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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.
Favorite Features

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
9.1
Out of 10

Based on 60 Ratings for the 2011 - 2014 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    8.6/10
    Quality
    9.5/10
  • Reliability
    9.2/10
    Performance
    9.5/10
  • Comfort
    9.1/10
    Styling
    9.6/10

Best vehicle of 41 owned!

By on Thursday, February 06, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 50,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
Not Rated

Pros: "Best value for the money! And FAST!"

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

"Awesome vehicle, has had service intervals which are expensive but the handling, ride quality at 130mph more than makes up for costs associated with service. Out of 41 vehicles I have owned this is by far the most overall best package available from any manufacturer!! its like driving a 911 in a sport utility package!!"

5 people out of 8 found this review helpful

GTS 2013 is a sporty sedan not an SUV!

By on Thursday, October 03, 2013

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 1,500

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "great drive; handling and its sound is superb"

Cons: "fuel consumption, its price"

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

"I used to drive x5 50i for three years before getting this 2013 GTS cayenne although close performance but not at all close handling and road mastering.... I do not have pdcc but still the car can go very fast in twisty roads with remarkable stability... interior is very luxurious and the low high look is great and people in the road irrespective of their cars are looking at the GTS, moreover the sound symposer when pushing the sport button is something sexy... I really in love with it!"

8 people out of 10 found this review helpful

Great vehicle, my favoirite so far!

By on Monday, August 05, 2013

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 17,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Very fun to drive."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

Love that car!

"I had a 911 turbo and an Escalade before I got this Cayenne Turbo. It's like combining both into one vehicle. It's very quick and powerful, comfortable, and has decent storage capacity. The driving dynamics are excellent for an SUV (I did get all of the sport upgrades). The interior is the nicest I've ever seen (compared to BMW, Cadillac and Mercedes). Very high quality. The only downsides are the mpg, the cost of the maintenance and the short life/expense of the tires. I expected all of that so I'm not disappointed. Great ride and very useable."

12 people out of 13 found this review helpful

Love that car!

I have the 2012 cayenne turbo with power kit

By on Monday, July 22, 2013

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 9,700

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "fun, reliable fast and stops on a dime"

Cons: "high price of options and maintenance costs"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8

"I have found the car to be great to drive; very comfortable on a long trip. I have obtained 24 mpg on the highway holding at 70-75 mph. Around town I get 13-17 mpg, but the real issue is to keep off the turbos, but that is why I got all the power. It does not use oil although some owners complain of it. Cost of maintenance is high; but it is a take it in 1x a year car; except for putting on snows in the winter. By the way, the standard goodyear all weather tires are horrible in the winter."

4 people out of 5 found this review helpful

Lots of fun

By on Sunday, July 14, 2013

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 5,000

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: "well mad, fun to drive, versatile."

Cons: "15 mpg, limited number of dealers"

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

"My 2013 Cayenne GTS is 6 months old. Not a single problem. I look forward every time to start her up and drive. Has may personalities to select from. Comfort mode when you want a quiet and smooth drive. Sport Mode when you feel aggressive.And Off Road mode if you really want to. Very comfortable. Great looks. I get 15 mpg around town and low 20's on the open road. Yes, she was expensive $100K. That said, there is simply no other SUV like it. I love the vehicle."

2 people out of 3 found this review helpful

Terrific car

By on Friday, November 23, 2012

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 340

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
7/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
Not Rated

Pros: "Design and performance outstanding. Tint windows"

Cons: "V6 a little light in the front end but OK"

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

"Well made and design is beautiful... V6 has plenty of power. Had an S and for price difference, it is not necessary."

9 people out of 14 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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