The Porsche Cayenne is a luxurious crossover SUV with a tonne of style (two tonnes, technically) and a lot of power to back it up. The Cayenne represents many firsts for the company, being the first Porsche to have four doors and also be the first off-road variant they've produced since the '50s. The car is mostly put together in Slovakia at Volkswagen's Bratislava plant, before its finishing touches and final checks happen at its Osnabrück plant right after.
The Cayenne may look and feel familiar to many people thanks to the many parts it has shared with the Audi Q7 and Volkswagen Touareg, including body frame, doors, and even its electronics. With that said, it is still a uniquely fantastic addition to the Porsche family.
The Porsche Cayenne is currently in its third generation, with previous generations being available on the market during these time frames:
- First Generation (2003-2010)
- Second Generation (2011-2017)
- Third Generation (Since 2017)
First Generation (2003-2010)
The first-generation Cayenne came in seven different variants starting with its base model. This variant started with a 3.2-Liter VR6 engine producing 184kW of power, though later versions available to buyers came with a lot more.
The initial lineup also included the following:
- S: This model has about 30% more power than the base model, using a V8 or Twin Turbo V6 engine (producing 254kW of power and 420 Nm of torque).
- GTS: A sportier version of the Cayenne S with air suspension, a more aerodynamic look, and a much sportier interior. Its engine produces 298kW of power, and it is overall lighter than the previous type.
- Turbo: This one carries a 4.8L Twin Turbo V8 engine producing 368kW of power and 700 Nm of torque, going from 0-100km/h in only 5.3 seconds.
- Turbo S: A version of the Turbo that has a sportier look and a sporty interior to match. It also comes with more power thanks to an engine producing 405kW and 750 Nm of torque.
- Diesel: A diesel version with a 3.0L turbo V6 engine made available since 2009. Its engine produces 176kW of power and 550 Nm of torque.
In terms of transmission, the Porsche Cayenne came in either 6-speed auto or manual.
There were a few notable limited edition Cayennes during this time, such as the Cayenne S Transsyberia, designed for the Transsyberia Rally, which Porsche later won. There were only 26 units of this version ever made. To celebrate that victory, they then manufactured a street version of that car, with only 600 units being made available.
Also, there was the Cayenne GTS Porsche Design Edition 3 in 2010. This particular Cayenne was designed by the Porsche Design Studio based in Zell am See in Austria, so their unique touch was evident throughout the car's design.
Only 1,000 units were ever made, and they were also made available to Australia in September of 2009.
Second Generation (2011-2017)
The second generation of the Porsche Cayenne saw some significant changes. Firstly, this generation received a few aesthetic changes, resulting in a facelift taking place in 2014. On top of that, it saw the introduction of environmentally-friendly variants such as the Hybrid and plug-in E-Hybrid.
The second-generation Cayennes were larger but also 10% lighter across the board, with a much more comfortable interior and a few high-tech upgrades. The Cayenne GTS, for instance, came with an optional rearview camera and a completely keyless system.
The higher-end Cayenne Turbo and Turbo S saw the addition of features that, at the time, were state-of-the-art. These included voice-enabled navigation systems, heated rear seats, and even climate control for four different zones in the car.
The hybrid version had a slightly modified layout, owing to it having to make space for a 288-volt battery. With the new arrangement, this battery was located under the boot's floor where the spare tyre previously was.
The plug-in hybrid version, aka the Porsche Cayenne S E-Hybrid, put Porsche on the map as the first in the world to produce a hybrid luxury SUV.
Second-generation Cayennes also saw interesting happenings in its transmission, with the inclusion of a 6-speed ZF manual transmission made by the ZF Group and 8-speed Aisin Tiptronic S automatic by Japan's Aisin Seiki Co. Ltd. These are quite an upgrade from the transmission systems included in the first-generation Cayennes.
Variants of the second-generation Porsche Cayenne include the:
- Base model: with a 3.0L VR6 engine producing 221kW of power and 400 Nm of torque
- S: with a 3.6L twin-turbo V6 engine producing 309kW of power and 500 Nm of torque
- Turbo: with a 4.8L twin-turbo V8 engine producing 382kW of power and 750 Nm of torque
- S E-Hybrid: with a 3.0L supercharged V6 PHEV engine producing 306kW of power and 590 Nm of torque
Third Generation (Since 2017)
The third generation of the Porsche Cayenne saw a lot of significant upgrades as well, from the engines and chassis to its connectivity, to make it a much more practical vehicle.
Its production was improved and resulted in a more lightweight frame, about 65 kilograms less than its predecessor. The redesigned body, this time around, was made with a new combination of steel and alloy while the exterior and most of its components are made entirely of aluminium. Not just benefitting its performance, a lighter body means better fuel efficiency; something environmentally-conscious buyers will likely appreciate. Aesthetically, it was said to be designed to be more elegant and athletic in nature.
Performance-wise, the third-generation Cayenne is said to be much more efficient for offroad use. Part of this is due to its new 8-speed Tiptronic S transmission, which improves the Cayenne's off-road performance with lower torque and a more relaxed drive under challenging conditions.
Initially, it was launched with only two variants: the standard Cayenne with a maximum speed of 245 km/h and the Cayenne S that could do as much as 265 km/h. Later on, the Cayenne E-Hybrid and the Cayenne Turbo S E-Hybrid were also released.
To date, the third generation of the Porsche Cayenne does not yet offer a diesel version. In 2019, they released the coupé versions and together with the rest, all of them are turbocharged. The third-generation Porsche Cayenne is available in these variants:
- Base model: with a 3.0L engine producing 250kW of power and 450 Nm of torque
- S: with a 2.9L engine producing 324kW of power and 550 Nm of torque
- Turbo: with a 4.0L engine producing 324kW of power and 550 Nm of torque
- E-Hybrid: with a 3.0L twin-turbo V6 PHEV engine producing 350kW of power and 700 Nm of torque. Unsurprisingly, this one has the lowest carbon emissions of all models.
- Turbo S E-Hybrid: with the 4.0L Audi-Porsche twin-turbo V8 PHEV engine producing a whopping 500kW of power and 850 Nm of torque
- Coupé versions of all the above trims
The Porsche Cayenne is not just about style. Behind its luxurious, polished exterior lays a lot of power on- and off-road. To top it off, the introduction of the Hybrid and E-Hybrid versions indicates that the Cayenne evolves with the times and maintains its uniqueness while still embracing a more environmentally-conscious outlook.
- Rasyad 'Ray' Hasbollah