• Feb 2nd 2010 at 6:38PM
  • 15
Guilty pleasure admission time. We love the Porsche Cayenne.Yes, yes, it's an affront to the brand, a visual catastrophe and has as much to do with a sports car as does a cantaloupe. We get all that. Now, may we explain why we love the Cayenne? Because we've taken one (or three) off road. Whoa. Here's a car that can run an autocross neck-and-neck with a Subaru WRX, yet then wander off and embarrass Jeeps with the twist of a knob. It's perplexingly fantastic. How could we not love it?
That said, there have long been rumors that the next-generation Cayenne (which could debut at next month's Geneva Motor Show) will lose its off-road mastery. The thinking was, no one takes the dang things off the pavement anyway, so why not just ditch the heavy, expensive off-road bits and turn the Cayenne into a proper crossover? Makes sense, no matter which way you slice it. But back to the perplexing part part of the Cayenne equation – Porsche's SUV has never been about making sense.

Case in point, Autocar is reporting that the next Cayenne is going to be much more hardcore when the black top ends. In fact, the lucky Autocar dogs got to tag along with the Cayenne development team in the United Arab Emirates. Specifically, going up and down a 300-foot tall sand dune called 'Big Red.' In fact, so capable is the new Cayenne, the Turbo version was able to climb said Big Red at 30 mph four times in a row before the rear-diff overheated and refused to lock. Said the head of Cayenne development Rolf Frech, "These are extreme conditions and eventually something had to give."

What's going to be different about the new Cayenne? It's wheelbase is longer by about two inches, solely to provide more leg room in the back seat. The new Cayenne's also lighter – way lighter – close to 450 pounds lighter as a matter of fact. Figure on 4,500 pounds or so total, depending on the engine. How'd Porsche do that? Lots and lots of aluminum replacing heavy steel, specifically in the hood, doors, axles and front bumper. Porsche is also dropping the Cayenne's transfer-case, instead relying on fancy electronics to get the Cayenne into and out of the worst of it. If Autocar is to be believed, losing the low gears isn't costing the Cayenne a thing.

Structurally, there's a whole lot of Panamera super-sedan making its way into the new Cayenne, but we're not sure whatyet. We do know that the fancy-pants seven-speed PDK (dual-clutch) transmission from the Panamera can't cope with the low-speed rock crawling essential to the Cayenne, so it's been dumped in favor of an eight-speed automatic. As far as engines go, expect more of the same. There will be a 300-ish horsepower V6, a 400-ish hp V8, a 500 hp Turbo V8 (0-60 mph should take around 4.5 seconds) and a not-coming-to-America diesel. There will also be a hybrid variant that should get 30 mpg, make around 400 hp and compete nicely with the BMW X6 ActiveHybrid in the bizarro world of gas/electric luxury SUVs.

Color us extremely interested.

[Source: Autocar]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 5 Years Ago
      didnt like the first gen cayenne...but the recent refresh looks sick.
      • 5 Years Ago
      "There will also be a hybrid variant that should get 30 mpg, make around 400 hp and compete nicely with the BMW X6 ActiveHybrid in the bizarro world of gas/electric luxury SUVs."

      Considering the fuel economy and performance of the x6 hybrid, it doesn't sound like any kind of competition. Slaughter maybe, competition no.

      Few porsche tie ups with vw have excited me more than this 3.0T hybrid setup. I cannot wait for it to start permeating Audis.
      • 5 Years Ago
      "wander off and embarrass Jeeps with the twist of a knob"

      Yeah right. A sand dune is easy let's see if your opinion change if you ever get to take the Cayenne on the the Rubicon trail.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Exactly. I'd like to hear more about how this can "embarrass Jeeps with the twist of a knob". Like how exactly.
      • 5 Years Ago
      What's ugly about this car ?
      I mean, how can you make a "Porsche crossover" look better ?...
      • 5 Years Ago
      "Porsche's SUV has never been about making sense".

      Actually the sense behind having an SUV is that Porsche knows almost all its customers have another car, and they want that other car to also be a Porsche.

      If (when) I get a stage in my life where I can afford to, getting a 911 for me and a Cayenne for the wife would make us both quite happy :-)
      • 5 Years Ago
      It's still a hideous looking pig.
      • 5 Years Ago
      That's all fine and dandy, but where's the true hooligan Turbo S? I was hoping it would make a comeback with this new generation. Manual available?
      I wonder how much uglier this new cayenne can get...
      • 5 Years Ago
      I really hope they keep the GTS and the manual transmission option. I honestly believe it's the best version of the Cayenne... and a lot of fun to drive.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Yeah, because if there's one thing all owners are just dying to do when they get ahold of their new $50k Porsche SUV, it's take that bad boy "off road" and let dirt, rock and debris smack it...The Cayenne just fills a hole in the Porsche brand for people who want a Porsche, but more practical in terms of seating and storage.

      When it comes to comparing a Porsche SUV and a Jeep SUV, the comparison really ends with just the name - You're talking two entirely different perspectives in terms of use.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I love nutella, but I wouldn't a 13oz jar of it in one sitting.

      Sometimes too much, is just too damn much.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Hmmmmm... forgiveness might be pending.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Car and Driver (I think) also had a crack at the new Cayenne. What's borrowed from the Panamera is the interior.
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