The Porsche Cayenne is proof that the laws of physics are mere suggestions to the Wizards of Weissach. No other Porsche can claim the capabilities that the Cayenne possesses. In addition to being able to mud about off-road, the Cayenne is truly the first family Porsche.
Distinctive and fresh, its curvaceous form is unmistakable, and it's not surprising to find a Cayenne sporting child seats. Try that in your 911. Speaking of the 911, there's a lot of that car's iconic tunneled headlamp and arched-roof form in the styling of Porsche's SUV, despite the vast disparity in the mission of both cars.
Despite the trappings of upper crust living, entry into the Stuttgart fold is attainable. The gateway Cayenne rings up a reasonable MSRP of only $45,500. Standard is a new 3.6-liter, 290-hp V6 stirring a six-speed manual gearbox. Who else but Porsche builds a luxury SUV with a manual transmission? Enthusiasts, this is your family truckster.
Across the engine range, Cayennes use Direct Fuel Injection to extract maximum performance while also achieving superior fuel economy. All Cayennes are equipped with Porsche Traction Management, which automatically marshals power between all four wheels and has a low range for real off-road capability.
Automatic shifting is provided courtesy of Porsche's optional Tiptronic S transmission. With shift programs optimized for economy, sport, even off-road, the Tiptronic is an automatic transmission with the uncanny ability to read the driver's mind. If sporty intent is detected from the driver, Tiptronic automatically switches into its sport mode. Under heavy braking, the gearbox will downshift, using engine braking to help slow the vehicle. Manual control of the Tiptronic is available via steering wheel switches as well.
Despite being an SUV, the Cayenne has proved it can move like a Porsche should. Key to that success is an available Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control, which teams up with an excellent optional air suspension system and Porsche Active Stability Management to bend the laws of physics to its will.
Cayenne sings out from under the hood with an appropriate six-cylinder snarl, and delivers athleticism from beneath, and its interior follows suit with luxurious trappings. Power-operated seats upholstered in leather, Park Assist and optional Bose surround-sound, plus a design that's inviting and richly trimmed will turn the Cayenne into your new favorite room. It's as comfortable as a luxurious home theater, and can quicken your pulse far more effectively than any blockbuster movie, even in Blu-Ray.
In anticipation of family duties, an entertainment system adds LCD screens for the rear seats, and a universal audio interface works like a charm with all sorts of digital media devices. No more squabbling over which beat-up cassette tape to suffer through.
As with any Porsche, it's a way of life, as well as an astoundingly fantastic automobile. There are as many opportunities for options and customization as one can imagine, though the base Cayenne is fantastic as-is. Other automakers create vehicles because they have to, either by watching the competition or in response to market demands. Porsche, on the other hand, creates automobiles like the Cayenne because it wants to show the world just what can happen when you make cars for the sheer joy of it. It's that Porsche magic that makes the Cayenne an inspirational vehicle and, as usual, nothing else even comes close.