Cayenne S Tiptronic S
course the Cayenne S is fast.
Thats its job its a Porsche!
JUDGING BY THE NUMBER of "Wow! What is that?" queries
we fielded during a week testing Porsche's imposing new Sports Utility,
the Cayenne S, not a lot of people except perhaps Porsche enthusiasts
appear to know that it even exists…
But exist is most certainly does, and for something apparently so elusive it
possesses real and palpable presence. First impressions Porsche's must-have
red-and-gold coat of arms aside of what, in Turbo form, is undoubtedly
the fastest SUV you can buy are of clean, refreshingly unfussy lines that cleverly
mask its long body (almost 5 metres) and blend road-going Porsche DNA with a
chunky off-road appearance.
face-to-face with a Cayenne and you will be in no doubt that it is a
Porsche, thanks almost single-handedly to the Cayenne's V-shaped 911-style bonnet
and headlamps, albeit set far higher than on any road-going 911 ever built.
But, unlike any other Porsche, the Cayenne boasts five adult-size seats plus
ample room for all the family's luggage.
a Cayenne and you
will be in no doubt that
its a Porsche, thanks
to the Cayennes
bonnet and headlamps,
albeit set far higher than
on any road-going 911
Six-feet three inches wide, with a roof that's level with most people's eyes,
the Cayenne looks dramatically distinctive. Riding on spoked 19-inch alloy wheels
shod with 275 cross-section Pirellis, it has the ability to empty the outside
lane of the motorway quicker than almost anything else on four wheels.
ownership starts at an unexpectedly affordable £35,000 for the 3.2-litre 250bhp
six-cylinder 'entry-level' model. Most drivers would be more than content with
its 133mph maximum and 9.1-second 0-62mph time but another £10,000 will get
you into the Cayenne S, whose lusty all-new V8 engine displaces 4.5 litres and
pumps out 340bhp. The S will hit 150mph and knock-off the 0-62mph sprint in
6.8 seconds (the Tiptronic auto takes 7.2). By any standards, that's pretty
good going for a large 4x4 even more so for one with a kerb weight of
well over two tonnes.
Should you really, really want your Sports Utility to go as fast as a high-performance
sports car, Porsche have just the Cayenne for you the top-of-the-range
£70,000 Turbo. As its name suggests, its 4.5-litre power unit uses intercooled
twin turbos to produce a whopping 450bhp and a massive 457lb ft of torque to
get it from zero to 62mph in just 5.6 seconds en route to 165mph!
For most people, the Cayenne S tested here will be all the car they could wish
for. The big V8 provides 'big' entertainment courtesy of 310lb ft maintained
consistently between 2,500 and 5,500rpm. And it's worth mentioning that the
Cayenne's practical side is certain to endear it to genuine family buyers as
much as its performance abilities will appeal to keen drivers.
Despite its 'high-stepping' stance, the Cayenne is an easy car to get in and
out of: the seats are the perfect height from the road for 'sit and swivel'
entry. Wide front and rear doors help enormously, and the driver benefits from
a powered a facility that automatically moves the steering-wheel out of the
way on both entry and exit. Another nice touch is the puddle lights underneath
each door mirror.
the Cayenne looks, feels and smells just like a regular Porsche sports car.
Beautifully finished, with contoured soft leather seats complemented by high
quality cabin trim and headlining, there is a three-spoke leather-clad steering-wheel
reinforcing the promise that driving this Sport Utility is going to be a satisfying
experience. Tiptronic finger pads at the apex of both the left and right steering-wheel
spokes further hint that this Porsche is no less a driving machine than its
welcome neatness to
the conservatively laid
out cabin, lifted by
minimal aluminium trim,
thats best defined by the
tunnel with a substantial
grab handle on either
side. A foot-operated
parking brake replaces
Controls apart from
the Tiptronic gear
selector are for the
settings. The rest of the
switchgear is exactly
where it should be...
The twelve-way electrically-adjustable seats are standard. Both front seats
provide three memory settings and, in addition to seat and belt positions, the
driver's memory also includes steering-wheel and door mirror settings. Both
seats are heated and get 4-way electric lumbar support.
The generic leather-clad Porsche steering-wheel also adjusts electrically for
height and reach and there is a superb driving position. Heat-insulating glass
is standard, as are electric windows all-round. The CD player shares the SatNav's
CD slot. This sounds fiddly but it isn't a problem as once a destination has
been selected the map CD is no longer required.
Ergonomically there's a welcome 'neatness' to the conservatively laid out cabin,
lifted by minimal aluminium trim, that's best defined by the uncluttered central
tunnel with a substantial grab handle on either side. A foot-operated parking
brake replaces the handbrake. Controls apart from the Tiptronic gear
selector are for the off-road transmission settings.
