Porsche Cayenne brings home the bacon
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Published on Mon, Jun 16, 2014
By: The LACar Editorial Staff
Did you know that 2014 marks the 10-year anniversary for the first model year Cayenne sold in America? Initial production started earlier, but 2004 was the first model year sold in the USA. Purists hated the Cayenne when it came out, but its reason for being was always to make enough money for the company so that it can continue to sell the sports cars. 10 years later, the Cayenne represents almost half of all Porsche sales. Harvey Schwartz reports on the latest version of the car that keeps Porsche sports cars coming—the 2014 Cayenne S.
Story and pictures by Harvey Schwartz
No one has to say anything about the legendary Porsche 911 line of high and ultra-high performance sports cars. Several years ago, against many negative comments from the press and insiders, Porsche entered the hot-selling luxury sport utility segment that BMW and Audi had earlier joined with success. Having previously driven the new SUV offerings from BMW and Audi, I have to say that the new Cayenne S is the sportiest SUV I’ve sampled. The Cayenne is engaging and pleasurable to drive—a successful compromise between performance, luxury and utility.
Porsche offers seven models of the Cayenne: Cayenne with a 300hp V6 engine, six-speed manual and active AWD; Cayenne Diesel with a 245hp Diesel V6, eight-speed Tiptronic S and permanent AWD; Cayenne S with a 400hp V8, eight-speed Tiptronic S and Active AWD; the all-new Cayenne Hybrid with a 380hp engine, eight-speed Tiptronic S, and Active AWD; Cayenne GTS with a 420hp V8, eight-speed Tiptronic S and Active AWD; Cayenne Turbo with a 500hp V8 biturbo engine, eight-speed Tiptronic S, and Active AWD; finally the new Cayenne Turbo S with a 550hp V8 biturbo, eight-speed Tiptronic S and Active AWD. This list gives consumers plenty to choose from. As the largest-selling Porsche by far, the Cayenne is a ‘win-win’ for both Porsche and Porsche enthusiasts all over the globe.
The test Cayenne S slots nicely in the center of the seven models, with plenty of power, bold styling, performance, interior luxury, ergonomics, connectivity and enhanced safety. This one came loaded with a long list of standard equipment and options. It’s the one to purchase, assuming one has $84,980.00 (including destination charges). The base price, by the way, is a more reasonable $66,800.00.
On the outside, the styling shows the face of Porsche, with optional triangular Bi-Xenon headlamp clusters, LED daytime running lamps and orange LED turn-signal lights just below, a creased sloping hood meets in the middle with a wide two black slat grille, a lower diffuser and two round projector-beam foglamps. The silhouette shows flared fenders with black moldings, a steeply raked windshield A-pillar, aero-styled power-remote/heated/self-dimming/power-folding sideview mirrors, a full-perimeter chrome strip around the greenhouse, a black lower bodykit and a protective body-color molding through the door bottoms. From the rear is a uniquely styled top spoiler, big wraparound LED lamp clusters, a wide power liftgate, a short rear bumper, a trailer hitch, two seven-inch wide rectangular exhaust finishers and a lower diffuser. It is Porsche on steroids, with the power and performance to back it up.
For model year 2014, Porsche increases efficiency across the whole model lineup. Multiple technologies work together to significantly reduce fuel consumption: an eight-speed Tiptronic S transmission with auto start/stop functionality and a wide ratio spread; optimized thermal management for the engine and transmission cooling circuits and electrical system recuperation. Reduced curb weights in conjunction with intelligent lightweight high strength, ultra high strength steel and aluminum also make a significant contribution to efficiency; the Cayenne S is 400 pounds lighter than the previous generation Cayenne S, for example. Without compromising substance or safety, lightweight materials are used throughout the vehicle and in all-wheel drive systems. In addition to efficiency and emissions improvements, performance, agility and handling also benefit from the reduced weight. One can really felt the difference in acceleration, agility, handling and stopping power when driving around slow city traffic, entering and passing highway traffic, and stopping from high speeds.
Power to quickly move the new Cayenne S out from a standstill is generated by the proven 4.8 liter, all-aluminum, DOHC V8 with direct fuel injection, dry sump lubrication, electronic engine management, VarioCam Plus intake and valve adjustment. This potent powerplant delivers 400 horsepower at 6,500 rpm and a healthy 369 pound-feet of torque at just 3,500 rpm. It rockets the Cayenne S to 60 mph from a standstill in a very respectable 5.6 seconds. Torque is transferred through the new eight-speed Tiptronic S that comes standard in all new Cayennes except the standard model. This transmission is a dream, combining high efficiency, very rapid gear changes, and superior smoothness and more refinement. The top two gears are both overdrives, made possible by the wide ratio spread and reducing fuel consumption significantly during steady-state cruising.
