By KBB.com Editors
When in 1998 Porsche announced it was going to build an SUV, the proclamation was greeted with scoffs and pure horror. How could Porsche turn its back on its heritage by introducing a lumbering sport utility vehicle, many asked. But days after the vehicle, called Cayenne, came to market in 2002, it was clearly a success. It didn't so much change Porsche's basic character as extend it, because the Cayenne quickly became renowned as the sports car of the SUV set – a vehicle with off-road credentials that was also a fulfilling to drive. Never one to rest on its laurels, Porsche adds an even more dynamic element to the Cayenne line in the form of a new Turbo S model.
If you like the command-position of a taller vehicle and off-highway capability combined with an uncommon level of performance and handling, we think you'll like the Porsche Cayenne.
If you seek an SUV for the ability to tote and tow giant loads while feeling like a rec room on wheels, you may not find all you seek in the Cayenne.
A new flagship, the 550-horseopower Cayenne Turbo S, joins the line up bringing to five the number of models wearing the Cayenne badge. Other changes include a revised Porsche Communications Management System (PCM) using a touchscreen instead of a keypad to access information. Porsche Ceramic Composite Brake (PCCB) technology is offered for the first time, while the GTS trim's sport seats and red or gold paint is now available on all Cayenne models.
Driving Impressions While we expected the 2009 Porsche Cayenne to excel in spirited on-road driving, it was the extensive off-road driving we did in the Cayenne that was a revelation to us....Thanks largely to its very sophisticated systems like the optional air suspension system, traction management and Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control, the Cayenne is a superior off-highway performer, making quick work of imposing grades. As you'd guess, the 550-horsepower Cayenne Turbo S is an exciting performer, but buyers with smaller checking accounts (or perhaps simply more conservative with their auto expenditures) will find satisfaction in the V6-powered Cayenne and the V8-powered Cayenne S. In back-to-back comparison, the optional active Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control offers advantages in counteracting body roll but at a stiff price versus the already exemplary Cayenne suspension. For a vehicle with such a wide variety of capabilities, ride quality is excellent and attention to detail borders on sublime.
The Sport Button
There is something appealingly cartoon-like about a button on the dash that, when pushed, offers, as Porsche describes it, "extra dynamism." Who doesn't want that?
Real Off-Road Capabilities
It would have been simple for Porsche to go light on the all-terrain capabilities of its SUV, since it is likely many of its drivers will never venture off asphalt, so it is more than reassuring to know that Porsche engineers took their rough-country mandate seriously and created a vehicle that can slog through slime.
While the 2009 Cayenne is the most commodious of all Porsche models, its interior retains the same sophisticated luxury feel offered by sports cars like the 911. In proper Porsche fashion, the ignition lock is placed to the left of the steering column, while the instrument faces have the no-nonsense look of a sports model. The switches that adjust the suspension are integrated into a busy center console. The "offroad switch" is a toggle that allows quick adjustment of various chassis and suspension settings, and it is accompanied by the Sports button, which alters the responsiveness of the engine and the suspension. Both rows of seats are finished in leather, and leather also decorates the steering wheel rim, door handles, grab handles and other areas where many luxury models use simulated coverings. With rear seats up, the Cayenne accommodates a substantial 19 cubic feet of cargo, but unlike several other European luxury SUVs there is no third-row option.Exterior
Fresh from a thorough makeover last year, the 2009 Cayenne carries over with only minor cosmetic changes. Although it bears a strong resemblance to the original Cayenne, the subtle changes make both esthetic and functional sense. For instance, the headlights are now moved to the outside of the front fascia and covered with clear glass, improving looks and offering an aerodynamic benefit. The coefficient of drag is also lower than the first-generation SUV, a nod to improved fuel economy and better high-speed handling. Even the standard 17-inch wheels have presence, but the available 20- and 21-inch wheels really show off the huge brakes and calipers that are fitted on the car, a utilitarian style statement.
Befitting a Porsche SUV, the 2009 Cayenne is fitted with a highly sophisticated four-wheel-drive system called Porsche Traction Management (PTM). Using a multiplicity of sensors and inputs, PTM determines the optimum front-to-rear power split with the ability to provide up to 100 percent of engine torque to the front or rear wheels. Also standard is Porsche Stability Management (PSM), which guards against rollover and increases the effectiveness of the brakes on loose and slippery surfaces. Safety gear includes airbags for driver and front passenger, two thorax side airbags and two side curtain airbags. A full complement of convenience items like power seats, power door locks power-operated rear lift gate and 12-speaker audio system are also standard.
The most notable of the Cayenne's options is the Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control (PDCC) system, which uses computer-controlled hydraulics to counteract body roll in cornering and transient maneuvers. The system uses active, motor-driven anti-roll bars instead of passive anti-roll bars to aid the Cayenne in achieving flatter attitudes for a feeling of security. PDCC is only available on Cayennes affixed with the Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM) air suspension. Standard on the Cayenne Turbo S, Turbo and GTS and optional on Cayenne and Cayenne S, the system offers integrated self-leveling and ride-height adjustment depending upon conditions and driver desires. Somewhat more mundane but still useful options are a trailer hitch and a cargo-area management system.
The engines in the various Cayenne trim levels represent an embarrassment of riches. All three – 3.6-liter V6, 4.8-liter V8 and 4.8-liter twin-turbo V8 – offer more overall horsepower and torque output and better fuel economy than the first generation Cayenne engine lineup. One key reason is the use of direct gasoline injection technology, which results in up to 15 percent lower fuel consumption plus up to 12 percent better vehicle acceleration. Variable valve timing and a two-stage input in the naturally aspirated V8 are other contributors.
