2011 Porsche Cayenne Turbo Review

Porsche’s second generation Cayenne is improved in all ways but one

2011 Porsche Cayenne Turbo Review

Being both a pariah and a company savior has been hard on the Porsche Cayenne. If the Porsche ‘faithful’ could have burned it at the stake, they would have, but the thousands of them on the road means it served its purpose: to keep the parent company in the black. So, like it or not, the Cayenne is still the most successful – and perhaps most important – Porsche in recent history. Introduced in 2002, it was getting on in years and was due for an update.

FAST FACTS

1. Under the hood a twin-turbo 4.8L V8 makes 500-hp and 516 ft-lbs of torque, enabling a 0-60 mph time of just 4.4 seconds.

2. Thanks to a new AWD system and other adjustments, the 2011 Porsche Cayenne weighs a solid 400-lbs less than the model it replaces.

3. In addition to the Turbo, Porsche offers the Cayenne as a 300-hp V6, a 400-hp V8 and hybrid model that delivers the fuel economy of the former with the performance of the latter.

4. The Cayenne Turbo is priced from $104,800.

ALL-NEW AWD HELPS SHED 400-LBS

Twinned with the Volkswagen Touareg, the Cayenne was surprisingly good off-road – although a fraction of its owners would ever explore that side of its personality. But that came with a price – namely extra weight in the form of bulky transfer cases and locking mechanical differentials. Built to withstand heavy abuse, it became a penalty everywhere else.

Porsche decided to find a more elegant solution, and has incorporated a version of the Panamera’s all-wheel-drive system underneath the new version. It’s smaller and lighter, but can still pass muster in the muck. They also have an optional torque-vectoring rear differential that’s designed to add extra performance on the road, but has a side-benefit of acting like a fully-locked diff when needed. Truly the best of both worlds. Together with some other fat-reducing efforts, the engineers were successfully able to pull 400 lbs out in the redesign, which is truly spectacular in this age of ever-inflating curb weights.

START-STOP SYSTEM HELPS MAKE 500-HP MORE EFFICIENT

Motivating the big beast is a twin-turbocharged 4.8-liter V8 that’s shared with the Panamera Turbo, producing 500-hp and 516 ft-lbs of torque. It’s mated to an all-new eight-speed automatic transmission (and not Porsche’s excellent PDK dual-clutch job) that sends power to all four wheels.

The transmission also includes a stop-start system, similar to a hybrid, that shuts the engine off at a full stop and restarts instantly when you take your foot off the brake. It’s claimed to help bring the Cayenne Turbo’s fuel economy ratings from just this side of disastrous to actually not bad. While hard numbers have not been released, Porsche promises a double-digit improvement.

SUPERIOR DRIVING DYNAMICS: A TRUE PORSCHE

With the 400-lb diet, the Turbo hits 60 mph from a dead stop in only 4.4 seconds, and won’t stop accelerating until it hits 172 mph. The examples we sampled at Barber Motorsport Park in Alabama were properly suited up with optional 21-inch wheels and summer-only sticky tires. While not as agile as the sports cars that made Porsche famous, the Cayenne Turbo doesn’t disappoint either.

‘Regular’ models can be hustled around quite easily, with the large six-piston front brakes covering optional carbon-ceramic discs. The ones with the torque-vectoring diff are even more eye opening in how the power transfers to the correct wheel under acceleration, cornering and braking, but the experience is definitely more artificial than those without the trick equipment. The Turbo can certainly be enjoyed without the extra expense.

NOTABLY BETTER LOOKING: INSIDE AND OUT

Aesthetically, perhaps the first Cayenne would have garnered fewer complaints had it been prettier. Trying to stretch the essence of 911 styling over a five-passenger SUV was not very successful, but Porsche’s design team has learned (a little, anyway) from their mistakes. The new Cayenne’s proportions are significantly improved, with larger lights, some cues taken from the Panamera sedan, restyled taillights, and a greater sense of motion.

In Turbo guise, it helps that the standard 19-inch wheels are larger than before too, but Porsche offers a raft of 20- and 21-inch styles to suit any taste and price tag.

Inside, the cabin could be confused with that of the Panamera, with its wide center console, three-spoke steering wheel, and eye-level navigation and information screen. It also uses the same five-gauge cluster in the dash, which includes the excellent switchable screen in the fourth pod that’s used to show navigation instructions, audio settings, and access the optional Sport Chrono Package’s lap-timer. The main details carried through from the last-gen are the large angled holy-sh!t-handles on the door and transmission tunnel, best used when stretching the big Porsche’s abilities either on- or off-road.

