2011 Porsche Cayenne S road test car review It& s not really …

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The introduction of Porsche Cayenne model year 2011 marks more than seven years of the first generation of—Cayenne, an off-road Porsche that some said shouldn’t have been built because, well, Porsche shouldn’t do an SUV. Well, they didn’t. They did a Cayenne.

Did more than 280,000 of them worldwide, including more than 88,000 for the United States.

Now they’ve done it again. The new 2011 Porsche Cayenne is larger than the first, though it’s hard to tell the difference, and close enough to the original for the initiated to know one from the other. The benefit comes in the interior. Roomier than its predecessor with more rear legroom, it’s the result of a longer wheelbase.

There’s more cargo capacity as well. Despite being bigger overall, Porsche engineers squeezed 400 lbs out of Cayenne, 145 out of the body alone with, we’re told, no sacrifice in strength.

Porsche also introduces a new active all-wheel drive system that can be combined with Porsche’s new Torque Vectoring Plus option designed for additional highway competence without reducing offroad capabilities.

The Porsche lineup for 2011 consists of four models, the entry-level 300-horsepower V-6-powered Porsche Cayenne, the 400-horsepower V-8-engined Cayenne S and the Porsche Cayenne Turbo with, as its name suggests, a 500-horsepower turbocharged V-8 under the hood. Then over to one side is the Porsche Cayenne S Hybrid. The base Cayenne comes standard with a six-speed manual transmission with a new eight-speed automatic optional this year. The other models have the eight-speed as standard equipment, with auto stop/start as standard equipment, and all have improved fuel economy, largely because of the gearbox, but also deceleration fuel cutoff, efficient thermal management of the engine and transmission circuits, and onboard electrical network recuperation as well as the 2011 Cayenne’s lower weight.

Fuel consumption is down about 20 percent, 23 percent and 23 percent respectively.

And then of course there’s the Porsche Cayenne S Hybrid, the first hybrid in Porsche’s lineup (though now joined by the Panamera). It’s powered by a supercharged V-6 and a 47-horse electric motor. A true parallel hybrid, it’s capable of operating in battery-electric mode or on its gasoline engine while simultaneously recharging the onboard batteries, or for maximum acceleration, combining the electric and gas engines.

We drove the 2011 Porsche Cayenne S, essentially a Cayenne Turbo without the twin turbochargers on its V-8 engine (or one could say the Cayenne Turbo is the Cayenne S with the turbos). The 2011 Cayenne S gains 15 horsepower from last year (the Cayenne GTS was dropped) with a new version of the direct-injection 4.8-liter V-8 engine. It’s lighter with greater use of aluminum and magnesium, for example reducing the weight of the valve timing cover, the camshaft adjuster, assorted bolts and the crank by 15 pounds.

A new lightweight camshaft adjuster, part of the VarioCam Plus, is made entirely of aluminum, with a reduction in weight of 3.8 pounds that not only makes the engine lighter but also speeds response of the unit, thanks to reduced rotating mass.

The engine of our test 2011 Porsche Cayenne S gets a new, 5.1-pounds lighter crankshaft and lighter connecting rods, and an oil flow housing made of magnesium reducing engine weight by about 4.4 pounds.

The new eight-speed automatic transmission has an auto stop/start system that allows the engine to stop when the Cayenne is stopped, reducing unnecessary idling. A green light on the dash comes on when the engine and vehicle are stopped, though the tach dropping to zero is more noticeable and at first alarming. The transmission can be left in Drive or Manual and the engine will remain off until the driver releases the brakes, the engine restarting for a quick response to the throttle.

The auto stop/start system will not activate, however, when a door or the rear hatch is open, the driver isn’t wearing his seatbelt or the Cayenne is in Sport mode, towing a trailer, on an incline or in a parking maneuver.

The 2011 Porsche Cayenne normally drives the rear wheels, sending power to the front wheels only when needed via an electronically-controlled, map-based multiple-plate clutch.

A new traction control system combined with the eight-speed transmission eliminates the need for a reduction gearbox, the decrease in the assorted bits reducing weight by 73 pounds. Although our test vehicle didn’t have it, an optional Porsche Torque Vectoring system can alter torque distribution to either rear wheel as well as an electronically-controlled rear axle differential lock to improve cornering beyond its normal Porsche agility.

Standard suspension springing is all steel, but our test Cayenne S had the optional Porsche Active Suspension Management. With three modes—Comfort, Normal and Sport—PASM made the ride smooth but not so precise in Comfort and stiffened the suspension and noticeably increased the stability in corners. It’s like a sports car, only a little higher off the ground.


