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2012 Porsche Cayenne Photo
8.0
/ 10
On Performance
BASE INVOICE
$43,200
BASE MSRP
$48,200
On Performance
The Cayenne S and Turbo are impressive street machines, and even the Hybrid is fun to drive; the V-6, however, is somewhat lackluster.
8.0 out of 10
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PERFORMANCE | 8 out of 10

Expert Quotes:

it's hard to find any aspect of the Cayenne's performance that you'd describe as pure Porsche
Edmunds' Inside Line

a new electrohydraulic power-steering system actually delivers better feedback in the hybrid than the traditional unit
Cars.com

The eight-speed transmission shifts frequently, constantly selecting the optimal ratio for ever-changing driving circumstances
Car and Driver

Body control is top-notch, and because the Cayenne now uses the same all-wheel-drive system found in the Panamera, the torque-vectoring gizmos onboard do an excellent job of maintaining traction whether you're on the track or off-road.
Motor Trend

The eight-speed transmission shifts frequently, constantly selecting the optimal ratio for ever-changing driving circumstances
Popular Mechanics

The Cayenne is one of the original sports-SUVs, and it continues to live up to the Porsche name in its on-road abilities.

The one exception to that rule may be the Cayenne V-6 model. Fitted with a 300-horsepower 3.6-liter V-6 engine, it's certainly not weak, but still takes 7.1 seconds to reach 60 mph, thanks mostly to its size and bulk. The 300-horsepower engine, paired to the optional eight-speed automatic Tiptronic S transmission, is sharp enough to execute passes well, however, and it's relatively fuel efficient. A six-speed manual is standard on the base Cayenne, while Cayenne S, Turbo, and Hybrid models get  the eight-speed Tiptronic S automatic. All Cayennes are all-wheel drive.

The Cayenne S improves performance considerably, rendering a sports car-like 5.6-second 0-60 mph time from its 400-horsepower, 4.8-liter V-8 engine. Top speed for the Cayenne S is 160 mph.

Stepping up to the sportiest of the Cayennes, the Turbo, gets a 4.4-second 0-60 time from a 500-horsepower turbocharged version of the same 4.8-liter engine and a top speed of 172 mph.

The Cayenne S Hybrid is no slouch, either, fitting in right behind the standard Cayenne S with 380 total horsepower from the combination of its hybrid electric motor and 3.0-liter supercharged V-6 engine. Top speed is 150 mph for the Hybrid.

Handling is very good for a large vehicle, especially one so tall, with good feel through the steering wheel, surprisingly little body roll, and immense cornering traction from the large wheels and tires, particularly on S and Turbo models.

Lest we forget, however, the Cayenne is an SUV, and therefore capable of off-roading as well as mad dashes on pavement. The latest generation of the Cayenne ditches the former dual-range transfer case in favor of an electronic Porsche Traction Management system, which offers three modes for loose sand/snow, wet surfaces and mud, or rocky terrain. PTM controls the throttle and individual brakes in complex ways to make the most of the available traction, whether flat, uphill, or downhill.

Conclusion

The Cayenne S and Turbo are impressive street machines, and even the Hybrid is fun to drive; the V-6, however, is somewhat lackluster.

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