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2012 Porsche Cayenne

Overview
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2012 Porsche Cayenne Review

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KBB Expert Rating: 8.2

The Porsche Cayenne received a major revamp last year and now feels much better than the model introduced in 2003, benefiting from a reduction in weight and gains in both power and fuel efficiency. In short, it now feels less like an SUV and more like a Porsche. Yet the 5-passenger, 2-row Cayenne still offers the cargo-carrying capacity SUV owners crave, as well as surprising off-row prowess and the ability to tow more than 7,700 pounds. The 2012 Cayenne is available in four trim levels, including a hybrid, and ranges in price from under $50,000 for a base version with V6 and manual transmission to more than $120,000 for a fire-breathing twin-turbocharged V8.

You'll Like This Car If...

If you seek a luxury carry-all that puts the "sport" in the sport utility vehicle, the Cayenne is a must for your shopping list. It doesn't hurt that this Porsche can also haul cargo - in addition to other things.

You May Not Like This Car If...

If you need to carry more than five people, a 3-row luxury SUV such as Audi Q7, BMW X5 or Mercedes-Benz GL might be a better fit.

What's New for 2012

Following its 2011 remodel, the Cayenne isn't remarkably changed for 2012. Among the biggest new features is an optional power kit for the Cayenne Turbo that adds 40 horsepower to crank out a total of 540. The turbo version also gets slightly larger front disc brakes, and all models receive upgraded carpet in the cargo hull and on seatbacks.

Driving the Cayenne

Driving Impressions This latest Cayenne is much more Porsche-like in translating driver input into action versus its first-generation predecessor. With the ability to leap from 0-60 mph in 4.4 seconds and a...

top speed of over 172 mph, the Cayenne Turbo sets the benchmark for performance SUVs. But even a base Cayenne with manual transmission can hit 60 mph in 7.1 seconds and attains a top speed of 142 mph. The Porsche Cayenne Hybrid is also impressive on the track (0-60 mph in 6.1 seconds), but in more normal driving around town, it suffers the little brake and throttle quirks of other hybrids. In general, this generation of Porsche Cayennes is quieter and more comfortable than the first generation, but they are still not the softest-riding in the class.

Porsche Torque Vectoring Plus
Porsche's PTV Plus torque-vectoring system sends more power to the outside rear wheel when cornering, helping the Cayenne track truer to steering input. When combined with active suspension management and dynamic chassis control, the 2012 Cayenne feels like a lightweight sports car instead of an SUV.


Porsche Ceramic Composite Brake
At nearly $9,000, the Cayenne's optional ceramic-composite brakes are anything but cheap. But shorter braking distances, better fade resistance and rotor lifespan of up to 200,000 miles are very real benefits.

2012 Porsche Cayenne Details
2012 Porsche Cayenne photo Interior

Sumptuous, finely stitched leather and overlays of wood and metal could very well let you think you're in a Porsche Panamera. Like that 4-door sibling, the Cayenne's cockpit is filled with enough buttons, knobs and other controls to make a fighter pilot wary. In addition to a sliding and reclining seat, rear passengers can be treated to in-car entertainment via LCD screens mounted in the front-seat headrests.

Exterior
2012 Porsche Cayenne photo

An abundance of muscular curves and a forward-leaning rear window convey the Cayenne's purpose of speed even while standing still. Big brake calipers peeking through the wheel wells also relay this Porsche's sporting ambitions. Black calipers signal a base V6 model, silver equal a Cayenne S or Cayenne S Hybrid, and red are for Cayenne Turbo. Yellow calipers are reserved for the high-end ceramic brake option. Up front, we like the larger trapezoidal grille of the Cayenne Turbo and its four exhaust outlets at the rear.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

All 2012 Porsche Cayenne models come standard with all-wheel drive and a traction system meant to improve grip on road and off. Leather seating, a power liftgate, dual-zone climate control and a 10-speaker/100-watt audio system are also standard fare. All models except the base version with manual transmission feature start-stop technology, which stops the engine at idle to improve fuel economy.

Optional Equipment

Those seeking audio bliss can opt for the 16-speaker, 1,000-watt audio system from German hi-fi company Burmester. Heated and ventilated front seats, lane-change assist and adaptive cruise control can also be had. On the performance front, options include a torque-vectoring system and air suspension for enhanced handling, ceramic brakes for shorter stops, and underbody protection.

Under the Hood

Four engine options are available in the 2012 Porsche Cayenne, beginning with the 3.8-liter V6 that makes 300 horsepower and is linked to a 6-speed manual transmission or, as with every other model in the lineup, an 8-speed Tiptronic automatic. Moving up to the Cayenne S brings a 400-horsepower naturally aspirated V8. The Cayenne S Hybrid employs a 333-hp supercharged 3.0-liter V6 along with two electric motors that add 47 horsepower to the equation. At the top of the lineup is the Porsche Cayenne Turbo, with its 500-horsepower, twin-turbocharged 4.8-liter V8. Every Cayenne comes with all-wheel-drive, and all engines feature direct injection.


