cayenne

Tested > 2011 Porsche Cayenne

2011 Porsche Cayenne V6 Tiptronic

Review & Photos: Amee Reehal ©

Can you believe it’s been more than seven years since the Porsche Cayenne launched in North America? Can you believe, after all these years, the 2011 Porsche Cayenne is only now the 2nd-generation offering? Well, when your SUV is your top-selling product selling over a quarter of a million units worldwide, why meddle with a sure thing? But onwards and upwards, the all-new 2011 Cayenne is lighter, more fuel efficient and spacious, and inevitably, coming from Porsche, a little sportier.

Starting at $58,200 CAD MSRP, this 2011 Porsche Cayenne with the 3.6-litre V6 and Tiptronic is the entry-level model. My version came equipped with some extras, including the Meteor Grey Metallic paint ($1080); 18-inch Cayenne S III wheels ($540); the 8-speed Tiptronic with Auto Start-Stop ($4090); comfort lighting package ($350); power tilt/slide moonroof ($1630); driver memory package ($540); ski bag ($560); PCM with Nav ($4970); front and rear park assist ($1500); Bi-Xenon lights and PDLS ($2540); and a BOSE surround sound system ($2410). Ringing in at a total price (before taxes/fees) of $78,310 CAD.

The philosophy or premise behind Porsche’s development mandate is too increase power on less fuel, create greater efficiencies, and lower CO2 emissions—a principle the company dubs “Porsche Intelligent Performance,” epitomized by the all-new 2011 Cayenne where Porsche managed to increase horsepower to 300-hp while reducing fuel consumption by 20-percent compared to the former model by way of the all-new Tiptronic S eight-speed transmission with the Auto Start-Stop. Innovations contributing to these efficiencies in this new eight-speed transmission include a wide spread of gear ratios, thermal management on the engine and transmission cooling circuit, on-board network recuperation, variable engine cut-off and intelligent lightweight construction.

You’ll notice the reworked exterior styling—a lot sleeker and elegant with longer, flowing lines while retaining a bit of that beefy SUV appeal. Porsche made strong efforts to give the 2011 Cayenne more car-like character, more inline with its other product lines. Many claimed the original Cayenne looked nothing like a Porsche. Personally, I disagreed, but perhaps now we can put that to rest; the all-new sportier 2011 Cayenne certainly makes a statement with styling that is truly Porsche: new headlights; strong rear shoulderlines; rear wings typical of Porsche. The 2011 Cayenne gets a little bigger too with a wheelbase almost 1.6-inch longer, and 1.9-inch longer overall than the outgoing model.

Above all, the cabin in the all-new Cayenne is dramatically different than its predecessor, finding a much needed, newly designed interior that was long overdue. Perhaps the most significant upgrade being the centre console with completely new instrumentation and buttons flanked by a couple grab handles. The entire console now sits nice and high, with a comfy yet aggressive cockpit feel. Majority of the new cockpit carries over from the new Panamera sedan, including the optional Burmester high-end sound system. The extended wheelbase makes way for more rear legroom, while the front seats are upgraded for greater comfort.

A few other new features, all optional on the entry-level Cayenne, include the PDLS Porsche Dynamic Light System: the current xenon light system but now with speed related headlight control with various light modes including bad weather lights. There’s also the option Lane Change Assistant (LCA) monitoring the lanes right and left of vehicle up to 70 metres, including driver’s blind side; and the Auto Cruise Control (ACC), using radar sensors to automatically monitor cruise control speeds by gauging distance to nearby vehicles.

Porsche has taken a proven, winning product and made it dramatically better in the 2011 Porsche Cayenne V6 Tiptronic. From the sportier and more elegant exterior styling to the completely redesigned and roomier cockpit interior, along with the introduction of some new assistance systems thrown into the mix, the Porsche Cayenne is arguably the most dynamic, well-rounded SUV on the market. Hands down.

For more info on the 2011 Porsche Cayenne please visit HERE.

Tested > “Spring” – 2009 Porsche CayenneGTS

2009 Porsche Cayenne GTS

Story & Snaps: Amee Reehal

Kicking ass. This is precisely what the Cayenne SUV has been doing since its introduction back in 2002. Despite the naysayers (and there were plenty) who questioned Porsche’s (very late) foray into the SUV segment, the Cayenne has become a flagship vehicle for the Stuttgart automaker. Hey, that’s impressive. Adding depth to their ass-whooping, Porsche introduced a few variations of the best-selling vehicle, including the entry-level Cayenne (and Cayenne Tiptronic), Cayenne-S, CayenneGTS (and GTS Tiptronic), and the unrivaled, otherworldly Cayenne Turbo-S (replacing the CayenneTurbo last year). But for now, we’re only concerned with the slick 2009 Cayenne GTS Tiptronic, and if you’re in the market, perhaps you should be too because pound-for-pound, in terms of pure performance, price-point, and enhanced styling, the GTS is arguably the best Cayenne available…with or without the Nordic Gold (orange) Metallic paint.