290 horsepower @ 6200 rpm
273 lb.-ft. of torque @ 3000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 14/20
385 horsepower @ 6200 rpm
369 lb.-ft. of torque @ 3500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 13/19
4.8-liter V8 (GTS)
405 horsepower @ 6500 rpm
369 lb.-ft. of torque @3500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 11/17 (manual), 13/18 (automatic)
4.8-liter Twin-turbo V8
500 horsepower @ 6000 rpm
516 lb.-ft. of torque @ 2250 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 12/19
4.8-liter Twin-turbo V8 (Turbo S)
550 horsepower @ 6000 rpm
553 lb.-ft. of torque @ 2250
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 12/19
By Driven996 on Thursday, October 23, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 73,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Porsche - all I can say"
Cons: "make sure you can afford new tires and brakes 20K"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"Love it, have had P cars since 2001 - this is my 3rd cayenne, I had a 04 CS, a 06 CTT and later a 09 CS. Loved each one, only got better with time, 2009 has a fantastic Nav, bluetooth and phone system in it. 2008 + have better MPG, better looks, better acceleration and better reliability. These cars love tires and brakes, other than that the car is solid. I did purchase a extended warranty and I am glad I did. had a few repairs and it was all covered by warranty. try buying it from a private party to save on taxes, fees and ensure the service is up to date."
8 people out of 15 found this review helpful
By Paul on Monday, October 13, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 142,500overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Fun to drive"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 7
"The main issue is cost of major repairs which on two occasions over ten years have cost $1,500 each. The car drives very well... feels like a sport car! It looks awesome and often gets me compliments from complete strangers"
3 people out of 7 found this review helpful
By JFMIII on Tuesday, September 02, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 54,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Extremely fast and fun to drive!"
Cons: "Poor gas mileage & expensive to service and repair"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"If you are going to purchase a Cayenne, I can only suggest you get a Turbo. Even if you do not want to pay new car prices, find one that is a dealer lease return with some factory warranty still intact. I would also advise getting an extended warranty. Mine has paid for itself...Nothing major as far as repairs, but the parts can be costly."
12 people out of 20 found this review helpful
By Blake on Monday, August 18, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 170,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "smiles per gallen"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"best car ever,bought brand new 8 years ago wish i did not haft to give her up. my son is going to college so he needs a car instead of buying him a 115,000 2014 new cayenne just so he could wreck it like the panorama i gave to my older son then he totaled it in college so i gave him the 06 cayenne and i got the brand new 150,000 cayenne. so overall the cayenne is the suv to get its also super handling and power."
8 people out of 21 found this review helpful
By cn1057 on Sunday, August 17, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 208,000overall rating 2 of 10rating details
Pros: "The engine is a strong V8 that seems to go and go"
Cons: "Everything else except the engine"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"I bought an 04 Cayenne S new thinking I was buying a great vehicle that would last a long time with minimal maintenance. When spending $70,000 in 2004 for a car one would think it should be solid. Think again! It's not the engine, it's everything around it that goes bad. Coolant Pipes exploded (lawsuit ongoing)$1500. Fuel Pump $500 twice (same one) Drive Shaft $900 (went out at 60,000 miles) Wheel bearings $600, Rear Transfer Case while in the mountains with no cell service and 4 hours from home. Porsche in the North Carolina mountains. wants $6,000 to fix! Got it done for $1,800 back home. Rear Main Seal $900. Gear knob $500. Water Pump $1200. Hatch Strut $500 twice. That's about $15,500 repairs that I can remember!!! Easily add another couple grand on minor things I can't remember and another $3,000-$5,000 on misc maintenance. That's roughly $20,000-$25,000 to own this junk!!! Last week I had to walk away from a conversation with Porsche Service who said "Yes the drive shafts go out around 70,000 miles. That's how they're designed. If they didn't you wouldn't have bought the car because the driving experience would feel average." Wow!!! Great sales slogan. Had I been told the drive shaft is designed to fail at 70k, oh and the coolant pipes will most likely explode while driving, I can promise you I would have bought ANYTHING else and saved my money. I can't speak for models after 2006 but if you're looking to buy a used Cayenne DON"T BUY YEARS 2004-2006."
17 people out of 19 found this review helpful
By JD305 on Sunday, June 29, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 47,750overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Smiles Per Gallon!"
Cons: "NONE ... if Sports and Utility is your thing!"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"My first Porsche! I could never afford a brand new one, so I am part of that demographic that has to wait until they come down in price. I can honestly say (not because I own one) but it has been a great experience owning a 2008 Cayenne S. When people talk about cars and gas mileage, they talk about "miles per gallon" ... a Porsche owner talk about "smiles per gallon!!!' Every morning when I turn on the ignition (on the left hand side) ... this SUV roars ALIVE!!! It's a great feeling...that sound is my 'cup of coffee' in the morning! The comfort and utility of an SUV with the agility and power of a 911 carrera! Great handling around corners and enough power to pass most any car on the road. Comfort ride and a superior build quality that you can always expect from a German made vehicle! The only reason I would sell my Cayenne S ... is to upgrade to a GTS or Turbo! Which I will be doing soon!"
12 people out of 15 found this review helpful