First introduced in 2003 to a lukewarm reception, the Cayenne quickly silenced its critics by showing itself a truly serious performer. For 2011, the popular Porsche was redesigned inside and out, cementing it as the ultimate luxury high-performance SUV.
Seven models are offered: Base, Diesel, S, GTS, Turbo, Turbo S and S Hybrid. Base Cayennes feature a 3.6L V6 that puts out 300 hp. The Diesel uses a turbocharged 3.0L V6 that makes 240 hp. The S and the GTS use a 4.8L that churns out 400 hp in S form and 420 hp in the GTS. The Turbo version utilizes the same 4.8L V8 but with two turbochargers, allowing it to produce 500 hp, while the Turbo S bumps the power up to 550 hp. Porsche claims 0-60 mph from the Turbo S in just 4.3 seconds, with a top speed of 175 mph. Finally, the S Hybrid uses a gas-electric hybrid--Porsche's first--employing a 333-hp supercharged 3.0L V6 and a 47-hp battery-powered electric motor that combine to deliver 380 hp. The Cayenne Hybrid can run on either one or both of its powerplants for an even blend of power and fuel efficiency.
Interiors exhibit a typically Porsche attention to detail; they look, feel and fall in line with what one would see in the Panamera sedan. All rear seats are split folding.
Cayennes are suspended by a double wishbone setup in the front and a multilink rear axle, with front and rear stabilizers. All Cayennes offer all-wheel drive. A 6-speed manual transmission is standard on the Base model, while a new 8-speed Tiptronic S automatic is standard on all others and available on the Base. Towing capacity maxes out at 5,952 pounds for the base model and at 7,716 pounds for all other models.
The Cayenne comes with a lengthy standard equipment list. The Base and the Diesel models offer power everything, heated mirrors, leather seating, 12-way electrically adjustable front seats with 4-way lumbar support, steering wheel audio controls, rain-sensing wipers, privacy glass, a premium stereo system, a power liftgate, universal garage door opener and auxiliary power outlets.
S and Hybrid S models are equipped mostly the same, adding cruise control and a refrigerated glovebox. Turbo models include niceties such as aluminum interior trim and an Alcantara headliner, as well as Porsche Communications Management 3.0, which features a 6.5-inch color touchscreen display with integrated MP3, CD, DVD and navigation. A 14-speaker Bose stereo is also standard in the Turbo. Turbo S trim adds carbon fiber interior materials, 18-way adaptive sport seats with memory, 21-inch Turbo II wheels, dynamic chassis control, torque vectoring, and Porsche's Sport Chrono Package.
Lots of optional equipment can be specified on the Cayenne, including special exterior paint, special 19-inch wheels, larger fuel tank, Lane Change Assist, the Walnut or Anthracite Birch Interior Package, Porsche Active Suspension Management, Porsche Dynamic Light System, front and rear Park Assist, Porsche Ceramic Composite Brakes and more.
Standard safety features across the range include 4-wheel anti-lock brakes with brake assist and brake readiness, advanced airbags throughout the cabin, traction control and stability control.