The second-generation Cayenne looks much more sophisticated than the first-generation, which had looked a little awkward, as if Porsche designers tried to stretch a Carrera over the VW Touareg. The 2011 Cayenne is a hair longer and a little wider than the original, but it looks way sleeker on the outside and appears to be more aerodynamic (although the drag efficiency stays about the same).
The front end presents a huge improvement over the first-generation Cayenne and a slight improvement over the face-lifted first-gen. The headlight units are flatter and more triangular, which fit a vehicle of this size and height better than the 911-style headlights on the original. The designers also did a nice job of dividing up the thick face of the Cayenne with thinner grille openings, but a thicker bar across the bottom.
The profile on the 2011 Cayenne is also sleeker, with a streamlined greenhouse and slanted hatchback that’s less truck-like. The blacked out B pillar also looks much better than the chrome ones on the previous generation Cayenne. The longer and wider chassis gives the 2011 Cayenne a more confident stance and the 20 inch Cayenne Sport Design II wheels provide the Cayenne S with a mean road presence. Overall, the result is a much sportier looking Cayenne than the original ever was.
I would add one caveat to the generally good and sensible styling on the second gen Cayenne. The overall design is a bit bland. The first generation Cayenne was not beautiful, but at least it was very distinctive. The second generation Cayenne seems to play it too safe, and does not scream “I drive a Porsche, byotch!” to passersby. The rear fenders should be much more prominent, like those on a Carrera. I found myself constantly worried in the Safeway parking lot that people around me didn’t know that I just parked a Porsche. Which is kind of important since I just spent $94k on this thing. Well, I didn’t, but if you did, you’d want people to know that.
Interior Comfort and Ergonomics
Our tester had 14-way power seats, the middle of the range option. It’s better than the stock 8-way power seats, since it has lumbar support, seat cushion length and steering column electronic adjustments. These were really comfortable seats. They hugged. The top-of-the-line seats have 18-way controls. Eighteen. What else can you electronically control in a chair, you ask? Well, start with the side contours on the seat cushions and end with side bolsters on the backrest. Oh, and now the Cayenne will remember your steering wheel column settings with a memory setting.
Porsche managed to break down every single functionality one could ever want into an infinite combination of options and premium packages. This goes way beyond the seats, of course. The Cayenne S Tiptronic starts with a base MSRP of $64,400 but can end up costing you over six figures. Our tester has a dizzying array of options and MSRPs for $93,385.
To humor myself, I went on Porsche’s website to try and configure a Cayenne S Tiptronic with the same exact options that came on the tester but I failed to do so after half an hour. That’s thirty minutes of my life I’ll never get back. But I digress. As I was saying, the seats are very supportive and I loved the extensible seat cushion.