Propelling this 5000-lb plus rocket is a 4.8 liter V8, putting down a respectable 405-hp and 369 lb-ft of torque—well ahead of the sub-300-hp entry-level Cayenne, yet worlds apart from the 550-hp Cayenne Turbo-S older sibling. But in terms of refined, naturally-aspirated power, the GTS version is a true showcase of Porsche engineering. Slide into the cabin, turn the ignition, and enjoy the raw growl of the V8. It with certainly set the tone, literally, for the ride ahead. While the majority of GTS’ rolling off the plant floor come with an automatic transmission, a 6-speed manual is now available at no cost. Think about it, a stick shift luxury SUV? That’s pretty damn cool, and rare. Our auto tranny GTS tester came equipped with the 6-speed Tiptronic-S. Paying the premium for the Tiptronic version (opposed to non-Tiptronic automatic) will definitely be a personal choice—some may love it, some may find it more of a novelty. For all the driving enthusiasts, just get the stick shift.

Alright, let’s get the paint colour issue out of the way. Our press CayenneGTS arrived with the $4280 optional Nordic Gold Metallic paint, a.k.a. Orange. Whether cruising down The Red Mile in Calgary, pulling into the grocery store lot, or rolling up to the golf course, this GTS garnered a lot of attention. And the love-hate reaction was almost always the same: ‘love the colour man!’ or ‘are you gay?’ (mind you, the writers dead-on matching golf bag didn’t really help). Fortunately for the haters, others colours are available. Trivial issues aside, the CayenneGTS exterior styling is simply gorgeous. It exudes luxury, sophistication, and an extra dose of sports appeal, including an aerodynamic body kit with a pair of huge dual tailpipes that look as loud as they sound. And that’s a good thing.

Huge 21” light alloy wheels are standard, wrapped in 295/35 rubber. 13.8” vented rotors with 6 piston calipers occupy the front, with 13” vented rotors with 4 piston calipers in the rear. All mated to a permanent all-wheel drive system. The GTS also sees a 3-mode shock system (Comfort, Normal, Sport) adjusting the damper settings for various driving styles, but Sport mode is the only one that matters folks, because it literally drops the ride, tightens the suspension, and opens up the dual-exhaust pipes producing serious noise. Of course, the GTS sees a plethora of other technologies including Porsche Traction Management (PTM) and Porsche Stability Management (PSM), to name a couple.

The cabin is roomy, comfortable, and very black (black leather interior is an extra $4440). Overall, a great balance of sporty styling and luxury. The 12-way power adjustable leather front seats are snug and well-bolstered, while the 3-spoke multifunction leather steering wheel is fairly big yet feels good in the hands. Forking out the extra $2310 for the Bose Surround Sound System and another $4500 for the Porsche Multimedia System with navigation are wise choices. Some may find the centre console clean and uncluttered, while others may feel unimpressed, expecting more gadgets and stuff. But one thing is evident: the touch screen is nestled fairly low in the console (perhaps move the vents and raise the screen higher?).

Despite the dismal economic environment, Porsche is holding it’s own in Canada. Recent figures show an overall dip in Porsche sales this past year. Yet the company’s flagship 911 and Cayenne models continue to do well, carrying most of the weight. In fact, Porsche’s Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) sales are actually higher, reaching an all-time single month record with 76 CPO vehicles sold in May 2009. The CayenneGTS new sales were down almost half in May 2009 compared to May 2008, but over the year, GTS sales were down by a reasonable 20%. So despite the auto industry’s current state with all the bailout shenanigans, the Porsche Cayenne continues to plow through the shit storm.

Sharp: - the Nordic Gold Metallic paint - Enhanced styling (i.e. quad tailpipes, aerodynamic kit) - Powerful non-turbo V8 - Optional 6-speed manual stick shift

Dull: - the Nordic Gold Metallic paint - Centre console (debatable) - You’ll end up comparing to the Turbo-S, so don’t drive one, seriously

The Verdict: In Canada, the entry-level Porsche Cayenne Tiptronic remains the manufacturer’s top-selling SUV (starting at $60,190), followed by the CayenneS. While the GTS Tiptronic sits third, with a base price of $91,090 CDN, it is perhaps the best of the bunch, in terms of best bang for the buck. It’s priced a good $60k less than the expensive Turbo-S, yet worth every penny more than the step-down V8 powered CayenneS with 20 less horses and no cosmetic enhancements. Kick-ass, differentiated styling and raw power. What else does one need?

