The initial shock of Porsche building an SUV has waned, and now the impressive Cayenne is in its second generation. The Porsche Cayenne is the embodiment of the Porsche Intelligent Performance philosophy, saving weight and fuel for increased efficiency, better performance and reduced emissions. For 2012, the Cayenne keeps getting better.
Changes for 2012 include more available equipment – like a Power Kit for Cayenne Turbo models – Lane Change Assist, SportDesign features and a 20-inch collapsible spare tire. Turbo models also feature larger front brake rotors when fitted with the Porsche Ceramic Composite Brake (PCCB) system.
Exterior colors have been juggled with White replacing Sand White, and Sand Yellow has been discontinued. There are black wheel bolts, new wheel finishes, black surrounds for the BI-XENON® lighting system, tinted taillamps, new stitching packages for the seats, new Yachting Mahogany interior trim and the cargo area and seatbacks are covered in enhanced carpet. You’ll be able to spot 2012 Cayenne models by the chrome-look model designations and logos that all Cayennes now wear.
There are four Cayenne models to choose between for 2012: The Cayenne with a 300-hp 3.8-liter V6 and AWD; the 400-hp Cayenne S, packing a 4.8-liter V8 and AWD; the full hybrid Cayenne S Hybrid with a 333-hp supercharged 3.0-liter V6 and 47 hp from a pair of electric motors, plus AWD and the 500-hp Cayenne Turbo.
The 2012 Porsche Cayenne (MSRP $48,200) is built upon stellar structural groundwork that is light and rigid, which enhances both safety and performance. The 2012 Cayenne shaves almost 150 pounds from the curb weight of earlier models, and the 3.8-liter V6 features direct injection to deliver its 300 hp and 295 lb/ft of torque with great flexibility and a wide torque curve. The standard transmission is a six-speed manual, virtually unheard of in SUVs, and the optional Tiptronic automatic transmission sports a heady eight speeds and offers drivers the option of manual shifting. Start-Stop technology is standard on automatic-transmission-equipped Cayenne models; it shuts down the engine at stoplights and in other situations when it’s not needed, instantly restarting it when acceleration is called for. HVAC and electrical systems continue to operate with the engine off, and it’s another way Porsche saves fuel and reduces emissions.
All-wheel drive is provided by the Porsche Traction Management (PTM) system, which employs an electronically controlled multi-plate clutch to distribute torque between the front and rear axles. PTM can also lock its center differential to enable confident venturing off-road, and systems like Automatic Brake Differential (ABD) and Anti-Slip Regulation (ASR) work in tandem to slow a spinning wheel and distribute torque to the wheels with the most traction.
The Porsche Cayenne S swaps out the V6 for a naturally aspirated 4.8-liter V8 that generates 400 hp and 369 lb/ft of torque. The sprint to 60 mph drops from the already fleet 7.1 seconds of the V6 model to a Boxster-quick 5.6 seconds. Despite the zoomy performance, highway fuel economy is a surprisingly frugal 22 mpg. Gear-swapping duties fall to a standard eight-speed Tiptronic S automatic. Cayenne S models also sport black-slatted air intakes and standard 18-inch Cayenne S III alloy wheels.
Performance enthusiasts will find themselves right at home in the 2012 Porsche Cayenne Turbo. It can reel in 60 mph in a scorching 4.4 seconds on the way to a top track speed of 172 mph while still returning 22 mpg on the highway. Porsche has a long history with turbocharged street vehicles, and all that expertise is brought to bear to create a 500 hp version of the 4.8-liter V8 through the addition of a pair of deep breathing exhaust-driven turbines that blow through a twin intercooler system. Maximum torque swells to 516 lb/ft, and more of that energy can go into hurtling the Cayenne Turbo at the horizon thanks to the weight reduction efforts Porsche undertook for the second generation of the Cayenne.
Wearing distinctive body enhancements, the Cayenne Turbo is unmistakable on the road. A self-leveling air-suspension system provides precise control over body motions, and 19-inch Cayenne Turbo wheels fill out the fenders. The Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM) electronic damping control system continually reacts to road conditions, delivering the optimal blend of ride and handling. To offset the astounding speed are 15.35-inch front and 14.09-inch rear brake rotors.
The interior of the Cayenne Turbo is luxuriously outfitted with Smooth-Finish Leather, an Alcantara® headliner and Bose® Surround Sound audio system. Navigation, Bluetooth® and Porsche Communication Management (PCM) are all standard equipment, and Adaptive Sport Seats with memory keep a tight grip on driver and passenger. The power hungry can equip the Cayenne Turbo with a Turbo Power Kit that increases engine performance to 540 hp and 553 lb/ft of torque by employing turbochargers with titanium/aluminum turbines.
The 2012 Porsche Cayenne S Hybrid features a different kind of extreme performance than the Cayenne Turbo, but it’s no less impressive. With a supercharged 3.0-liter V6 and a pair of electric motors fed 288 volts from a nickel-metal hydride (NiMH) battery, the Cayenne S Hybrid packs a robust 427 lb/ft wallop of torque to go with its 380 hp total power rating. Speeds up to 40 mph on electric-only power are possible, as is a quick 6.1-second run to 60 mph. Highway fuel economy is 24 mpg and city economy is 20 mpg.
The Cayenne is the Porsche of utility vehicles, able to pull off feats of performance that plenty of cars can’t manage. Driving the Cayenne and enjoying the space, luxury and performance will make it all clear. The Cayenne means you don’t have to sacrifice a thing.