Our tester did not have Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control, though our experience in a PDCC-equipped Porsche on a tight handling course proved that very rare will be the driver who can be faster with PDCC off than on.

Speaking of fast, there’s a grab handle on both sides the center console. Yes, it’s good the passenger has one but why the driver has something other than the steering wheel to grip? The interior looks like a Porsche’s should, however, with solid-looking aluminum trim on the dash, even if the dashtop looks somehow jet engine inspired.

The tachometer is positioned in the center of five dials on the instrument panel with the speedometer taking second place to the left and a color LCD dial to the right that, when using the navigation system, shows a map display of the next turn. A small dial on the left shows oil temperature and pressure while another dial on the right displays coolant temperature and fuel level.

Additional new features for the 2011 model year include premium audio systems from Bose and Burmester, and new safety systems including dynamic lighting, blind spot monitoring and adaptive cruise control.

It’s only the small step up to get in that makes the Porsche Cayenne look and feel anything other than a sport sedan. The confidence in corners makes everyone else on entrance ramps drive as if they’re going to see the dentist and the casual power of a 400 hp V-8 in our of our 4475 lb Cayenne S makes it easy to pass when the entrance ramp ends.

Turn in is now. There’s no need, as with the typical tippy SUV, to wait for the suspension to take a set..if it ever does. Throw in the smooth throb of the Porsche V-8 and the Cayenne wants to hit a winding road and it almost begs for a road trip

Except that any Cayenne, like our test 2011 Porsche Cayenne S can also go off road. While less than Rubicon Trail ready, we’d like to try the Cayenne on a suitably suitable semi-rough trail to play rally king. Not that we did with our $84,210 test Cayenne. We just said we’d like to.

We think the Porsche Cayenne, hammer down in the dirt would be a blast. No SUV could do it the way a Cayenne could. But then, the Cayenne isn’t an SUV.

2011 Porsche Cayenne S, price and key specifications, as tested

Base price: $63,700

Porsche Traction Management w/ active all-wheel drive, stability control, mutifunction leather-trimed tilt/telescoping steering wheel, 8-way power front seats, AM/FM/CD sound system with 10 speakers, universal audio interface, Bluetooth, Homelink, moonroof, power liftgate, power one-touch mirrors, floormats, cruise control, trip computer, exterior heated and retractable mirrors: std.

Jet black metallic: $790

Leather interior, black: $3,655

20 RS Spyder Design wheels: $3,120

Summer performance tires: $0

Convenience package: $4,520

Exterior package, high-gloss black: $150

XM radio: $750

Extended range fuel tank: $0

PASM: $1,990

Trailer coupler: $650

Wheel hub center w/ color Porsche crest: $185

Heated steering wheel: $250

Ski bag: $405

Heated front seats: $0

Autodimming interior/exterior rearview mirrors: $0

PCM w/ navigation module: $0

Park assist, front rear: $1,095

Bi-Xenon headlamps: $0

Bose surround sound audio: $1,690

Porsche crest front headrests: $285

Exclusive options: $285

Destination: $975

Porsche Cayenne Electric Cars

Body style/layout: 5-door SUV, front engine/all-wheel drive

Type: 4.8-liter 32-valve DOHC V-8

Displacement, cc: 4806

Block/head material: aluminum alloy/aluminum alloy

Horsepower: 400 hp @ 6500 rpm

Torque: 369 lb-ft @ 3500 rpm

Recommended fuel: premium unleaded

Fuel economy, EPA est. 16/22 mpg city/highway

Fuel economy, observed: 16.4 mpg

Transmission: 8 — speed automatic

Chassis/Suspension

Suspension, front/rear: Double wishbone / multi-link

Wheels: 20-inch alloy

Tires: 275/40-20

Brakes: 4-wheel disc; 14.5-inch dia. front/13.0-inch dia. rear

Steering: hydraulic power assist rack-and-pinion

Turning circle: 39.1 ft.

Wheelbase: 114.0 in.

Length: 190.8 in.

Height:67.4 in.

Width: 76.3 in.

Curb weight: 4,553 lbs

Trunk volume: 23.7/62.9 cu. ft.

Fuel tank: 22.4 gal. (std.)

Warranty: 4-year/50,000 mile powertrain; 4-year/50,000 mile bumper-to-bumper; 12-year corrosion

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Porsche Cayenne Electric Cars
Porsche Cayenne Electric Cars
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Porsche Cayenne Electric Cars
Porsche Cayenne Electric Cars
Porsche Cayenne Electric Cars
Porsche Cayenne Electric Cars
Porsche Cayenne Electric Cars
Porsche Cayenne Electric Cars

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