2015 Porsche Cayenne S Quick Spin
More Than Just A Sporty SUV
EngineTwin-Turbo 3.6L V6
Power420 HP / 406 LB-FT
0-60 Time5.1 Seconds
Top Speed161 MPH
Curb Weight4,597 LBS
Cargo62.9 CU-FT (max)
MPG17 City / 24 HWY
As Tested Price$104,135
The Cayenne S replaces the old, 400-horsepower, 4.8-liter V8 with the brand-new, Porsche-developed 3.6-liter twin-turbo V6. This engine is quickly proliferating through the range – it powers the current Panamera S and the Macan Turbo. That former 4.8-liter started life as a 4.5-liter with 350 horsepower way back in 2002, specifically developed for the Cayenne, and to the end it remained a potent engine. We tried the new forced-induction V6 with 420 hp earlier this year in the Panamera S, and other than a soggy exhaust note it maintained the character of the former V8 sport sedan, with lusty power and hasty delivery. So, how's it do in the Cayenne?
- The Cayenne S version of the TT V6 gets 420 hp and 406 pound-feet of torque. That means there's 37 more lb-ft than the previous V8, and 22 more lb-ft than in the new Panamera S. Yet the 607-pound difference in curb weight between the Panamera and Cayenne means the V6 has a heavier load to lift here. And it shows – the instant response is dulled.
- Stomping the right foot gets the eight-speed transmission rappelling through gears to provide a little kick, but real gumption doesn't come until the turbos kick in. We're maybe talking about a second of pause compared to the Panamera, but a noticeable second. Perhaps a small price to pay for slightly better fuel economy, if you really care about such in your 420-hp SUV.
- Part of why we notice that second is that the Cayenne S is so right-now everywhere else that any perceived hesitation gets extra attention. It offers a specific adjustability that many sports cars don't have, with one button adjusting the three-mode air suspension and a separate Sport button tweaking the steering, throttle, gear changes, and traction control.
- With Sport keeping all the horses at the ready and the optional Porsche Torque Vectoring holding things steady, you don't need to step up to the GTS trim to get immediate acceleration, crisp steering, flat cornering at very un-SUV-like speeds, and tremendous stopping power from a total of 20 brake pistons.
- That said, the exhaust note here could also use a shot of Bruce Banner's gamma rays.
- Red cabins generally turn me off – it's too much like the insides of the cows that provided the leather, and more than a little "Redrum." But the cabin in the Cayenne S tester earned a pass for reasons I can't define; it is seductively built and detailed, and let's be honest, it's nicer than you'll find in most versions of the 911 including the Turbo S. Even the steering wheel is beautiful, and the rim has a planed face that we've never encountered before. The gorgeous seats required practiced technique for climbing over so that we weren't impaled on the impressive bolsters.
- But wow, that's a lot of buttons on the center console. Sit in the back seat, lean over to view the forward cabin, and your first thought will probably be, "I wonder if the captain will give me a tour of the cockpit." It's pretty, but it's busy. We memorized the location of the five buttons we actually used and ignored the rest after pressing them all exactly once.
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