Slightly larger but substantially lighter and delivering markedly greater fuel efficiency, the all-new 2011 Porsche Cayenne lineup made its debut in Geneva before heading on to its first U.S. appearance in New York Auto Show. Beyond its more athletic appearance, the Gen II version of this all-wheel-drive SUV promises to raise its enthusiast appeal with even more impressive overall dynamic capabilities.
Visually, the 2011 Porsche Cayenne brings its contemporary Porsche heritage into even sharper focus. The front end mixes subtle character cues from the 911 and Panamera with uniquely Cayenne elements while its boldly sculpted side panels flow back into a more steeply raked back glass/liftgate. Under that skin, the 2011 Cayenne benefits from engineering changes and an even greater use of aluminum-intensive components that help trim up to 400 pounds off of its curb weight -- including pulling 139 pounds out of the all-wheel-drive system.
Inside, the Cayenne's well-crafted and richly appointed five-passenger cabin also displays clear Panamera influence, particularly in the redone dash and center console treatments. Rear-seat riders also benefit from the remake that adds 1.9 inches in total length, including a 1.6-inch wheelbase stretch. The new split-bench now provides 6.3 inches of fore/aft travel and offers multi-position seatback adjustability.
As before, the 2011 Porsche Cayenne will be offer a wide range of engine choices. Save for the Euro-only diesel, all will be available in America. The base Cayenne motivator is a 3.6-liter V6 that now makes 300 horsepower, up from 290; while the 4.8-liter V8 in the Cayenne S enjoys a 15 pony bump that takes it to an even 400. The 4.8-liter twin-turbocharged V8 in the Cayenne Turbo carries over with 500 horsepower. The good news is that all three are now matched with a new eight-speed Tiptronic automatic transmission that helps boost fuel economy by over 20 percent on the Euro cycle, gains you can expect to see be largely realized by U.S.-spec Cayennes, as well. Introduced on the Panamera, this wide-ratio ZF autoshifter also incorporates the Automatic Start Stop function.
For those with even greener aspirations, the new Cayenne S Hybrid pairs its 3.0-liter/333-horsepower supercharged V6 with a 47-horse electric motor. Capable of producing 427 lb-ft of torque at a mere 1,000 rpm, the matchup provides near Cayenne S performance with even better economy. Connected by an electronically controlled decoupling clutch, Porsche says the system lets the Cayenne S Hybrid travel short distances on pure electric power at speeds up to 37 mph and also allows the engine to be disengaged from the drivetrain -- something its engineers refer to as "sailing" mode -- when the Cayenne S Hybrid is traveling at speeds up to 97 mph.
Pricing for 2011 Porsche Cayenne line will start at $64,675 for the Cayenne S, with the new Cayenne S Hybrid opening at $68,675 and the top-line Cayenne Turbo commanding $105,775. The Cayenne S and Turbo are due to arrive at dealers starting in July while the base Cayenne and the new S Hybrid will hit the showrooms in the fall.