 4.8-liter twin-turbo V8 and we get roughly 9.7 pounds per steed. No large surprise then that acceleration to 60 mph can conceivably happen in just 4.4 seconds, while the ML 63 lists at 4.8 seconds. And the Cayenne Turbo actually carries the more resistant drag coefficient at 0.36 versus the ML 63 at 0.34, when I was expecting quite the opposite. Shut my mouth!

From the front and rear, the ML 63 looks much more the part of the meat-fisted mayhem maker while in profile the Porsche wins the looks pageant. At 76.8 inches wide and 73.4 inches tall, the ML 63 is half an inch wider than the Cayenne Turbo and a gasping 6.3 inches taller. Then in length, the Porsche completes the good-proportions formula at 190.8 inches compared to the chunkier ML 63 at 189.8 inches. Overall, I likey the new effort made on the Porsche Cayenne and now await the next ML class design to evolve the Merc SUV DNA into less 1990s territory. I just hope the ML keeps a portion of that chunkiness that has made it so notorious.

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