If you were among the more than 280,000 buyers around the globe who didn’t get worked up when Porsche introduced its first-ever SUV, now you have a reason to be upset—not because all the hateful stares from purists have finally become too much, but because the second-generation Cayenne is so much improved over the first.
Larger, but Not Lumpier
The new Cayenne is deceptively large. On the outside, its trimmer appearance makes it look much smaller than the previous version. Parked next to a current Toyota RAV4, the Cayenne looks about the same size. It is, however, not only bigger than the RAV4 but also larger in almost every measure than the original Cayenne. The wheelbase is up 1.6 inches to 114.0, the width spans another 0.4, for a total of 76.3, overall length stretches 1.9 inches to 190.8, and the new Cayenne stands 0.2 inch taller, at 67.1. As you would expect, the elaborate and handsome interior—it does an admirable job of mimicking the Porsche Panamera’s—allows for a little more wiggle room and a much-needed boost in cargo capacity. With the second-row seats upright, the Cayenne now accepts another five cubic feet of whatever you want to cram into it, bringing the total to 24 cubes. Fold the seats, and you’ll have a 60-cubic-foot void behind the front chairs
Alongside the weight loss and the striking new exterior and interior design, Porsche squeezed an additional 15 hp from the Cayenne S’s naturally aspirated 4.8-liter V-8. A new transmission with two more forward ratios—there are eight now—helps to achieve EPA ratings of 16 mpg city and 22 highway. Although it works fine by conventional-automatic standards, we feel spoiled by the PDK dual-clutch auto offered in the rest of Porsche’s range.
Nonetheless, with hp now at an even 400, the drivetrain improvements enable the Cayenne S to hit 60 mph in 5.5 seconds and clear the quarter-mile in 14.1 at 101 mph. Those numbers are an improvement of a half-second to 60 and 0.4 second and 3 mph in the quarter-mile. Notable as the Cayenne’s straight-line performance may be, it’s really the improvement in overall dynamics that makes it shine.