For optimal acceleration, the eight-speed Tiptronic S always launches from a standstill in first gear. Most models reach top speed in sixth gear except the Cayenne S Diesel, which attains top speed in eighth. Drivers can select between ‘Comfort’, ‘Normal’ and ‘Sport’ modes. When cruising, just a little push on the throttle from the right foot drops the transmission into sixth gear for instant acceleration. The aluminum clad paddle shifters on each side of the steering wheel is fun and easy to use for even more spirited driving times.
The Cayenne S comes standard with the Porsche Traction Management(PTM) active all-wheel drive with an electronically-regulated, map-controlled multi-plate clutch. The system’s variable torque distribution improves the driving dynamics, agility and rapid traction management. On-road grip is awesome and off-road, the traction is supreme. I am able to adjust off-road characteristics using a rocker switch located on the center console. In off-road mode 1, all relevant systems are tuned for optimum traction. Off-road 2 closes the center coupling to 100 percent for improved traction on difficult terrain. Off-road mode 3, activated by another press of the rocker switch, locks the rear differential for even greater traction. In all cases, hill control assistant is activated by means of a separate switch. I had a ball of fun when traveling over loose sand and gravel near water. The Cayenne S never lost traction whether I was driving up or down a hill or on level ground.
Handling and agility are at the forefront of the new Cayenne S, with its fully independent all-aluminum front and rear suspension systems. Air springs help keep the Cayenne S level, no matter how its loaded with people or cargo. The test vehicle’s Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM) option varies the amount of damping power from the gas-charged mono-tube shocks absorbers at each wheel. At high speeds, the system is automatically set to Sport mode for optimum handling and agility. Pinpoint accuracy and super-quick reaction to steering wheel inputs made the drive even more fun and exciting.
Oh yes, the new Porsche Cayenne S stops like a Porsche should. Up front are 14.17 inches internally vented rotors clamped with six-piston fixed calipers, and 12.99 inch internally vented rotors clamped with four-piston fixed calipers. My control of direction during severe braking was handled nicely by the standard ABS and PSM (Porsche Stability Management) that work together to keep the driver from skidding during hard cornering or losing traction on-road or off-road. The brake pedal always felt linear when pushing, and the meaty 20X9.5 inch tires also helped with sharp braking power.
All four doors open wide to reveal a sumptuous cabin. As I step inside, I am amazed with all of the beautiful luxury materials, attention to detail and craftsmanship. Both the driver’s-side and passenger-side bucket seats have three-person memory. Each bucket seat is super comfortable and cut deep to keep everyone in place during hard cornering. From the driver’s vantage point, I look at the Porsche signature five analog/digital gauge cluster and the awesome center console bursting with buttons, switches and toggles, all with chrome accents. Chrome and aluminum trim is found throughout the interior giving the Cayenne S a very luxurious look. I feel like I’m at the controls of my own private jet airplane. All controls are fully illuminated for safe nighttime use. The leather-wrapped stick shifter sits in an aluminum gate and is perfectly placed for easy use. The front door pulls are matched on the sides of the center console to grab during hard cornering. The sporty look is further accented with the aluminum/rubber faced foot pedals. The center of the dashboard top shows a round Porsche clock that remains at 12:00 until the front door is unlocked when it then reverts to the current time. Triple-sealed glass keeps the interior very quiet and peaceful until I turned on the monster Bose Surround Sound System.
What more can I say about the new 2014 Porsche Cayenne S? It has it all for active enthusiast singles, couples and families looking for the best there is in the high-performance luxury SUV class. It is engaging and enjoyable to drive and is the sportiest SUV that I have tested so far—a unique combination of performance, luxury, and utility.
© Review and pictures by Harvey Schwartz
For more information about Porsche products, go to porsche.com/usa
SPECIFICATIONS Name of vehicle: 2014 Porsche Cayenne S Price: $66,800.00 (base) $84,980.00 (as tested, including $975.00 destination charges) EPA fuel economy ratings: 16 mpg city/22 mpg highway Engine type: 4.8 liter V8 Horsepower: 400 @ 6500 rpm Torque: 369 pound-feet @ 3500 rpm Drive configuration: Porsche Traction Management all-wheel drive Transmission: 8-speed Tiptronic S automatic with sequential manual mode and paddle shifters Dimensions Overall length: 190.8 inches Overall width: 76.3 inches Overall height: 67.4 inches Curb weight (lbs.): 4,553 pounds Performance Top track speed: 160.4 mph