The rear seats are generous, the cargo area is surprisingly spacious too, and all Cayennes come with a standard programmable automatic rear hatch. Otherwise, the standard equipment is generous, but like all Porsches, the options list is phone book thick and very pricey.

One thing new for 2011 is that the company has decided to group several popular features into packages, which ends up saving the customer a decent amount of money. The Sport package, with the dynamic chassis control, the torque-vectoring diff and a three-spoke steering wheel with shift paddles is $3,500, while the Premium Package Plus adds four-zone A/C, lane change assist, adaptive cruise control, a rear-view camera, roll-up rear screens and ventilated front seats for another $5,320. All that is added to the base price of $104,800, while it’s at least $1,100 to upgrade to 20-inch wheels. The sky’s the limit when you start clicking for cash.

THE VERDICT

But the Cayenne Turbo is much more resolved than the original, and certainly has the competition from BMW and Mercedes-Benz covered easily – although BMW’s X5 M does represent a serious performance competitor at a lower price point. With more power, performance and better fuel mileage, Porsche looks to be adding a more positive chapter to the Cayenne’s already lengthy history.

RELATED READING

2011 Porsche Cayenne S Review First-Drive 2010 BMW X5 M Review 2010 Land-Rover Range Rover Sport First-Drive 2010 BM X6 M First-Drive 2009 BMW X6

« Back
SWEEPSTAKES – OFFICIAL RULES, TERMS AND CONDITIONS

AutoGuide.com’s Monthly Overlay Newsletter Signup – By subscribing to our email newsletter, Entrants are eligible to win one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card (value of $100.00 USD). One (1) winner will be chosen every month at random and contacted by VerticalScope Inc.’s staff. *Amazon.com is not a sponsor of this promotion. Except as required by law, Amazon.com Gift Cards ("GCs") cannot be transferred for value or redeemed for cash. GCs may be used only for purchases of eligible goods at Amazon.com or certain of its affiliated websites. For complete terms and conditions, see www.amazon.com/gc-legal. GCs are issued by ACI Gift Cards, Inc., a Washington corporation. All Amazon ®, ™ & © are IP of Amazon.com, Inc. or its affiliates. No expiration date or service fees.

1. NO PURCHASE OR PAYMENT OF ANY KIND IS NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN THIS SWEEPSTAKES. AGE/RESIDENCY RESTRICTIONS, VOID WHERE PROHIBITED.

2. PRIZE: One (1) Winner will be randomly selected every month to each receive: one (1) $100.00 Amazon.com Gift Card (the “Prize Supplier”). Total approximate retail value of all prizes is approximately $100.00 USD. Prizes are not transferable and no cash or prize substitution is allowed. Prize package is awarded "as is" with no warranty or guarantee, either express or implied.

3. ELIGIBILITY: From the time of entry through the final date of prize fulfillment, each contest entrant and selected entrant must be a permanent lawful citizen and resident residing in the 50 United States or the District of Columbia or in Canada, and be twenty one (21) years of age or older. VOID IN PUERTO RICO, THE U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS, IN ALL FOREIGN COUNTRIES OUTSIDE OF THE UNITED STATES, AND ALL OTHER U.S. TERRITORIES OR CANADA AND POSSESSIONS AND WHERE PROHIBITED OR RESTRICTED BY LAW. Employees, officers, directors, agents and representatives, of the Sponsor and the Prize Supplier and each of their respective parent companies, affiliates, subsidiaries, advertising and promotion agencies, promotion partners and any entity involved in the development, production, implementation, administration or fulfillment of this Sweepstakes, and the immediate family members (e.g., spouse, mother, father, sister, brother, uncle, aunt, nephew, niece, grandparent, in-law, daughter and son, regardless of where they live) and persons living in the same household (whether or not related) of such individuals are not eligible to participate or win. Only one selected entrant per household. All decisions of the Sponsor with respect to this sweepstakes are final. The Sponsor shall have the right at any time to require proof of identity and failure to provide such proof may result in disqualification from the Sweepstakes.

4. ENTER BY INTERNET: You may enter this sweepstakes via the Internet by logging onto AutoGuide.com and subscribing to our email newsletter via the pop-up overlay.

5. SELECTION OF WINNER: One (1) Entrant will be selected by random selection who have subscribed to our email newsletter. The winner may be announced publicly on AutoGuide.com and will be contacted by VerticalScope Inc.’s staff. The winner will be required to provide a mailing address (that is not a P.O. box) to receive the prize which will be shipped free of charge.

