That's rich: Meet the Porsche Cayenne

There's nothing wrong with bashing the nobs and their gas-guzzling cars. But then you get behind the wheel of a Porsche Cayenne...
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Indy Lifestyle Online

Critics claim London Mayor Ken Livingstone's £25 congestion charge for cars that emit over 225g/km of CO2 is just another tactic in his chippy class war against residents of Kensington. AS IF THAT WAS A BAD THING!

No one likes rich people, not even other rich people. Why do you think they have those walls around the seats in first class? So they don't have to look at each other's corpulent, scheming faces, that's why. There's nothing wrong with a bit of nob bashing. I'll rephrase that: sometimes we need our leaders to wade in on our behalf and redress some of the inequalities in society. That's why we have a sliding tax scale, and why the rich are corralled into spirit-crushing ghettos such as Chelsea Harbour.

To taste for myself the bitter burden of wealth, I borrowed the latest Porsche, the £54,350 Cayenne GTS – a car that features on Wanted posters in every Greenpeace office from here to the Finland Station. Let me get this straight: first off, Porsche decided to build a lolloping great SUV that sprints and handles like a sports car, throwing its considerable technological cunning at the project (resulting in that amazing adaptive air suspension). Everyone thought it was mad, and then bought one.

But now Porsche has got rid of that air suspension, replacing it with conventional springs and lowering the car by an inch to make it more like a sports car.

I drove it to London and, dis- appointingly, didn't experience any hostility despite belching out 361g/km. Not a half-hearted honk nor a middle finger. Perhaps that was because everyone else was driving Range Rovers – the only people who can afford to drive into London these days.

What I did experience was the kind of smugness common to anyone who buys any Porsche, a satisfaction based on the knowledge you have bought the very best – the best designed, the best engineered, though not the best looking; the Cayenne is about as attractive as a cane toad's backside. It is, though, brilliant – so alert, and with buckets of V8 power. The "Sport"and "Comfort" buttons seem to have the same effect as the one on a pedestrian crossing, but the ride was not the Eastern Promises Turkish bath scene assault I was expecting; it was almost comfortable.

Of course, the proposed £25 charge is not just for Porsches; it'll hit any car that emits more than 225g/km of CO2, which includes such apparently blameless vehicles as some Peugeot 407s and Jaguar X Types, and the diddy little Mazda 3 2.3MPS.

Fine by me. If they are making our lungs look like a coal miner's loofah, they should be penalised. But there is just one problem with Ken's master plan to rid London of its soot-trumping Chelsea tractors: even the newest black cab emits 233g/km.

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