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2008 Porsche Cayenne Review – Medium bodied, well balanced, and silky on the palate

Friday March 20th, 2009 at 3:33 PM
Posted by: Derek

2008 Porsche Cayenne

If your taste desires something stronger and more intense than the Cayenne S or GTS trims, take a serious look at the Turbo with its 500 bhp 4.8L V8 engine that produces 516 lb-ft of stump pulling torque. Like a full-bodied Shiraz, the Cayenne Turbo has a big presence and seizes your senses into a state of nirvana. Flowing through a six-speed Tiptronic S transmission, that power feeds all four wheels and propels the five-passenger sports machine from zero to 60 miles per hour in just 4.9 seconds. Top speed on the test track has been recorded at 171 mph (275 km/h) by Porsche.

Yes, the standard 12-speaker audio system is fine, but the optional 350-watt, 14-speaker Bose surround sound system is better. Still, these are both a far cry from the sound of the V8 sound system. As if that couldn’t get any better, activating Sport mode alters the exhaust note from “cool” to “stand back” via lower restriction. The engine also becomes more responsive and the suspension lowers itself for impending “vroom.”

2008 Porsche Cayenne

Driving Impressions

Performance is the 2008 Porsche Cayenne’s reason for being, since it certainly isn’t the most practical, comfortable, or luxurious SUV on the market. In terms of overall performance, the Porsche Cayenne exhibits some marked strengths and few major weaknesses.

Lordy, lordy! Praise the Porsche Engineers who developed the Cayenne’s dynamic suspension and turned out a fighting bull that isn’t afraid to go charging full speed on a curvy mountain road. We heartily recommend the optional active Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control (PDCC), which does a great job of counteracting body roll. When the PDCC system is on, the body roll typically found in heavy, tall vehicles is gone. The adjustable air suspension is very flexible, offering both a terrific, supple, well-controlled ride in the comfort setting and a fair amount of precision in the sport setting.

2008 Porsche Cayenne

In terms of steering feel, the Cayenne is light and responsive. Which makes carving through canyon roads that much more enjoyable. We were even impressed by the  Cayenne’s off-road capabilities. The Cayenne is a superior off-highway performer and more than capable of maneuvering over imposing grades.

If you overstep your limits of confidence, there is a set of muscular binders to reign things back under control. The Cayenne S weighs in at a hefty 4,950 pounds, but we found the brakes to be hella-strong and kept the Cayenne in line better than your grade school Catholic teacher.

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