By Scott Oldham -- Contributing Editor
KBB Expert Rating: 7.7
Spend time in a 2017 Porsche Cayenne and there’s no doubt that this sizable 5-passenger SUV more than lives up to the brand's incredible legacy for luxurious, high-performance automobiles. And after 15 years in production, the Cayenne just keeps getting better. The lineup now includes the eco-friendly Cayenne S E-Hybrid plug-in as well as the new Cayenne Turbo S that offers 570 horsepower from its twin-turbo V8, giving it thrust well beyond what you'd expect in an SUV. Add to the mix tons of luxury features, enviable curbside cachet as well as incredible build quality inside and out, and the Porsche Cayenne is easily a match for competitors like the Land Rover Range Rover Sport, BMW X5 and Mercedes GLE-Class.
The 2017 Porsche’s Cayenne doesn’t just get you there. It’s more than just a car. It’s an experience involving all your senses and, if used correctly, your adrenal glands. It’s an SUV that combines performance, style, luxury and cutting-edge technology into possibly the most functional driver’s car of all time.
The Porsche Cayenne remains exclusive because of its price, high even by Trump standards. The 7-passenger Acura MDX and Infiniti QX60 can coddle your family for half the money. Even the Cayenne’s German rivals, such as the Audi Q7, BMW X5 and Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class, although less sporting, will give you change back.
KBB Expert Ratings
For 2017 all Cayenne models get an upgrade to Porsche’s new easier-to-use Porsche Communication Management (PCM) 4.0 head unit. It includes navigation, connectivity and a Bose sound system. Porsche has added new Platinum Edition models to the base Cayenne and Cayenne S E-Hybrid variants, which include unique badging and trim.
The word "slow" has never been used to describe a Porsche Cayenne. Neither have the words “uncomfortable” or “imprecise” or “unrefined.” Cayennes are simply impressive from behind the wheel. Each...
... is a blast to drive. In fact, even the Cayenne S E-Hybrid is a bona fide hoot, zipping to 60 mph in only 5.4 seconds, yet returning an estimated 47 mpge in hybrid electric mode. The Cayenne Diesel offers copious torque and near-30 mpg on the highway, while the Porsche Cayenne GTS, with its turbocharged V6, rockets from 0-60 mph in 4.4 seconds. The 570-horsepower Turbo S hits 60 mph in about 3.5 seconds. That’s crazy quick. However, there's much more to the Cayenne than outright speed. Cornering precision is beyond what you should rightfully expect from any SUV, and the 8-speed Tiptronic automatic transmission is tuned to perfection. And it’s all delivered with the refinement of a world-class luxury car.
PORSCHE TORQUE VECTORING PLUS
One of the reasons the new all-wheel-drive Porsche Cayenne doesn't handle or feel like a ponderous SUV is the Porsche Torque Vectoring Plus (PTV Plus) system. It sends more power to the outside wheel during cornering, which helps the Cayenne achieve additional traction and higher levels of agility.
CERAMIC COMPOSITE BRAKES
The ultimate high-performance SUV deserves the ultimate high-performance brakes. Brakes with more stopping power, less fade, longer rotor life and bright yellow calipers. Brakes that cost an additional $9,000. That’s right, $9,000.
Porsche's interior design and build quality are among the best in the world, combining an artistic aesthetic with sumptuous, finely stitched leather and real wood and metal accents. It's what you'll find in newer 911s, as well as Porsche’s Panamera sedan. Rear passengers aren't forgotten, with a sliding and reclining seat and a pair of LCD screens in the front headrests. While the interior’s beauty is undeniable, the complexity of its numerous buttons, switches and knobs can be confusing, especially when it comes to using the navigation system. Regardless few interiors rank higher, and fewer offer as much cargo room.
Although the 1st-generation Cayenne was popular, it was never going to win any beauty contests. However, this second generation, introduced in 2011, has set the standard for athletic-looking SUVs with sports-car stance and proportions. From any angle the Cayenne packs an abundance of muscular curves that scream its speed-and-performance mission. A quick field guide to identifying Cayenne models focuses on the brakes: black calipers denote the Diesel model, silver the Cayenne S and Cayenne S E-Hybrid, and red the high-performance Turbo and GTS models. Turbo S models get the yellow ceramic-brake option as standard. Turbo models also get four exhaust pipes.
