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in Luxury Midsize SUVs

MSRP: $61,700 - $113,600
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Porsche Cayenne Performance

The 2015 Porsche Cayenne earns reviewer praise for its authoritative acceleration, especially the blistering performance of the Cayenne Turbo. Reviewers say the Cayenne has nimble handling and responsive steering, as well as a comfortable ride over rough roads. The V6-powered Cayenne S gets comparable fuel economy to similar luxury midsize SUVs, but the ratings of the Cayenne Diesel and Cayenne S E-Hybrid are a bit lower than that of their respective diesel and hybrid rivals.

  • "But if you want the best all-around performance crossover SUV for the price -- or any price, really -- the 2015 Porsche Cayenne earns our recommendation." -- Edmunds
  • "We'd never deign to suggest the Cayenne as an alternative to a 911, but of all the SUVs claiming to have sports-car traits, of the few that come anywhere close to delivering, this is the one." -- Road and Track
  • "Brand purists may bemoan the lack of a big, free-breathing V8, but the smaller turbocharged V6 packs a winning punch with its urgent torque and ballsy thrust. With power output that surpasses that of the first-gen Cayenne Turbo, the new S appeals less to utility seekers and more to bona-fide drivers making the leap into an SUV, especially one that handles like something half its size." -- Autoblog

Acceleration and Power

All 2015 Porsche Cayenne models are equipped with an eight-speed automatic transmission. The Cayenne S is powered by a twin-turbocharged 3.6-liter V6 that produces 420 horsepower and 406 pound-feet of torque. According to the EPA, the Cayenne S returns an EPA-estimated 17/24 mpg city/highway, which is OK for the class. The Cayenne Turbo has a twin-turbo 4.8-liter V8 that produces 520 horsepower and 553 pound-feet of torque. Porsche estimates that the Cayenne Turbo has a top speed of 173 mph and accelerates from zero to 60 mph in 4.1 seconds when equipped with the optional Sport Chrono package.

The Cayenne diesel is powered by a 3.0-liter turbodiesel V6 that produces 240 horsepower and 406 pound-feet of torque. It gets an EPA-estimated 20/29 mpg city/highway, which is a bit lower than the ratings of other diesel models in the class. The Cayenne S E-Hybrid is a plug-in hybrid SUV that can run exclusively on electricity at speeds up to 78 mph. It has a supercharged 3.0-liter V6 and an electric motor that together produce 416 horsepower and 435 pound-feet of torque. The EPA estimates that it has an electric-only range of 14 miles and returns 47 mpg-equivalent combined city/highway. When running on gas and electricity, it returns 22 mpg combined, which is less than what rivals like the Lexus RX Hybrid return.

Auto journalists report that the Porsche Cayenne S has ample power and accelerates quickly. They add that the Cayenne Turbo rockets forward with astounding thrust. Reviewers are also impressed with the Cayenne S E-Hybrid's strong acceleration. They note that the eight-speed transmission shifts very quickly, but that its shifts almost feel too sudden.

  • "Driving in a city makes it hard to wish for more power than the electric motor produces. Maximum acceleration with all 416 gas-and-electric horses should return a zero-to-60-mph sprint well below six seconds, and a quarter-mile will pass in just over 14 ticks, according to Porsche. No too shabby for a two-and-a-half ton ute." -- Car and Driver (Cayenne S E-Hybrid)
  • "The Cayenne Turbo is heroically, stupidly, unbelievably fast. Unnecessarily fast? Just as when we drove a Porsche Panamera Turbo, we can't help but think the twin-turbo V-8 engine is overkill outside the autobahn network. The standard Cayenne S has so much low-end torque that it feels just as quick as the Turbo in real-world driving, and we'd be happier with the V-6's lower price and fuel consumption, too." -- Automobile Magazine
  • "Though the eight-speed Tiptronic transmission generally shifts smoothly and quickly, some gear changes were unexpectedly abrupt in Sport mode - perhaps a remnant of the adaptive shift program that had calibrated its responses to a previous, more lead-footed driver." -- Autoblog
  • "With the engine pulling smooth as butter, the V-6 provided plenty of power, and the eight-speed automatic did a good job of shifting smoothly, though some might have more fun using the paddle shifters for earlier or later shifts." -- Motor Trend

Handling and Braking

The 2015 Cayenne comes standard with all-wheel drive, and an adjustable air suspension (Porsche Active Suspension Management) is optional, which allows you to adjust the Cayenne's ride height and select from Comfort, Sport or Sport Plus driving modes. Test drivers say that the Cayenne has incredibly agile handling for an SUV, with minimal body lean through fast corners, especially in models with the air suspension set to Sport Plus mode. They add that the Cayenne has responsive steering and rides comfortably.

  • "We lock the suspension in Sport Plus to set the air springs and active antiroll bars as firm as possible, and the setting keeps this big SUV level as a sports car no matter how hard we brake for and whip around the switchbacks that lead between tiny Spanish villages." -- Automobile Magazine
  • "What's more impressive is how the E-Hybrid stops, or rather how it decelerates. The regenerative braking actually has some modulation in the pedal and doesn't operate with the on/off action of some other hybrids. It's a light at the end of a long and dark tunnel of nonlinear hybrid brake feel. It isn't perfect, and what feel there is remains meager, but it's an exciting step for enthusiasts and evidence that electrification isn't the end of all things fun." -- Car and Driver
  • "The Cayenne S turns easily, intuitively, and with grip that belies its footprint, which feels especially considerable with the Macan now crashing the Porsche party. Though the S model's air suspension option doesn't deliver quite the same 'skyhook' effect as the Turbo's does - the Turbo seems to glide effortlessly over rough terrain - the S doesn't lack in responsiveness or steering feel, and certainly not in power." -- Autoblog
  • "In spite of the priority given to athletic handling, the ride is remarkably supple, making the 2014 Porsche Cayenne an excellent candidate for long-distance trips and even light-duty off-roading." -- Edmunds (2014)
Review Last Updated: 12/12/14

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