Porsche Cayenne 2011

TechArt Porsche Cayenne 011 Porsche Cayenne 2011

Seen by high-end luxury shoppers as either a practical way into ownership of a prestigious sports-car brand or by longtime Porschephiles as a bit sacrilegious and a necessary evil for keeping the brand aloft financially, the Porsche Cayenne has turned into Porsche’s best-selling model and is definitely here to stay. But for 2011, Porsche has redesigned the Cayenne to improve its performance on the road and track while maintaining its level of off-road capability.

The 2011 Porsche Cayenne has become a little more svelte in appearance and officially gets all-new sheetmetal, but unless you take a look at a 2010 and 2011 model side by side, the changes are rather subtle. More curvaceous door panels and curvier-looking rear flanks hint more strongly of the sports cars in the Porsche family. The new version also has a new air dam design, different detailing in front and in back, and a few more curves, with a lower stance being the most noticeable effect. Inside, the Cayenne picks up the instrument panel and center-console look of the plush Panamera fastback sedan, with a sweeping, more coupe-like feel and matte-metallic brightwork.

With an extensive lineup of engines and trim levels, the Cayenne can be equipped to suit affluent suburbanites, up-and-coming families who want the Porsche badge on a bit of a budget, or enthusiasts who want track time on the weekend. Prices range from under $50,000 for the base Cayenne V-6 up to the $150,000 mark or higher for the Cayenne Turbo S.

The base Cayenne is powered by a 300-hp, 3.6-liter narrow-angle V-6 engine, while the Cayenne S comes with a 400-hp, 4.8-liter V-8 and the Cayenne Turbo gets a 500-hp, 4.8-liter twin-turbocharged V-8. A new Hybrid model also joins the mix for 2011, pairing a 333-hp, 3.0-liter supercharged V-6—through a clutch pack—with a 47-hp (34 kW) electric motor system. In each case, power is delivered through an eight-speed automatic transmission. Altogether, the Hybrid will top 20 mpg, yet achieve 0-60 in 6.1 seconds and a maximum 150 mph. While performance for the V-8 models is especially impressive, V-6 models still take more than 7 seconds to 60 mph. But thanks to a weight-loss regimen across the entire line, the Cayenne feels significantly nimbler than before.

All three models have all-wheel drive, and due to a full roster of electronics, including a sophisticated air suspension and stability control system, the Cayenne manages to pull off both roles quite deftly.

As with Porsche’s other models, you can easily blow 20 grand or more on options, including a panoramic roof, heated windshield, high-end Burmester surround-sound system, or wheel, brake, or trim upgrades. Safety and connectivity/tech content is also strong, with a Lane Change Assistant, bi-xenon adaptive cornering lights, and Adaptive Cruise Control all on offer.
Styling
8 out of 10 It’s hardly an all-new look on the outsid
The biggest knocks on the original Cayenne were, first and foremost, that it was an SUV, which many critics and Porsche aficionados claimed the renowned sports-car maker should have never built, and second, it was deficient in Porsche DNA. No question, the first-gen, of which Porsche has sold around 90,000 in the U.S. since it debuted in 2003, was — and still is — a capable SUV, whether on road or off. From the base V-6 all the way up to the twin-turbo V-8, the 2003-10 Cayenne stood near or at the top of its class in capability and, more notable, dynamics. Still, auto analysts, including us, as well as the Porsche faithful carped that Stuttgart’s SUV lacked, well, Porscheness — even though the Cayenne was a tall, heavy sport/ute, it should nonetheless come across more like a 911 or even the new Panamera, be it in feel or perception

After driving three of the four U.S.-bound 2011 Cayenne models in and around the lovely confines of Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Alabama — including the highly entertaining and technical 2.4-mile road course — we’re pleased to report that Porsche’s second-generation sport/utility indeed possesses genuine Porscheness. Sure it’s still the tallest and heaviest vehicle in the lineup — depending on the model, height is down from 0.3 to 0.5 inch and weight is down around 400 pounds — but the sensations from behind the wheel, for the most part, now belie its SUV classification. The Cayennes feel – and are – quicker, more agile, and more thrilling to drive. Further, they’re more exciting to look at, thanks to remolded sheet metal draped over a 1.6-inch longer wheelbase. The hood now features a power dome similar to that on a Panamera and the rear shoulders are more pronounced, imparting a muscular, fast-forward stance. Don’t let the smooth, sporty lines fool you, though — the Cayenne remains a workhorse. Towing capacity maxes out at 5952 pounds for the V-6 and 7716 pounds for all other models.

The aforementioned weight drop comes from extensive use of aluminum in the doors, hood, and chassis as well as a new electronically controlled multi-plate-clutch all-wheel-drive system that, in conjunction with Porsche Traction Management (PTM) and a new Aisin eight-speed automatic, does without a reduction gearbox, saving 73 pounds. Moreover, the engines are lighter, as are the radiator, exhaust, parking brake (now electronic), electrical system, and wheels and tires. Even better, the Cayenne’s more feathery structure is 15-percent stiffer than before. This newfound weight loss contributes in part to a maximum 23-percent increase in European fuel-economy tests, according to Porsche. Other petrol-saving factors include enhanced engine and thermal management, and Automatic Start Stop (shuts off the engine when the vehicle is stopped) with the eight-speed, a technology that debuted in the Panamera.

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