Photographs and review by Derek Mau
- A brawny V8 provides über amounts of torque
- Traction that’s better than super-glue
- Big brakes take away speed faster than your can Labrador woof down a bowl of mac-cheese
- A lot tougher than it looks
- Porsche Active Suspension Mechanism (PASM) and Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control (PDDC), combined, work harder than James Brown at the Apollo.
- The Bose audio system is so weak that the engine and exhaust note sounds better when singing at high revs
- Drinks more gas than Ludwig at Octoberfest
Verdict: The Cayenne is the anti-thesis to Miles Crane when it comes to power, refinement, and the ability to get dirty with the other off-roaders in the neighborhood.
Appreciating a good Bordeaux takes more than just a swirl, sniff and spit. A cultured palate takes years to refine and yearns for more than what is available at your local grocery market. Many sports car purists turned up their noses at Porsche’s entry into the SUV market with the 2002 Cayenne, much like a wine connoisseur shakes their head in disbelief when football fans pull out their favorite box wine at a Raiders tailgate party. But Porsche was serious about entering the SUV market and proved that a good vintage tastes superb whether sipped from a fine crystal goblet or from a Dixie cup.
New for 2008, the Porsche Cayenne enters its second generation with a new exterior design, new technologies and a power boost. Some of the new technologies include direct fuel injection that provides more power and better fuel efficiency, Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control that offsets body roll for better handling and safety, a rollover sensor to trigger belt latch tensioners and curtain airbags and a push-button Sports mode for more performance. The 2008 Porsche Cayenne has four trims available that will match a variety of preferences and budgets.
The Cayenne base model is similar to a full bodied Chardonnay. With a 3.6L V6 engine that outputs 290 hp and 273 lb-ft of torque, the base model is a nice ride on the palate; quite simply a good, honest quaffable sport oriented SUV.
Our personal preference is towards the Cayenne S. Much like the subtle, yet captivating flavor of a Pinot grape, the Cayenne S seductively urges you to go beyond legal speeds and feels like silk with the optional PDCC (Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control) that delivers flat cornering ability to a vehicle with sizable weight and mass. Equipped with the six-speed Tiptronic S transmission, the Cayenne S accelerates to 60 mph in 6.4 seconds and has a top speed of 155 mph in testing. Estimated EPA fuel economy values for the new Cayenne S are 14 mpg in the city and 21 on the highway. This model year’s improvement of 3 mpg or around 15 percent for highway fuel economy notwithstanding, observed overall fuel economy during our week of testing was 17 mpg.
For the discerning connoisseur who craves a little more road carving agility and a little less off-road capability, Porsche offers the Cayenne GTS. Acceleration is improved with a 15% reduction of the final drive ratio and a 5% increase in horsepower. With a bump up in power, the naturally aspirated 4.8L V8 engine is up to 405 bhp and 369 lb-ft of torque. The air suspension sets the chassis 20mm lower than the Cayenne S, and its larger wheels and tires (295/35R21) give the GTS astounding road-hugging performance. Zero to 60 mph acceleration of the Cayenne GTS, with manual gearbox, is accomplished in 5.7 seconds. The Cayenne GTS with Tiptronic is three tenths of a second quicker than its Cayenne S sibling, accelerating to 60 mph in 6.1 seconds.