Also posted at Sharp Magazine Online

Tested > 2009 Porsche Cayenne Turbo S

The 2009 Porsche Cayenne Turbo-S: Not an SUV

Story & Snaps: Amee Reehal

After all these years, I still remember the advertising tagline for the Porsche Cayenne when it was first introduced to North America in 2002: “It’s not an SUV. It’s a Porsche.” Priceless. This more or less sums it up. A) We realize we’re a little late to the segment; we’re not calling it an SUV. B) We’re Porsche. We build the world’s finest cars this side of Stuttgart. We don’t need to explain ourselves. Nor should they. Call it what you wish, sport utility or otherwise, Porsche has arguably created one of the world’s most impressive 4-door performance vehicles (with exception, perhaps, to the 2010 Porsche Panamera!)—marrying classic Porsche styling with craftsmanship, along with such audacious power and performance, the Cayenne Turbo-S’ nearest competitor is still stuck in The ‘90s. When Blazers, Tahoes, Escalades, and the like, had long inundated North American driveways turn of the century, Porsche was evidently M.I.A. Even the Europeans got in on the action with Mercedes-Benz releasing the M-Class in 1998 and BMW with the X5 in 2000. Sure, perhaps they were riding it out, assessing the SUV market before T-boning the competition for leftover sales. Or perhaps Porsche values craftsmanship over market share, going against the grain, building performance vehicles and not necessarily sport utility vehicles consumers seek.

Performance

Propelling this heavy 2360-kg rocket is a 4.8-litre twin turbo V8, producing a whopping 550-hp and 553-lb ft of torque, paired to a 6-speed Tiptronic-S transmission with the Hill Holder function, offering an extra 30-hp from the 2008 Turbo-S, sharing essentially the exact same displacement as the current model, the extra power comes by way of improved airflow via exhaust and intake, along with some engine revamping (and in case you were wondering, a 260-hp bump from the entry-level Cayenne…for an extra $100,000 or so, in case you were wondering this too). Clocking a zero to 60mph in 4.8 seconds with a top speed of nearly 280km/h, the Cayenne Turbo-S is fastest SUV available. Behind the wheel, the engine feels very smooth and clean. The V8 pushes this beast of a vehicle so effortlessly, you wouldn’t know this was an SUV until you got out gawked at it for a few minutes. Virtually, no noise or vibration—just pure Porsche refinement as one would expect.

Exterior Styling

Following the introduction of the first ever 2008 Turbo-S in 2007, the 2009 Turbo-S was introduced last year at the Beijing Auto Show. While both the ’08 and ’09 models are essentially the same, including the same powerplant, the latter does see some revisions with the more notable being extra horses. But hey, a few cosmetic changes second time around wouldn’t hurt, and if your friends can’t tell that you’ve traded up, the 21-inch SportPlus alloy wheels housed in wider fender flares should give it away. Other styling differences over the 2008 Turbo-S include an exclusive grey metallic paint option, body colour matched front intake grills and wheel arches, and Cayenne GTS style sporty aluminum quad tailpipes. If this doesn’t clear it up, it’s time for new friends.

The Cabin

The interior feels sporty with no compromise in luxury. The 12-way power front seats are well bolstered and comfortable. The unique 3-spoke multifunction wheel is wrapped in leather. The updated Porsche Communication Multimedia System Management (PCM) includes an array of things including navigation system and a 14-speaker surround sound Bose system. The touch screen is nestled in the middle of centre console, surrounded by an array of dials and buttons, sitting so low that toggling your view between the road and the screen is like watching a proper tennis match—except that this is both frustrating and dangerous. Perhaps relocate the vents and raise the entire centre console with the screen placed up top.

The Ride

The all-wheel drive is equipped with 38%/62% front/rear torque split, all sitting upon a fully independent air suspension system with PASM (Porsche Active Suspension Management). The slick yet useful suspension leveling and ride-height control offers a more fine-tuned drive. Other features include a Low Range gearbox with variable centre drift and the Porsche Stability Management (PSM). And for those who take the Cayenne’s ‘utility’ seriously, the towing capacity is rated at 7715-lb. More power deserves better stopping ability, especially in a vehicle this size. The 2009 Turbo-S comes with optional composite ceramic brakes paired to 14.5” vented rotors with 6-piston calipers up front, and 14.1” vented rotors with 4-piston calipers in the rear. The 21-inch alloy wheels are wrapped in 295/35 performance tires.

Safety

Some of the standard safety features include 2-stage driver and passenger airbags, side airbags integrated in the front seats, curtain airbags from the A to C pillars, 3-point front and rear seatbelts with pre-tensioners, encapsulated in a fully galvanized high strength steal body.

So, what was the holdup Porsche? What took so long getting into the SUV game? Frankly, who cares—today, the Cayenne is Porsche’s best selling product. And after spending one glorious week with the 2009 Cayenne Turbo-S, I can see why. Besides, when you’re behind the wheel of the Turbo-S, the past is quickly forgotten and the future is simply the open road ahead.

For more info on the 2009 Porsche Cayenne lineup visit http://www.porsche.com/canada/models/cayenne/