The rest of the switchgear is exactly where it should be, and there's a central
locking master switch in the door, along with the window
switches. There are one-shot up/down front windows and the Cayenne also
locks its doors automatically as it moves off. The tilt/slide electric sunroof
has a roof mounted 'dial and forget' switch.
The driver gets a smart cluster of trademark Porsche dials covering speed, revs,
oil and water temperature, fuel, volts and fuel, siamesed, silver-ringed and
with simple graphics. Between the larger speedometer and rev-counter is a 3-inch
multifunction display that shows key vehicle information including the
gear engaged and the current speed as an easy-to-read digital figure. Very helpful
on today's speed-camera infested roads! There's a useful drawer under the driver's
seat and ample cubbies provide storage for all those essential everyday items,
even a pair of (Porsche-branded) sunglasses!
Sited dead-centre of the leather-clad fascia is a 6.5-inch colour screen for
the optional infotainment/navigation system. Buttons beneath the display provide
access to individual menus, including Set and Return functions that avoid the
need to jump around from one sub-menu to another. Better still, it's intuitively
easy to use with some nice features, such as the ability to zoom in on tricky
road junctions and provide vital orientation off-road. Probably the most useful
facility is the backtracking function which memorises the route covered then
guides the driver back to the starting point over the identical route.
automatic air-conditioning is standard, pampering both front and rear passengers
as well as chilling the lockable glovebox. Rear seat passengers will find themselves
sitting as comfortably as those up front in individually-shaped and supportive
seats. Head, shoulder, knee and leg room are all commendably good for adults
travelling in the back who also have an exceptional view out.
it comes to
getting people and
possessions from A to B
in a very short time,
the Cayenne is quicker
than almost all its genre.
But that doesnt
not practical: it will
happily tow loads up
to 3.5 tonnes, such as a
glider or sports boat.
Not only that, but its
intrusion-free boot will
also take a mass of
Seats up, it will
accommodate 540 litres
but fold the 60:40 rear
backrests and this goes
up to a maximum of
The S comes with regular springs and dampers as standard but can be ordered
with the Turbo's sophisticated air suspension. Other testers say the air set-up
provides a far suppler ride that's closer in comfort to that of a big saloon
along with providing superior off-road abilities. All models, however, share
the same rack-and-pinion steering with variable power assistance. With 2.7 turns
lock-to-lock it is precise, provides tidy turn-in and offers a tight turning
When it comes to getting people and possessions from A to B in a very short
time, the Cayenne is quicker than almost all its genre. But that doesn't mean
it's not practical: it will happily tow loads up to 3.5 tonnes, such as a glider
or sports boat. Not only that, but its regular-shaped, intrusion-free boot will
also take a mass of holiday luggage. Seats up, it will accommodate 540 litres,
but fold the 60/40 rear-seat backrests individually or together
and this goes up to a maximum of 1,770 litres. There's also a ski-bag, partition
net and a rollerblind luggage cover that doesn't ping open at the first speed
hump. There's also a separately opening rear window for quick access to the
The view over the bonnet is very much like that of a 911, albeit far more commanding.
Turn the key and the compact, all-alloy V8 fires up instantaneously. Select
Drive and release the parking brake ahead of your right knee with a quick flick
of your fingers and you're ready. Press hard on the accelerator and you won't
need telling twice that the Cayenne S is startlingly quick a real licence-teaser.
At tickover you don't hear the engine as the refinement is Lexus-like, but if
you squeeze the throttle the engine responds instantly. Even before the smooth
V8 is fully into its stride at 2,500rpm, the power on tap is impressive. From
outside, Porsche's new V8 emits a hard-edged burble that bursts out of squared-off
tailpipes, one at each corner and each big enough to put your fist into. All
that you'll hear inside is a muted growl: even at speed, the noise from the
road, the wind and the chunky Pirellis is low, making the Cayenne a serious
In addition to the five-speed Tiptronic S available on the 911 and Boxster,
Porsche now offers the Cayenne with a new six-speed Tiptronic S transmission.
