Research

2012 Porsche Cayenne Review

The Car Connection Expert Rating Breakdown?

8.2
on a scale of 1 to 10
Styling
8.0
Expert Rating
Performance
8.0
Expert Rating
Comfort & Quality
8.0
Expert Rating
Safety
9.0
Expert Rating
Features
8.0
Expert Rating
Fuel Economy
7.0
Expert Rating

The Car Connection Expert Review

The 2012 Porsche Cayenne comes equipped to take on a rugged trail, the racetrack, and child ferrying, all in the same day.

When it was introduced nearly a decade ago, the Cayenne luxury SUV was seen as sacrilege by longtime fans of Porsche sports cars; but the model fulfilled its purpose, bringing high-end luxury shoppers—even families—into the Porsche fold. And, importantly, it's made Porsche financially sound and able to build cars like the all-new 2012 911. 

The Porsche Cayenne continues into 2012 with no significant changes. Last year, the best-selling Cayenne received a complete redesign, becoming a bit lighter and better-performing while retaining just a bit of off-road ability. Especially for a Porsche, the Cayenne is hardly stunning from the outside, but there's only so much you can do with utility-vehicle design before cutting out some of the practicality in the process (the Infiniti FX is an example of that). It's become a little more svelte in appearance, with more curvaceous door panels and curvier-looking rear flanks to hint more overtly of the sports cars in the Porsche family. But more likely, you'll notice its low stance (the product of revamped front and rear styling and aero work). Significant interior changes introduced last year, some borrowed from the stylish new Panamera, make the Cayenne's cabin feel much more upscale. Overall, the instrument panel has a more sweeping, coupe-like feel and matte-metallic brightwork.

The 2012 Cayenne comes in four different flavors, to suit everyone from up-and-coming suburban families to wealthy enthusiasts who might on occasion take their Porsche SUV out for some track time. A 300-hp, 3.6-liter narrow-angle V-6 engine powers the base Cayenne, while the Cayenne S comes with a 400-hp, 4.8-liter V-8 and the Cayenne Turbo gets a 500-hp, 4.8-liter twin-turbocharged V-8. Each of the models come with all-wheel drive and an eight-speed automatic transmission, but as you'd imagine there's quite a separation in performance.

Base Cayenne V-6 models take about 7.5 seconds to get to 60 mph and do respectably enough with passing, but they don't feel much quicker than many other luxury crossover models. Either of the V-8 models deliver rapid performance that will feel more appropriate for those who've driven Porsche sports cars (Turbos can go up to 172 mph). Altogether, handling and roadholding is superb, and the lighter structure and lower center of mass (while still keeping some trail ability) help give this latest generation of the Cayenne a more nimble feel.

And for those who are into the idea of green performance, there's the Cayenne Hybrid, pairing a 333-hp, 3.0-liter supercharged V-6—through a clutch pack—with a 47-hp (34 kW) electric motor system. In each case, power is delivered through an eight-speed automatic transmission. Altogether, the Hybrid will top 20 mpg, yet achieve 0-60 in 6.1 seconds and a maximum 150 mph. While performance for the V-8 models is especially impressive, V-6 models still take more than 7 seconds to 60 mph. But thanks to a weight-loss regimen across the entire line, the Cayenne feels significantly nimbler than before.

With a five-passenger interior, the Ceyenne is a little smaller inside—both in terms of passenger space and cargo room—than you might expect from a vehicle with such heft and exterior dimensions. But seats are supportive and comfortable for those in front, and interior appointments get progressively more lavish with each trim. We strongly recommend the Porsche Adaptive Suspension Management (PASM) air-suspension system, along with the Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control (PDCC), as they improve both ride and handling over the base setup. 

In addition to the performance-oriented systems that make it a more responsive, capable handling vehicle compared to most other SUVs, as well as a competitive, full roster of airbags, Porsche offers several high-tech safety systems, including a dynamic light system, Lane Change Assistant, and Adaptive Cruise Control.

Prices for the 2012 Porsche Cayenne cover a vast range, from under $50,000 for the base Cayenne V-6 up to the $150,000 mark, or even higher, for the Cayenne Turbo S. Both in terms of traditional luxury appointments and modern connectivity, tech, and comfort features, the base Cayenne really isn't missing anything. A good Bluetooth interface is at last standard across the line, while the standard sound system includes an iPod and USB interface. And with the nav system, you can display smaller maps—not just the next turn instruction—directly within the instrument panel. You can easily drop $20k on options, as they include not only items like a panoramic roof, a heated windshield, and a high-end Burmester surround-sound system, but also special wheels and various custom paint, trim, and upholstery upgrades.

The Car Connection Consumer Review

1 Review
5 star
100%
4 star
0%
3 star
0%
2 star
0%
1 star
0%
Rate and Review your car for The Car Connection! Tell us your own ratings for a vehicle you own. Rate your car on Performance, Safety, Features and more.
Write a Review
Saturday, December 26, 2015
2012 Porsche Cayenne AWD 4-Door S

Best vehicle we have ever owned....Ever!!

  • Overall Rating
  • Interior/Exterior
  • Performance
  • Comfort and Quality
  • Safety
  • Features
  • Fuel Economy / MPG
  • Reliability
104,000 mile in 4 years. Drive to business calls with golf clubs in the back. 22 MPG on the road and incredible interior. Absolutely the best vehicle we have ever owner including my 2 911's.
people found this helpful.
Was this review helpful? Yes
Tuesday, May 3, 2016
2016 Porsche Cayenne AWD 4-Door GTS

The best SUV in the world!!

  • Overall Rating
  • Interior/Exterior
  • Performance
  • Comfort and Quality
  • Safety
  • Features
  • Fuel Economy / MPG
  • Reliability
Power, handling,comfort and style are second to none. Handles like a sport car, power of a super car and beautiful to look at- interior and exterior!
people found this helpful.
Was this review helpful? Yes
Sunday, August 9, 2015
2016 Porsche Cayenne AWD 4-Door GTS

It’s a very good car, the bad is in the options

  • Overall Rating
  • Interior/Exterior
  • Performance
  • Comfort and Quality
  • Safety
  • Features
  • Fuel Economy / MPG
  • Reliability
It’s a very good car, the bad is in the options, when buying a new car you have to remember or go through all options to chose the good and the silly ones, as there are some options that some of the cheapest... + More »
people found this helpful.
Was this review helpful? Yes
See all user reviews »
Looking for other models of the Porsche Cayenne?
Read reviews & get prices
Compare the 2012 Porsche Cayenne against the competition
Compare All Cars