2012 Porsche Cayenne
3.6-liter V6
300 horsepower @ 6,300 rpm
295 lb-ft of torque @ 3,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 15/22 mpg (manual), 16/23 mpg (automatic)
0-60 mph: 7.1 seconds (manual), 7.4 (automatic), Top speed: 142 mph

2012 Porsche Cayenne S
4.8-liter V8
400 horsepower @ 6,500 rpm
369 lb-ft of torque @ 3,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 16/22 mpg
0-60 mph: 5.6 seconds, Top speed: 160 mph

2012 Porsche Cayenne S Hybrid
3.0-liter supercharged V6 + two electric motors
380 horsepower @ 5,500 rpm (net system horsepower)
427 lb-ft of torque @ 1,000 rpm (net system torque)
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 20/24 mpg
0-60 mph: 6.1 seconds, Top speed: 150 mph

2012 Porsche Cayenne Turbo
4.8-liter turbocharged V8
500 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
516 lb-ft of torque @ 2,250-4,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 16/22 mpg
0-60 mph: 4.4 seconds, Top speed: 172 mph

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2012 Porsche Cayenne Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
8.9
Out of 10

Based on 67 Ratings for the 2011 - 2014 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    8.4/10
    Quality
    9.3/10
  • Reliability
    9.0/10
    Performance
    9.4/10
  • Comfort
    9.0/10
    Styling
    9.4/10

Excellent car

By on Saturday, September 13, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 800

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
7/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "great car"

Cons: "Cup holder in the Cayenne are only 2 inch deep."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"I have a Cayenne diesel. I do not need to go fast, because I have a 911 turbo that goes fast. I love the diesel. Had to put gas in the car at 723 miles. Car is just what I wanted. This is my fourth Porsche, my 1st Cayenne. The other three were 911 turbos. NO problem with service, altho I wish the tires on the turbo would last a little longer."

21 people out of 39 found this review helpful

The perfect vehicle

By on Tuesday, September 09, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 88,425

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Superb Handling and acceleration, plus comfortable"

Cons: "Gas Mileage is in the 14-18 range"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"I wanted a Porsche since I was young. I waited 25 years and finally bought one. I picked a Black CPO Porsche Cayenne Turbo 2 years & 8 months ago with 61k miles on it. It had a few minor warranty items taken care of but other than that has been problem free. I put a set of tires on it about 14k ago and my rear tires need to be replaced (but I went with VERY sticky tires). I could get 50k mile tires if I wanted. The vehicle is *almost* everything I want. 450 hp twin turbo makes for an interesting and fun ride. It handles almost as well as my son's 2011 911 4S but is roomier and more comfortable. Since I got a 2005 I have a 6 speed Tiptronic - I'm sure the 8 Speed would be nice. I would like to have the panoramic roof as well, but everything else is close to perfect. I've hauled a trailer a few times and it doesn't flinch at all with it back there. It's rated to 7716 lbs, but I was only towing about 3500 lbs or so. If I can afford it, when the time comes I will get a newer Turbo S model!"

8 people out of 18 found this review helpful

Exceeded my worst nightmare

By on Saturday, August 30, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 32,300

10 1.0
overall rating 1 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
1/10
Value
1/10
Reliability
1/10
Quality
2/10
Performance
3/10
Styling
2/10
Comfort
1/10

Pros: "body style"

Cons: "everything else stinks to high heaven"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1

"It is neither a high ride SUV nor a sports car. When Porsche tried to disguise a VW truck, it failed miserably. Will sell it next week and run..."

6 people out of 14 found this review helpful

Quality material & beautiful fit / finish, but...

By on Monday, June 23, 2014

I owned and sold this car
Reason: Electrical issues

10 7.0
overall rating 7 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
7/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
6/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Interior quality"

Cons: "Lack of engine performance for the money"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 2

"I ordered this car and waited three months. Not the performance vehicle I believed it would be. The material, fit and finish is wonderful but the vehicle went to the shop four times in less than 9 months for some serious issues and the service I received was poor! The performance of the vehicle did not live up to the name Porsche…. I sold it and went back to a Japanese car for my daily driver."

9 people out of 14 found this review helpful

Overpriced, uncomfortable Volkswagen truck

By on Monday, June 02, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 22,374

10 4.0
overall rating 4 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
4/10
Value
2/10
Reliability
3/10
Quality
3/10
Performance
7/10
Styling
6/10
Comfort
4/10

Pros: "Decent V8 engine when new"

Cons: "A long list of migraine headaches"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1

"Driven this SUV for 2 years after owning several other luxury brand SUVs, I came to the conclusion that it is a waste of money even though the perception, or rather, misperception of this vehicle is excellent. The V8 engine is powerful enough, but the low-slung, backward slanted driving position takes away the important benefits of an SUV, because the driving position does not provide the raised view of the road or gives you the feeling of complete control and confidence. I know only Range Rover delivers in that department and no wonder RR is selling like a hot cake. Mechanically, it is almost as unreliable as Range Rover but twice as much to maintain or repair. I will trade it in soon for a real high ride SUV that has both high H-point 30 and H-point 5 to truly enjoy the command & control of the road. Plus the total cost of ownership will be reduced by half."

72 people out of 89 found this review helpful

Simply, the best automobile I have ever owned.

By on Monday, May 05, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 36,987

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Handling, appearance, milage, comfort"

Cons: "None"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"I have owned and driven this car for three and a half years. The car is exceptionally quiet, even at highway speeds, and remains free of rattles or squeaks. I consistently achieve over 25 MPG, and with the 27 gallon tank often drive from Phoenix to San Diego and return without the need to purchase gas until we are back in Arizona. The seats are exceptionally comfortable, all electronics and features are easily reached and used without pulling attention from driving, and the navigation is very intuitive. The Cayenne remains stylish inside and out, and drives and handles like you would expect a Porsche to drive and handle."

17 people out of 48 found this review helpful

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Trading in or Selling? Know where you stand with the most up-to-date Kelley Blue Book Value at your fingertips. See your car's value

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