By Aaron Bragman on July 24, 2014
Competes with: Land Rover Range Rover, Audi Q7, Mercedes-Benz GL-Class
Looks like: The current Cayenne with slightly different headlights
Drivetrain: 240-hp, turbocharged 3.0-liter V-6 diesel; 416-hp, supercharged 3.0-liter V-6 plug-in hybrid; 420-hp, twin-turbo 3.6-liter V-6; 520-hp, twin-turbo 4.8-liter V-8; eight-speed automatic transmission; all-wheel drive
Hits dealerships: Nov. 1
Pricing: $62,695-$114,595 including destination
A redesign of Porsche's most popular model has just been unveiled, updating what has been a surprisingly successful experiment for the German sports car company. The new 2015 Cayenne SUV will hit dealerships on Nov. 1 with a new face, new tail, lightly updated interior and two new powertrains that should serve to separate the truck from the new entry-level Macan SUV.
Not much has changed on the outside: The Cayenne now sports a slightly revised face featuring the four-element LED running lights that we've seen on other models like the Panamera sedan. The hood and front fenders are new, as are the addition of fins located on the vehicle's front end that are actually functional - they're used to guide airflow to the various engine intercoolers. Out back, new 3-D taillights echo the four-element daytime running lights, and exhaust outlets are now integrated into the lower bumper. The changes are minimal at best, and do not appreciably change the look of the Cayenne.
Not much was touched inside. A new multifunction sport steering wheel with paddle shifters that is based on the one in the new 918 Spyder supercar has been added. Mild revisions to the rear seating system for improved comfort and the addition of a ventilated rear-seat option complete the list of interior changes for 2015.
More has changed under the hood, however, starting with the entry model for the new Cayenne, the Diesel. It features a turbocharged 3.0-liter V-6 diesel that makes just 240 horsepower but a healthy 406 pounds-feet of torque, enabling the big SUV to go from zero-to-60 mph in 7.2 seconds. That's not terribly exciting for a Porsche; presumably fuel economy is the name of the game with the Diesel, however.
Stepping up from the Diesel model is the Cayenne S, powered by an all-new twin-turbocharged 3.6-liter V-6 making a healthy 420 hp, a gain of 20 hp from the previous model. The standard eight-speed Tiptronic S automatic transmission and all-wheel drive will scoot the Cayenne S from zero-to-60 mph in just 5.2 seconds, or 5.1 with the optional Sport Chrono Package, nearly half a second faster than the outgoing model.
Moving up from the S shoppers will be faced with a hybrid Cayenne. The new Cayenne S E-Hybrid, which builds off of last year's Hybrid with the addition of a plug-in charger, is the first PHEV in the premium SUV segment. The new E-Hybrid has a 10.8-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery and an electric motor that's twice as powerful as the outgoing Hybrid, meaning it can operate in all-electric mode up to speeds of 78 mph. It also uses a supercharged 3.0-liter V-6 engine making 333 hp; when combined with the electric motor's 95 hp it carries a system rating of 416 hp. The E-Hybrid is almost as quick as the Cayenne S, with a zero-to-60 mph time of 5.4 seconds and a top speed of 151 mph. The battery can be recharged using a plug-in charger or while driving, from the engine itself. There was no mention of the anticipated range of the E-Hybrid in all-electric mode, however.
Topping the lineup is the Turbo, featuring a twin-turbocharged 4.8-liter V-8 engine that cranks out 520 hp and 553 pounds-feet of torque. This makes the Cayenne Turbo into a family rocket ship, blasting from zero-to-60 mph in just 4.2 seconds (4.1 with the Sport Chrono Package).
The base Diesel model starts at $62,695 (all prices include destination), moving up to $75,095 for the Cayenne S and $77,395 for the S E-Hybrid. Likely to be a rare choice, the Turbo makes a whopping $37,200 price jump to get from PHEV to twin-turbo V-8: Its starts at $114,595.
Detroit Bureau Chief Aaron Bragman grew up in the Detroit area, comes from an automotive family and is based in Ann Arbor, Mich. Email Aaron