The all-wheel-drive Porsche Cayenne was redesigned last year. Along with new exterior and interior styling, the Cayenne came with a sliding backseat, increased power and better mileage in all versions. A Cayenne S Hybrid 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 five-seat Cayenne competes with the Infiniti FX, BMW X5 and Land Rover Range Rover Sport.
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New for 2012
A newly optional Turbo power kit for the Cayenne Turbo boosts output to 540 horsepower and 553 pounds-feet of torque. The kit includes new turbochargers with titanium/aluminum turbines as well as ducts for additional brake cooling. The Cayenne Turbo also gets larger 16.53-inch ceramic-composite front brake discs.
Last year'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 both lighter and longer compared with the prior generation. Exterior features include:
- Available skid plates and underbody protection for off-roading
- Available panoramic glass roof or tilt/sliding moonroof
- LED taillamps
- Standard rear spoiler
- Standard 18-inch wheels; 19-, 20- or 21-inch wheels available
With the Cayenne's redesign, the interior was as extensively upgraded as the exterior. Rich materials, including convincing faux metals, replace surfaces that had been substandard since the model's debut. The crossover combines the previous version's signature center-mounted grab handles with a high center console that rises upward to meet the dashboard.
Backseat roominess was 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 previous generation (23.7 cubic feet, up from 19.1). The 60/40-split backrests also recline, in three increments. Interior features include:
- Touch-screen dash display
- Optional Bose or Burmester sound systems
- Optional six-CD changer
- Optional blind spot warning system
- Optional adaptive cruise control
Under the Hood
A 300-hp, 3.6-liter V-6 engine powers the base Cayenne. The midlevel S version has a 400-hp, 4.8-liter V-8. The turbocharged version of this engine produces 500 hp, and a new Turbo power kit bumps output to 540 hp. Mechanical features include:
- Base Cayenne comes with six-speed manual or eight-speed automatic transmission
- V-8 models are only available with an automatic transmission
- Automatic-transmission models feature fuel-saving auto stop/start technology
- Left-right torque vectoring and a locking differential are optional on the rear axle
- Optional adaptive suspension
- Optional active suspension
The Cayenne's front occupants get frontal, driver's knee and seat-mounted side-impact airbags. There are also side curtain airbags for both rows of seats. Additional safety features include:
Cayenne S Hybrid
The Cayenne S Hybrid 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 V-6 with two electric motors and a 288-volt battery pack for a combined 380 hp and 427 pounds-feet of torque.
Unlike some hybrids, the Cayenne S Hybrid uses a step-gear automatic transmission, a version of the eight-speed automatic in the other Cayennes. The hybrid can accelerate up to 40 mph in electric mode, which compares to other hybrids, but it also utilizes a "sailing" mode that shuts the engine off, allowing coasting at speeds as high as 97 mph. The Cayenne S Hybrid also features auto stop/start technology that's found in other Cayennes. Porsche claims the Cayenne S Hybrid will go from zero to 60 mph in 6.1 seconds and achieve a top speed of 150 mph. Back to top
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