‘Let’s get trucking,” blogs Dan Scanlan after spending some seat time in Porsche’s hottest SUV.
When Porsche entered the luxury sports utility vehicle market in 2002 with the Porsche Cayenne, Porschefiles were horrified that Stuttgart was selling a truck! Well, when a truck has a twin-turbo 550 horsepower V-8 plus sports sedan handling, and 18,507 of the company’s total 42,323 sales in 2013 were Cayennes, the market has spoken. Some say the success of the Cayenne and the four-door Panamera sports sedan (5,421 sold in 2013) translates into profits that can be used to make cars like the 911 Turbo and radical 918 Spyder exotic. Sounds like a good business case to me!
The Cayenne is available with a 300 horsepower V-6 and 380-horsepower hybrid, and three 4.8-liter V-8s - 400-horsepower, a 500-horsepopwer twin-turbo and the twin-turbo 550-horsepower V-8 with max torque of 553 pound-feet in our tester.
Its air suspension offers three settings. “Comfort” is perfect for highway touring and off-road. It handled a poorly paved interstate stretch with no harshness. “Normal” is fine around town. “Sport” is what you want when you are hustling two tons of German SUV around – tightly controlled, stiff enough, but it doesn’t beat you up on less-than-perfect roads. The “Sport” suspension setting also hunkers the Cayenne down to 7.2-inches ground clearance. But flip the transmission setting to “Off-Road,” and the Cayenne rises up for 9.5 inches of ground clearance.
The main console is packed with 33 buttons to adjust suspension, engine, heated/cooled seats, climate control, four-wheel-drive and height, stability and hill descent control, even a gas-saving engine shut-off at stoplights. It’s slathered in carbon fiber and framed in red leather grab handles. A long moonroof stretches past the rear seat passengers. Underfoot, you’ll find alloy-faced pedals. The Sport Chrono Package includes a stopwatch and stores performance data, including lap times or transverse and longitudinal acceleration values and displays it all on the PCM main screen.
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