The 2011 Porsche Cayenne is the first full redesign since the model's 2003 debut. Along with new exterior and interior styling, the Cayenne comes with a sliding backseat, increased power and better mileage in all versions. An all-new model called the Cayenne Hybrid S is claimed to deliver the acceleration of a V-8 with the mileage of a V-6. Gas-only models include the base Cayenne, Cayenne S and Cayenne Turbo. The Cayenne competes with the Infiniti FX35/45, BMW X5 and Land Rover Range Rover Sport.
(Skip to details on the Porsche Cayenne Hybrid S)
The Cayenne's restyling has produced a streamlined crossover that looks more like Porsche's cars, especially in the headlight design. Even the Turbo, which has the boldest front end with the largest air intakes, looks less exaggerated than the previous generation.
The Cayenne is 1.9 inches longer overall despite an apparent shrinking in size, and its wheelbase is 1.6 inches longer. Increased use of aluminum has made the body 145 pounds lighter, which contributes to higher mileage.
The interior is as extensively upgraded as the exterior. Rich materials, including convincing faux metals, replace surfaces that had been substandard since the model's debut. The 2011 combines the previous version's signature center-mounted grab handles with a high center console that rises upward to meet the dashboard.
Backseat roominess is increased, thanks in part to seats that slide forward and back 6.3 inches, allowing passengers to choose copious legroom with less cargo volume behind the backseat or less legroom with more cargo volume than was available in the 2010 model (23.7 cubic feet, up from 19.1). The 60/40-split backrests also recline now, in three increments.
Under the Hood
As in the 2010, a 3.6-liter V-6 engine powers the base Cayenne, now with 300 horsepower, up from 290 hp. The S version has a 4.8-liter V-8 and 400 hp, up from 385 hp. The turbocharged version of this engine produces 500 hp, unchanged from 2010, though Porsche says all trim levels are roughly 20 percent more efficient based on the European mileage test cycle. (U.S. figures aren't available as of this writing.) An eight-speed automatic transmission, replacing the prior generation's six-speed, plays a part, as does an Automatic Start/Stop function, which turns the engine off at a stop and restarts it when it's time to take off again. The base Cayenne is the only model offered with a manual transmission, a six-speed, where it is standard equipment.
Porsche has revised the standard all-wheel-drive system, adding a multiplate clutch and eliminating the previous generation's heavy reduction gearing. While the Cayenne is more on-road oriented than before, Porsche says it's still capable of off-roading. Left-right torque vectoring and a locking differential are an option on the rear axle. Also optional is an adaptive suspension that has Comfort, Normal and Sport modes. The Turbo uses air springs, which are optional on the other versions.
The Cayenne's front occupants get frontal, knee and seat-mounted side-impact airbags. There are also side curtain airbags for the front and rear seats, antilock disc brakes and an electronic stability system with traction control. A new blind spot warning system option indicates when another vehicle is in the Cayenne's blind spot on either side.
Cayenne Hybrid S
The Cayenne Hybrid S combines acceleration comparable to that of the V-8-powered Cayenne S with the efficiency of a V-6, according to Porsche. It teams a 333-hp, supercharged 3.0 liter with a 47-hp electric motor and a 288-volt battery pack. Unlike some hybrids, this one uses a step-gear automatic transmission, a version of the eight-speed in the other Cayennes. The Hybrid can accelerate to 37 mph in electric mode, which compares to other hybrids, but it can also shut the engine off and coast at highway speeds as high as 97 mph. Mileage figures aren't available as of this writing, but Porsche says the 2011 Hybrid is roughly 40 percent more efficient than the 2010 Cayenne S. Back to top