2011 Porsche Cayenne S Tiptronic Review – The Ultimate Familying Machine?

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Our tester came with a simple 3-spoke Sport steering wheel with paddle shifters (these were solid and felt really nice). It lacks the steering wheel controls for radio, PCM (Porsche Communication Management system), etc., but it’s very clean. Except that it has a total of four levers sticking out from the steering column. You have the basic turn signal lever and the windshield wiper controls, but you also have one for cruise control and one more for the vehicle information display system in the gauge cluster. The said gauge cluster is a bit busy, too. Information overload comes to mind when you stare down too long, but luckily, you’re driving a Porsche. You’re too busy driving and having a blast instead of checking how fast you’re going.

2011 Porsche Cayenne - LED DRLs


I am tempted to simply skip this section. If you’re considering purchasing a premium luxury SUV that behaves like a sports car and does laps faster than a regular Carrera, you’re probably not super concerned with the value that you’re getting. But my editor is probably reading this, so here goes. A similarly equipped Range Rover Sport HSE LUX with 25 fewer horses will save you over twenty grand. Too stodgy and not sporty enough for you? Well, you can try the BMW X6 xDrive50i with a 400 hp twin turbo V8 and similar options for ten grand less. But you don’t get the German prancing horse in front of the Württemberg coat of arms. And you don’t get the Porsche handling. And you certainly don’t get the Porsche brand cache.

Keeping the Family Together

The Cayenne S met and exceeded my expectations on several fronts. The performance is worthy of the Porsche name, and the ride and handling is simply superb. The interior is comfortable and futuristic, and the exterior styling is a big improvement over the first generation. It also underwhelmed on a couple fronts. The exterior design should be more daring and distinctive as a Porsche. The $94k tester also didn’t come with a back-up camera or steering wheel-mounted controls, nor did it have adaptive cruise control. Those options cost even more.

2011 Porsche Cayenne S

As for the question I set out to answer, is the Porsche Cayenne S Tiptronic the Ultimate Familying Machine? My conclusion is no. While it is fully capable of carrying around a mother and a baby in style with just enough room in the trunk for a stroller and a pack-n-play, there is simply too much performance here for you to drive with the type of prudence and balance that your wife expects while riding with you. It is simply cruel, cruel torture to be at the wheel of this powerful beast and having to hold back on the accelerator. I wouldn’t wish it upon my worst enemy.

Build Interior Performance Handling Styling Value Overall
Rating 5.0 4.0 5.0 5.0 4.0 4.0 4.5/A-

2011 Porsche Cayenne Photo Gallery

Porsche Cayenne ignition key

2011 Porsche Cayenne S Specs

PorscheThe official worldwide website of Porsche – www.porsche.com

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