Porsche has introduced new 911 variants to its model lineup since the beginning. Every few years the car get a redefined shape, slightly higher engine output and increased track performance. Since the company believes that the original 911 had the general shape of the sports car correct to begin with, the evolution has been a slow process more akin to refinement vs. redevelopment.
The year 2003 saw the introduction of the companies first SUV, the Cayenne. Critics loved to hate it and the consumer basically just loved it. They flew off dealer lots in record numbers and gave Porsche a big stick in the premium SUV market controlled by Mercedes and BMW . Few may have realized that the Cayenne was close to a rebodied Volkswagen Touareg, but few also cared. For its first complete redesign, Porsche engineers knew they had to push the boundaries with the Cayenne, give it far better performance and help it fit better within the portfolio.
There is no better way to establish whether or not they succeeded than by driving the new 2011 Porsche Cayenne Turbo. Your average Porsche Cayman or Porsche Carrera 4S may be exciting, but Turbo models are the epitome of every line – bringing performance to new heights.
Hit the jump for more details on the 2011 Porsche Cayenne Turbo.
Gallery Porsche Cayenne Turbo
The first obstacle engineers and designers had to tackle was the exterior appearance of the new model. A completely redesigned steel body rests atop a unibody platform. The car is more sculpted than before looking polished and complete where the other model felt unfinished and rushed. Even with the new bodywork, Porsche has managed to cut off 400 pounds of excess weight, helping to increase the performance quotient.
The SUV looks made specifically to have the Turbo trim pieces and larger wheels. Wider rubber in the back and quad exhaust tips let everyone that you pass by know they have no chance of catching up to you. The twin-five-spoke rims look great and show the large vented disks and painted brake calipers behind well. Further enhancements are made to the front end where the large grill typical of Turbo models is flanked by LED daytime running lights.
Bow down to the Panamera and thank Porsche for incorporating many of its design cues from that model into the new Cayenne. I was never a fan of Porsche interior designs until the Panamera, but the old Cayenne was especially utilitarian. The straight center stack with rudimentary navigation and stereo controls coupled with cheap plastics on the dash and doors led to an unsatisfactory experience in a vehicle costing nearly $100,000.
The 2011 models have rectified this by including a more steeply sloped center console that would otherwise exist in a Panamera. Below the shift lever is a set of dials for the suspension and ride height settings and it is flanked by nearly every other control in the car. Centered in between two huge air vents is the large navigation screen and control for the stereo.
A thick steering with optional paddles replaces the less sporty model from the first version that only featured push button shift inputs. When sitting in the heavily bolstered seats it is hard not imagine that you have just strapped in to a futuristic space ship cockpit and are about to rocket off the planet – that sentiment only expands when you hit the accelerator.
Of course, the major improvements to a Cayenne Turbo happen under the hood. A Cayenne S has a 4.8-liter V8 and produces a strong 400hp. Because you’re an enthusiast and don’t want soccer mom’s Cayenne, that simply wont be enough. Porsche has the answer to this problem and has connected twin-turbochargers to that engine to help the Cayenne breath fire. It produces 500hp @6,000rpm and 516 lb-ft of torque. When combined with the new 8-speed transmission a Cayenne Turbo can reach 60mph in 4.4 seconds completely blowing the doors of the Cayenne S. Not only will it get you from 0-over the speed limit in a hurry, but can reach a top speed of 172mph.
Most SUV’s get nervous even being around a track, but this is where the Cayenne Turbo can shine. Even high performance variants from BMW and Mercedes tend to weigh so much that when maneuvering around a road course they exhibit heavy body roll through corners and heated brakes can become an issue on long runs. The Porsche engineers seem to have figured out how to make this SUV act as one of their sports cars. The use of adaptive air suspension in its most aggressive setting allows this big SUV to scoot around a course with little issue at all. Optional ceramic brakes help to reign in the 500 ponies that want to gallop endlessly ahead and remain cool at the same time. Overall the Cayenne Turbo will turn your BMW X5M or ML63 AMG into the laughing stock of fast SUV owners everywhere if you ever challenge it on a track.
Pricing and Availability
With the Cayenne Turbo currently available at your local Porsche dealer it will be no time before the new king of performance SUV’s are whisking 4 lucky passengers around your suburban town. Prices start at $104,800 which is roughly $40,000 more than a Cayenne S. Lets not forget the host of optional features that every Porsche aficionado will want for his Cayenne – that should help to rack up several more thousand on the price tag. Never mind the price, the Cayenne Turbo is something special and until Porsche decides to release an uber model (Turbo S) than this is the king of the hill.
- Build Quality
- Interior Luxury
- Cayenne Turbo S could be better