Apart from the additional ratio, maximum flexibility is provided by the option
to shift gears manually either by 'thumb-tipping' the buttons on the steering-wheel
or traditionally using the selector lever. To avoid possible errors when driving
off-road, the steering-wheel buttons are deactivated when the low ratio transmission
is in use and manual changes are made by the central lever only. A further feature
of the Cayenne's Tiptronic S is the hill-holder function which prevents the
car from rolling back when setting off even on a near vertical gradient
and also holds onto a low gear on long uphill and downhill gradients.
many owners will be content to leave the Tiptronic in Drive, press-on drivers
will appreciate the ability to override the transmission while in the automatic
mode. By 'tipping' the toggle switches on the steering-wheel, gears can be shifted
manually even though the selector lever remains in automatic. Mechanical response
to this manual override is immediate, with the gear engaged being displayed
with an 'M' alongside the numeral. At the same time, the transmission retains
its kickdown function enabling downshifts whenever required. Road and engine
speed permitting, the automatic transmission will shift down a maximum of three
gears the instant a driver steps hard on the throttle.
various programs with
different control maps
as they adapt to the
driving style and route
taken. The range of
shift points extends from
activated whenever the
driver prefers a calmer
and more reserved style
of motoring, with the
gears shifting up at an
earlier point and engine speeds being reduced
accordingly all the way
to a dynamic, active
mode with the gears
being held for as long as
acceleration to exploit
the V8s free-revving
In automatic mode, Tiptronic S offers various programs with different control
maps activated automatically as they adapt to the driving style and route taken.
The range of shift points extends from the economical activated whenever
the driver prefers a calmer and more reserved style of motoring, with the gears
shifting up at an earlier point and engine speeds being reduced accordingly
all the way to a dynamic, active mode with the gears being held for as
long as possible during acceleration to exploit the V8's free-revving nature.
Most of the time the permanently-engaged electronically-controlled four-wheel-drive
system opts for a front-to-rear torque split of 38:62, giving the Cayenne a
natural rear-biased balance. Depending on conditions, however, up to 100 per
cent of engine power may be fed to the front or rear wheels for optimum stability
A sophisticated array of electronics, including ABS, ASR and ABD, ensure that
the Cayenne is always kept on track be it metalled or mud. For serious
off-road work there's a low-ratio mode activated by the toggle switch on the
centre console, which also allows the differentials to be locked.
In addition to the active safety provided by the permanent four-wheel drive,
all Cayennes come with full-size, two-stage front and side airbags for the driver
and passenger. A side impact system comprises a thorax airbag integrated into
the front seat backrests, and a curtain airbag fitted into the roof frame.
So effortlessly stable at speed does the Cayenne feel that it's easy to take
it completely for granted and forget to mention it as I almost did. This,
of course, is Porsche's fault, because they have, in spite of its size, made
the Cayenne feel so damned manoeuvrable, with strong grip and really tangible
to Porsche's traction management system, which maintains grip no matter what
the terrain, direction changes are accomplished with the body remaining flat
and predictable on all but the most evil of corners. However, nobody cheats
the laws of physics push your luck in the bends and the Cayenne's blunt
nose will run wide, albeit progressively. And while it's no 911, it does do
a pretty convincing impression of a sports car enough that you can really
hustle in it and have some fun.
Which brings us to the brakes. Porsche has a well-earned rep for superb brakes
some of their 62mph-0 figures are as interesting as their 0-62mph ones!
Stamp on the Cayenne's large brake pedal and 2.3 tonnes of metal are arrested
as if by a giant hand. Actually, that's four giant hands: 17-inch brakes front
and rear with internally vented 13-inch discs, six-piston callipers at the front
and four-piston callipers at the rear all ensure fade-free stopping time after
usual (and purely in the interests of research!) we drove the Cayenne S pretty
hard. At first we didn't seem to be using that much petrol an illusion
courtesy of the 22-gallon tank. When we checked the actual mpg figures we were
pleasantly surprised: 18.7mpg overall, with a best of 24.6mpg extra-urban.
MotorBar we have
a saying: May you have
the car you deserve.
And Porsche, you have
to agree, has certainly
done everything in its
power to make sure that
Officially the touring figure is 25.2mpg and we feel that it will be easily
attainable, giving a not-to-be-sniffed-at 500-mile range. For the record, the
V6 entry-level Cayenne returns 21.4mpg overall and 26.6mpg touring.
If you're seriously in the market for a premium sports utility vehicle that's
also fast and enjoyable to drive, then you'd be extremely short-sighted not
to have a Cayenne S on your list. Factor in the Porsche's practicality and premium
image, pay the extra for the Turbo's air suspension and for most people
it will then be down to an agonising choice between the V8 Cayenne and a Range
At MotorBar we have a saying: 'May you have the car you deserve'. And
Porsche, you have to agree, has certainly done everything in its power to make
sure that you do! ~ MotorBar
Porsche Cayenne S Tiptronic S (2009)
Maximum speed: 150mph | 0-62mph: 7.2 seconds | Test Average: 18.7mpg
Power: 340bhp | Torque: 310lb ft