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PERFORMANCE | 8 out of 10
brakes are strong and linear
on the 2009 Porsche Cayenne Turbo, the 0-to-60-mph run takes 4.8 seconds
Car and Driver
hydraulic actuators that keep PDDC-equipped Cayennes flat through turns also work while driving in a straight line
It’s clear that performance was one of the priorities in the engineering of the 2009 Porsche Cayenne—which is something editors at TheCarConnection.com definitely appreciate. However, if you get the V-6, you might not want to challenge anyone at stoplights.
The 2009 Porsche Cayenne lineup offers four engines: one V-6 and three V-8s. Edmunds states that the Porsche Cayenne Turbo "has a twin-turbocharged version of the V8 that makes a mighty 500 hp and 516 lb-ft of torque." Edmunds also notes that the base Porsche 2009 Cayenne features "a 3.6-liter V6 that makes 290 hp and 273 lb-ft of torque," while "the Cayenne S packs a 4.8-liter V8 with 385 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque," and the Cayenne GTS has the same engine, but it "produces 405 hp." Car and Driver is pleasantly surprised to find that, on the 2009 Porsche Cayenne Turbo, "the 0-to-60-mph run takes 4.8 seconds." Even on the base Cayenne, The Detroit News determines it "can hit 60 mph in 7.5 seconds starting from a stop," which is impressive for a vehicle that weighs more than 5,000 pounds.
Although many reviewers approve of the engines on the Porsche 2009 Cayenne, the manual transmission is another story. Car and Driver adds "it's a lifeless stick that feels even more out of place because the parking brake isn't on the center console." Motor Trend is particularly scathing in their review, grousing "the six-speed is notchy and rubbery, with long throws and an indeterminate gate, characteristics far from helpful in ensuring smooth progress." Fortunately, Edmunds points out that only the base Porsche Cayenne and the 2009 Porsche Cayenne GTS are available with the manual, while the Porsche Cayenne S and Cayenne Turbo "have a six-speed Tiptronic S automatic transmission," which is optional on the base and GTS. Edmunds adds that the Porsche Cayenne in every trim is "all-wheel drive."
Fuel economy on the 2009 Porsche Cayenne is dismal, as one would expect from a heavy, high-performance SUV. The official EPA estimates for the 2009 Porsche Cayenne are that it will return 14 mpg city and 20 highway with the base V-6, while the GTS offers 13/18 mpg with the automatic transmission and 11/17 mpg with the manual. The Porsche Cayenne S gets an EPA-estimated 13 mpg city and 19 highway, while the Turbo offers 12/19 mpg. Cars.com notes "gas mileage is projected to be 8 to 15 percent better than before" for this year's model, but even that's not saying much.
One area where many reviewers praise the Porsche Cayenne is for its overall handling. Car and Driver reviewers remark that "the adjustable air suspension is very flexible, offering both a terrific, supple, well-controlled ride in the comfort setting and a fair amount of precision in the sport setting." Reviewers unanimously recommend the "optional active Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control," which Kelley Blue Book says "offers advantages in counteracting body roll." The Detroit News attests that when the PDDC system is on, "the body roll typically found in heavy, tall vehicles is gone." In terms of steering feel, Motor Trend contends it is "less corrupted than in other all-wheel-drive SUVs." Edmunds adds that the "brakes are strong and linear." Kelley Blue Book is even impressed by the Porsche Cayenne's off-road capabilities, and they claim that the "Cayenne is a superior off-highway performer, making quick work of imposing grades."
The 2009 Porsche Cayenne is a powerful vehicle that handles incredibly well. The manual transmission, however, is a dud.