It hasn't been that many years since Porsche first got into diesels but this, Porsche fans, is the marque's most muscular oil-burner to date.

Doff the cap to the Cayenne S Diesel, motivated by a 4.2-litre, twin-turbo V8 for which the Porsche posse quote 281kW and 850Nm - good enough, they say, to take this two-tonne beetle-crusher to 100km/h from a standstill in 5.7 seconds and on to 252km/h flat out.

All this at a an average of 8.3 litres per 100km and 218g/km of CO2, partly thanks to idle stop; Porsche say this is the only diesel V8 SUV on the market that's got it.

Thanks to the inherent smoothness of the V8 layout, the biturbo doesn't sound or feel like a diesel; it rumbles along like an American musclecar, while its PTM active all-wheel drive is set up to feel like a rear-wheel drive set-up - until you overdo it, and then it channels power to the front wheels as needed to keep the car on the black stuff and pointed in the right direction.

BIG-DIESEL ADVANTAGES

Big diesels, of course, have two more important advantages: range and towing ability. Porsche has rated the Cayenne S Diesel to pull 3500kg and, if you order the optional 100-litre fuel tank, it should take you about 1200km between comfort stops.

The S Diesel's discs have been sized to handle its power, with distinctive silver brake callipers, while black fins at the front end emphasise the gaping air inlets.

The Cayenne S Diesel will be available in South Africa from January 2013, at R839 000 with a three-year maintenance plan and R889 000 with a five-year maintenance plan.