6. ODDS OF WINNING: Odds of winning a prize are determined by the total number of eligible entries received.

7. RESTRICTIONS: The prize package consists of one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card with an approximate value of $100.00 USD. If prize cannot be awarded due to circumstances beyond the control of the Sponsor or Prize Supplier, no substitute prize will be awarded due to the unique nature of the prize. Sponsor and Prize Supplier shall not be liable to the winner or any person claiming through winner for failure to supply the prize or any part thereof, by reason of any acts of God, any action(s), regulation(s), order(s) or request(s) by any governmental or quasi-governmental entity (whether or not the action(s), regulations(s), order(s) or request(s) prove(s) to be invalid), equipment failure, utility failure, internet failure, terrorist acts, threatened terrorist acts, air raid, blackout, act of public enemy, earthquake, war (declared or undeclared), fire, flood, epidemic, explosion, unusually severe weather, hurricane, embargo, labor dispute or strike (whether legal or illegal) labor or material shortage, transportation interruption of any kind, work slow-down, civil disturbance, insurrection, riot, or any other cause beyond Sponsor's or Prize Supplier's control (collectively, "Force Majeure Event"). Sponsor shall not be responsible for any cancellations, delays, diversions or substitutions or any act or omissions whatsoever by the performers/events, other transportation companies or any other persons providing any of these services and accommodations to passengers including any results thereof such as changes in services or accommodations necessitated by same.

8. CONDITIONS: By entering the Sweepstakes, entrants agree to be bound by the Official Rules, Terms and Conditions and that Sponsor has the irrevocable right to use in perpetuity entrants' names, user names, likenesses, photographs, voices, home mailing address, biographical and prize information, and entry materials, without notice to entrants and without compensation or obligation, in any and all media now or hereafter known throughout the world, in any manner whatsoever, to advertise and promote Sponsor, its products and services, the Sweepstakes, and for any other purpose except where prohibited by law. Entrant waives the right to assert as a cost of winning a prize any and all costs of verification and redemption or travel to redeem said prize and any liability which might arise from redeeming or seeking to redeem said prize. Sponsor is not responsible for fraudulent calls or emails made to entrants not by the Sponsor. If the Sweepstakes is not capable of running as planned by reason of damage by computer viruses, worms or bugs, tampering, unauthorized intervention, fraud, technical limitations or failures, any Force Majeure Event or any other cause which, in the sole opinion of Sponsor, could corrupt, compromise, undermine or otherwise affect the administration, security, fairness, integrity, viability or proper conduct of the Sweepstakes, Sponsor reserves the right, in its sole and absolute discretion, to cancel, terminate, modify or suspend all or any part of the Sweepstakes, and to select a winner from among all eligible entries received by Sponsor up until the time of such cancellation, termination, modification or suspension, as applicable. Sponsor reserves the right in its sole discretion to disqualify any individual that (i) tampers or attempts to tamper with the entry process or the operations of this Sweepstakes in any manner, (ii) violates the Official Rules, Terms and Conditions or (iii) acts in an unsportsmanlike or disruptive manner, or with intent to annoy, abuse, threaten or harass any other person. CAUTION: ANY ATTEMPT BY AN ENTRANT OR ANY OTHER INDIVIDUAL TO DELIBERATELY DAMAGE OR UNDERMINE THE LEGITIMATE OPERATION OF THIS SWEEPSTAKES IS A VIOLATION OF CRIMINAL AND CIVIL LAWS. SHOULD SUCH AN ATTEMPT BE MADE, SPONSOR RESERVES THE RIGHT TO SEEK CIVIL AND/OR CRIMINAL PROSECUTION AND/OR DAMAGES FROM ANY SUCH PERSON TO THE FULLEST EXTENT PERMITTED BY LAW. Any expenses and receipt and use of the prize and federal, state and local taxes and fees applicable in connection with the prize awarded are the sole responsibility of the winner. An IRS Form 1099 will be issued in the name of the winner for the actual value of the prize received. This Sweepstakes is subject to all federal, state and local laws of the United States. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED. Sponsor, Prize Supplier, and their respective officers, directors, parent companies, affiliates, subsidiaries and advertising and promotion agencies, employees, representatives and agents are not responsible for and shall not be liable for (i) any injuries, losses or damages of any kind caused by a prize resulting from acceptance, possession or usage of the prize, or (ii) printing, distribution or production errors. Sponsor or its affiliates may rescind any promotion found to contain such errors without liability at its or their sole discretion.

9. SPONSOR: The Sponsor of this contest is VerticalScope Inc. (the owner and operator of AutoGuide.com), 111 Peter Street, Suite 700, Toronto, Ontario, M5V 2H1.

Subscribe to our email newsletter and automatically be entered to win.
*Restrictions apply. See offer for details

Get Breaking Automotive News, Reviews and Video in your Facebook Feed!

Already Liked