Since its debut in 2003, the Porsche Cayenne has been Porsche’s best selling model. While the company has received scorn for abandoning its sports car emphasis for an SUV, the Cayenne has been a success. The Cayenne actually sells more than all other Porsche models combined. The profits that Porsche has made from the Cayenne, has allowed the company to remain largely independent amidst a turbulent automotive industry in recent years.
The 2011 Porsche Cayenne is all-new. While visually the changes from the 2010 model are subtle, there are significant improvements in the new Cayenne. Exterior styling is more curvy and it rear fender is reminiscent of Porsche’s sports cars. Its interior has improved look and functionality. It has new instrument panel and center console, which borrows from Porsche’s new Panamera four-door luxury hatchback. The Cayenne also has sculpted vents, and a new touch-screen.
The 2011 Cayenne has a larger interior. While it is still a five passenger SUV, the wheelbase is longer allowing for a couple more inches of legroom. Further, the backseat now slides six inches forward and back to better accommodate rear seat passengers. With rear seats down (they do not fold completely flat), the Cayenne has 60.2 cubic feet or cargo room. With rear seats up, cargo volume is 23.7 cubic feet, up more than four and a half inches from the 2010 model.
The 2011 Cayenne is more efficient. By using lighter materials including lighter tires and wheels, a lighter instrument panel, and more aluminum, Porsche has shaved more than four pounds off its weight. Porsche has also made significant changes in the Cayenne’s four-wheel drive system. The Cayenne no longer has a low range transfer case, which reduced weight by 150 pounds. This change has been made without reducing Cayenne’s off-road ability.
The Cayenne has a variety of engine offerings. The base model has a 3.6-liter, 300 horsepower, V-6 engine. For performance enthusiasts, the Cayenne S model comes with a 4.8 liter, 400 horsepower, V-8 engine and the Cayenne Turbo has a turbocharged 4.8 liter, 500 horsepower, V-8 engine. The Cayenne turbo goes from 0 to 60 in about 4.5 seconds. Even the base V-6, goes from 0 to 60 in just over seven seconds.
For those who want a more efficient option, Porsche offers a 3.6-liter hybrid engine in the Cayenne. It saves fuel by shutting down when stopped and when driving downhill, the engine will shut down and run off battery power until the gas engine is needed. All models have an eight-speed automatic transmission. Prices for the base Cayenne V-6 will start at around $50,000 and the Cayenne Turbo sells in excess of $100,000.
The 2011 Porsche Cayenne is manufactured in Leipsig, Germany. It is lighter and more efficient for 2011. The Cayenne retains its excellent handling for an SUV. It shares many of its components with the Volkswagen Touraeg, which is also a new SUV model worth considering in the mid-size class.