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2015 Porsche Cayenne S, Turbo First Drive

Motor Trend logo Motor Trend 10/24/2014 Karla Sanchez

When Porsche announced it was bringing an SUV called the Cayenne to market in 2003, enthusiasts the world over thought the German automaker had lost its lemons, or better yet, its zitronen. Fast forward 10 years later, and the Cayenne has exceeded all sales expectations. More than 276,000 first-gen Cayennes have been accounted for, and the second-gen continues to blow that out of the water, with more than 303,000 sold. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that lots of people love them some Cayenne, but how do you go about improving something that people already want? By giving them more of what they want. For Porsche, that meant more style, more stuff, more efficiency, and of course, more power.

Although the exterior changes are subtle, they help lots in making the 2015 Cayenne look much cleaner than its predecessor. The front clip now has two additional air inlets with airblades that direct air to the intercoolers, and panel gaps now run down the fenders. Around back, the Cayenne has been given the Macan booty treatment. The license plate surround, liftgate handle, and taillights are better integrated into the gate itself, with the LED taillights revised to match the headlights' "floating" four-point design. The exhaust outlets are now integrated into the rear bumper and the more-flush roof spoiler helps extend the roofline.

© Provided by MotorTrend Step inside and you'll find a newly designed multi-function steering wheel that is like the one found in the BMW i8 hybrid supercar. Aside from softer rear seats that can now blow air onto your buns and back, everything inside the cabin is pretty much the same, including the Cayenne's button-happy center stack and left-side ignition.

Porsche now spoils buyers with additional standard features including bi-xenon headlights, stainless-steel doorsill plants, and a power liftgate. A function that brings the loading edge down an extra 2 inches is standard on models equipped with the optional air suspension, while the available Sport Chrono package now adds a Performance-Start function that cuts 0-60-mph times by a hair, though we couldn't really put that to the test on the skinny and snaky roads outside of Barcelona. We'll have to wait until we test one to truly find out what the new function is all about.

A good amount of work also happened underneath the much cleaner sheetmetal. Porsche tells us engineers worked their magic on the suspension with a new configuration. New multi-part mounts on the transverse links of the front and rear axle and on the wheel mounts of the rear axle are supposed to give the Cayenne a more precise feel, but since it's already as precise as an SUV could possibly be, this was a bit harder to pinpoint while carving through the squiggly, noodle-like back roads of the Spanish mountains.

© Provided by MotorTrend© Provided by MotorTrend If you had your heart set on getting the 2015 Cayenne S with the 4.8-liter V-8 engine, you won't find it as an option when you go to build it on the online configurator. That's because it's been dropped in favor of a 3.6-liter twin-turbo V-6, which puts out more power and sips less fuel. With 20 horses more and 37 lb-ft more torque than the outgoing V-8, Porsche says the 420-hp and 406-lb-ft Cayenne S can rocket from 0-60 mph in 5.2 seconds. Compare that to the 5.9 seconds it took the last Cayenne S V-8 we tested, and Porsche has a real winner on its hands. With the engine pulling smooth as butter, the V-6 provided plenty of power, and the eight-speed automatic did a good job of shifting smoothly, though some might have more fun using the paddle shifters for earlier or later shifts. Official EPA ratings for the all-wheel-drive 2015 Cayenne S are 17/24 mpg city/highway, a decent improvement over the Cayenne S V-8's 16/22 mpg.

For those who want the cream of the crop Turbo, not to worry, as the swift Cayenne was also visited by holy gods of horsepower. The 4.8-liter twin-turbo V-8 now makes a ridiculous 520 hp and 553 lb-ft of torque, which when coaxed, throws your head back into seats and pushes your body into the supportive seats. Porsche says this upgrade will get the Turbo to go from 0-60 mph in 4.2 seconds, though we think that estimate might be a bit conservative considering the last Cayenne Turbo we tested got there in 4.3 seconds.

© Provided by MotorTrend While most people would cringe at the thought of driving their $115,000 prized possession over rocks and through waist-high water, off-road instructors at Les Comes were encouraging us to do just that, and in some cases, telling us to drive the Cayenne Turbo harder. Nothing seemed to faze the SUV, as it floated over rocky trails, climbed up steep sandy hills, and carefully descended down rocky slopes. The Cayenne rules the dirt just as it does the pavement.

Four variants will be available at launch, including the Cayenne Diesel, Cayenne S, Cayenne Turbo, and the Cayenne S E-Hybrid.

With the new changes, we don't doubt for a second that the 2015 Cayenne will continue selling like crazy. As long as Porsche keeps giving, we'll keep taking.


2015 Porsche Cayenne S, Turbo
BASE PRICE$75,095-$114,595
VEHICLE LAYOUTFront-engine, AWD, 5-pass, 4-door SUV
ENGINES3.6L/420-hp/406-lb-ft twin-turbo DOHC V-6; 4.8L/520-hp/553-lb-ft twin-turbo DOHC V-8
TRANSMISSION 8-speed automatic
CURB WEIGHT4600-4850 lbs (mfr est)
WHEELBASE114.0 in
LENGTH X WIDTH X HEIGHT191.1 x 78.7 x 67.0-67.4 in
0-60 MPH4.1-5.2 sec (mfr est)
ON SALE IN U.S.November 2014

2015 Porsche Cayenne S With Dust Cloud 9© Provided by MotorTrend 2015 Porsche Cayenne S With Dust Cloud 9
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