If you type the words “cash” and “cow” into Google Translate, you get “Goldesel,” but you could also just say Porsche Cayenne. Since the ground-breaking and once controversial (“How dare they make a profitable vehicle everyone wants to buy???”) Cayenne came out in 2003, Porsche has sold over 760,000 of them worldwide, many at sticker prices bumping up against 100 grand. Those good at math, and even those not good at math, can see that adds up to a big pile of euro/dollar/yuan.
No surprise, then, that Porsche put a lot of thought into the latest Cayenne SUV. The new Cayenne is wider, longer, lower and lighter than the model it replaces.
“The car is much more athletic,” said Detlev von Platen, Porsche’s board member in charge of sales and marketing.
When it launches in the U.S. in June 2018, buyers will get a choice of two V6 models. Power figures are updated here from yesterday’s German specs to the SAE figures we use in the U.S. Thus, the single-turbo 3.0-liter V6 model produces 335 SAE hp and 332 lb-ft of torque. Yesterday we quoted the German press release that listed power at the metric “340 hp.” That’s just under 40 more hp than the previous entry-model Cayenne. The twin-turbo V6 Cayenne is actually 2.9 liters in displacement and produces 434 SAE hp, just under 20 more than the previous model. The single-turbo model gets to 62 mph (not 60) in 5.6 seconds if you get the Sport Chrono package, 5.9 seconds without it. The twin-turbo does it in 4.6/4.9 seconds.
The eight-speed Tiptronic transmission has what Porsche describes as “shorter response times and sportier ratios.” There is also a taller eighth gear for more comfortable highway cruising. It has five driving modes: on-road, mud, gravel, sand and rocks. The default mode is on-road. All Cayenne models will come with active all-wheel drive controlled by Porsche Traction Management.
One thing that will make the new SUV “more athletic” is its 48-volt electrical system, which promises quicker reactions from the electric power steering, rear steering and Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control. Porsche says its 4D Chassis Control System “works in real time, optimizing handling.” An air-suspension system using three-chamber airbags is also available. The rear-steer system is actuated electrically via a motor mounted on the aft end of the rear axle. While it is similar to rear-steer systems on the 911 and Panamera, it has been calibrated specifically for the Cayenne.
Another option is Porsche Surface Coated Brakes, which coat iron discs with tungsten carbide for better stopping. One advantage of this system is the mirrorlike finish of the discs, which looks cool in addition to stopping better.
The body panels are all-aluminum, which, combined with optimized use of high-strength steel in the chassis and even a new lithium-ion polymer battery, saved 143 pounds on average compared to the previous V6 Cayennes.
As for exterior styling, it is not radically different from the first two Cayennes. In fact, you might not be able to pick the new one out of a lineup.
“Our main goal was to sharpen the Cayenne even more,” explained Porsche’s VP of styling Michael Mauer.
Inside is what they’re calling the Porsche Advanced Cockpit. It’s centered on a new 12.3-inch full-HD touchscreen and runs the latest generation of Porsche Communication Management software from last year’s Panamera. It offers everything from online services, internet, real-time traffic and voice control.
While only those two V6 models will be available at launch, von Platen said to look for the V8 Turbo Cayenne at the Frankfurt auto show in a couple weeks and a plug-in hybrid and Turbo S E-Hybrid “next year.” He also said the Turbo S model strategy for Panamera and Cayenne has moved toward combining the Turbo with a hybrid system to make the Turbo S derivative. So Cayennes will get more fun to drive in the next year, for sure.