You can have your new 2017 Porsche Cayenne seven ways: There's the base Cayenne, the Diesel, S, S E-Hybrid, GTS, Turbo and Turbo S models. All Cayenne models come with all-wheel drive (AWD), water-repellent front side windows, a height-adjustable power liftgate, rain-sensing windshield wipers and a 10-speaker audio system with a 7-inch touch screen. All Cayenne models come with a fuel-saving start/stop function that shuts off the engine at a stop and restarts it when the brake pedal is released. On the safety side, there are six airbags, a full suite of electronic stability aids, and roadside assistance while under warranty.
The Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control lets Porsche Cayenne owners take their SUV's handling to the next level. It adjusts the anti-roll bars in real time to add stiffness to the suspension in response to conditions and whatever drive mode you have selected. A 1,000-watt, 16-speaker Burmester audio system is available for audiophiles, and in-vehicle connectivity includes an Aha Radio smartphone application, which offers a variety of customizable news, music and social networking services. Of course, there's also that $9,000 brake system.
All 2017 Porsche Cayenne models come standard with an 8-speed automatic and all-wheel drive. However, there are seven distinct engines to choose from. The standard Cayenne comes with a strong 3.6-liter V6 engine offering 300 horsepower; however, it's worth the extra money for the turbocharged versions, either the 420-horsepower Cayenne S or the 440-horsepower Cayenne GTS. The Cayenne Diesel offers a highly efficient, torque-rich turbocharged V6, while the Cayenne S E-Hybrid employs a 333-horsepower supercharged 3.0-liter V6 coupled to a synchronous electric motor, which adds another 95 horsepower to the total. At the top of the line are the Porsche Cayenne Turbo and Turbo S delivering a whopping 520 and 570 horsepower, respectively, from a twin-turbocharged 4.8-liter V8.
300 horsepower @ 6,300 rpm
295 lb-ft of torque @ 3,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 19/24 mpg
3.6-liter twin-turbocharged V6 (Cayenne S)
420 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
406 lb-ft of torque @ 1,350-4,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 17/24 mpg
3.6-liter twin-turbocharged V6 (Cayenne GTS)
440 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
442 lb-ft of torque @ 1,600-5,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 16/23 mpg
3.0-liter turbocharged diesel V6 (Cayenne Diesel)
240 horsepower @ 3,500-4,000 rpm
406 lb-ft of torque @ 1,750-2,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 20/29 mpg
3.0-liter supercharged V6 + electric motor (Cayenne S E-Hybrid)
416 horsepower @ 5,500 rpm (net system horsepower)
435 lb-ft of torque @ 1,250-4,000 rpm (net system torque)
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 22 mpg (combined), 47 mpge in pure electric mode
4.8-liter twin-turbocharged V8 (Cayenne Turbo)
520 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
553 lb-ft of torque @ 2,250-4,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 14/21 mpg
4.8-liter twin-turbocharged V8 (Cayenne Turbo S)
570 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
590 lb-ft of torque @ 2,500-4,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 14/21 mpg
Note: Due to changes in EPA testing to more effectively reflect real-world conditions, some 2017 models show slightly lower fuel-economy scores than their 2016 versions.
Add in the $995 destination charge, and the base 2017 300-horsepower Porsche Cayenne starts with a Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) a bit over $59,000; the diesel model is a bit above $63,000, and the 420-horsepower Cayenne S just over $76,000. Cayenne S E-Hybrid models are priced just above $78,000. The three high-performance models up the price considerably, with the 440-horsepower Cayenne GTS starting at about $97,000, the 520-horsepower Cayenne Turbo a bit over $116,000, and the mack daddy Cayenne Turbo S at just about $160,000. Those prices are higher than BMW and Mercedes-Benz rivals, but slightly less than the Land Rover Range Rover Sport, at least at the low end. Check KBB.com’s Fair Purchase Price below to see what others in your area are currently paying, and at resale time, the Cayenne should do well, but not quite as well as the BMW X5 and the 7-Passenger Audi Q7.