It is always a real treat to receive a Porsche vehicle as my weekly test drive machine. It has been a while, the last one being when I lived in Boston and drove the then brand new Porsche Boxster S. However, this week’s test vehicle is the 2015 Porsche Cayenne S, looking fast and sexy just parked in my driveway.
When Porsche first lunched the Cayenne, many Porsche enthusiasts were shocked that a brand known for sports cars would even consider building an SUV. Porsche pulled the trigger on the launch of Cayenne and it became a huge hit. Research had indicated that most Porsche owners already owned an SUV, so why not make the next one a Porsche. The move also brought many first time buyers into the brand.
At the time of launch of Cayenne, the future of the brand was in question. The controversial move of adding a SUV to its lineup not only saved the brand but also allowed for the development of more sports cars in the company’s lineup. The first generation Cayenne was a huge hit. Now in its second generation, this is my first time behind the wheel since a week long visit with a twin Turbo V8 years ago.
The second generation Cayenne rolled out for the 2010 model year and offers now a couple diverse lineups from family hauler and gut-punching performer. Available in a number of trims ranging from quick to super quick, the Cayenne can tow up to 7,716 pounds and still leave most sports cars in its dust. The Land Rover Range Sport is better off road, while the BMW X5 and Mercedes M class offers comparable features at a lower price, but none of these competitors has an equal to the new S E-Hybrid, the world’s first plug-in luxury hybrid SUV. The Cayenne SUV lineup for 2015 is offered in five trims including Diesel, S, S E-Hybrid, Turbo and Turbo S. All trims get revised suspension tuning, a bump in horsepower and better fuel economy. New options include a 360-degree Surround View camera and heated and cooling rear seats.
My test model in S configuration comes standard with a 3.6-liter twin-turbocharged V6 pumping out 420 horsepower and 406 lb-ft of torque. Perfectly matched to Tiptronic 8 speed automatic transmission, it delivers 17 city MPG and 24 mpg on the highway. The turbo is smooth as silk with no turbo lag and it moves this Porsche SUV down the road with great authority.
I like the second generation of the Cayenne much better than generation one. This SUV is second to none in the areas of acceleration, handling and that tactile interface between driver and machine so perfected by the masters at Porsche.
The exterior styling offers a performance-oriented look with a large amount of muscular curves and a forward-leaning rear window which help convey the Cayenne’s purpose of speed. Big brake calipers peeking through the Optional 20 inch RS Spyder wheel spokes also announce this Porsche’s sporting ambitions.
Inside the Cayenne S, it is simply beautiful. The choice of materials is wonderful and the design execution is fantastic. Sumptuous, finely stitched leather and overlays of wood and metal are everywhere you look around. The overall design strongly recalls the Porsche Panamera sedan. I love the facts the Cayenne’s cockpit is filled with buttons, knobs and switches, and while that might sound complex, most of us still find operating conventional controls far less distracting than sifting through multiple on-screen menus. It gives you the feeling of being a captain in airliner cockpit. The Bose Surround sound audio system is also a real treat.
On the road this Porsche SUV shines with crisp handling, great brakes and outstanding engine performance. There is no question The Cayenne lives up to its Porsche badge on its lift gate delivering the legendary performance expected of every Porsche.
My Cayenne S model had a base sticker of $74, 100 equipped with a few options it rises quickly to a Total price of $85, 475. For those lucky buyers who want a non comprise Sports Car meets SUV the 2015 Cayenne lineup is simply fantastic.