2006 Cayenne New Car Test Drive
Four years after its introduction, the Porsche Cayenne has become part of the automotive landscape. The car-buying public has demonstrated its appreciation of the Porsche brand beyond the company's familiar sports cars by purchasing them in numbers far beyond expectation.
The five-passenger SUV is technically slick and remarkably fast, as Porsches are supposed to be, with on-road handling that belies (though does not defy) its mass. The Cayenne also delivers what most SUV buyers demand: more cargo space than the typical sedan, more than enough capability for off-highway use and impressive towing capacity. For style, pure performance and a balance of sport-utility virtues, the Porsche Cayenne is tough to beat.
Porsche didn't sit still after the Cayenne's launch in 2003, adding a V6 drivetrain that opened the model to a larger group of buyers and more useful standard equipment and option packages. For 2006, in synch with its philosophy of adding even more power during a model's life cycle, Porsche offers the 510-horsepower Cayenne Turbo S, which takes the concept of a SUV muscle car to a highly rewarding extreme.
New features for 2006 include a new ignition key with separate lock and unlock buttons; new front airbag technology; an electronic logbook; an update to the Porsche Communication Management system that allows it to play MP3-encoded CDs; and a cellphone module that hooks into PCM. Optional equipment includes Offroad Navigation that lets drivers trace their way back to a starting point, even when the area doesn't appear on the nav's system's internal map. Wider rear 20-inch SportTechno wheels, an independent interior pre-heating and pre-ventilation system, new Dark Olive Metallic exterior paint, a new Sand Beige leather-wrapped steering wheel and seats with the Porsche crest embossed on the headrests are among other new options.
Like many Porsches, the Porsche of SUVs can be very expensive. An abundance of options means a fully loaded Cayenne Turbo S cracks the $125,000 barrier, and even the V6's fully equipped price reaches far beyond its $42,200 base price. Yet whichever powertrain sits beneath the bodywork, the Cayenne will be truly appreciated by those SUV buyers with exacting demands or unshakable brand loyalty.
The 2006 Porsche Cayenne model line spans five variants. All models come standard with full-time all-wheel drive with a high and low range.
The Cayenne ($42,200) is powered by a V6 producing 250 horsepower and comes standard with a six-speed manual transmission or a six-speed automatic transmission with Tiptronic ($3,000). Leather seating with 12-way power adjustment comes standard, along with titanium interior trim; manually controlled climate control with charcoal and micro-particle cabin filtration; heated retractable exterior mirrors; multi-function trip computer; 12-speaker stereo with CD; air conditioned glove compartment; cruise control; insulated laminated privacy glass; Homelink; immobilizer anti-theft alarm; and an electronically latching tailgate.
The Cayenne S ($57,200) comes with Porsche's 4.5-liter dohc V8 engine that delivers 340 horsepower and the Tiptronic automatic. The normally aspirated Cayenne S and adds automatic climate control with dual front-passenger settings and a 350-watt, 14-speaker Bose stereo.
The Cayenne Turbo ($90,200) features a twin-turbocharged version of the V8 rated at 450 horsepower. The Turbo also adds adjustable air suspension with Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM), a variable damping system that uses five accelerometers and electronically controlled adjustable shocks to manage body weight transfer both on and off road. The Turbo includes upgrades such as heated front and rear seats, electric steering wheel adjustment and park-assist radar warning front and rear. It's equipped with Porsche Communications Management (PCM), a GPS navigation system with integrated telephone and audio controls. Finally, the Cayenne Turbo has bi-xenon headlights that turn with the steering wheel.
The new Cayenne Turbo S ($111,600) pumps up the action with a 520-hp version of the twin-turbo V8 mated to the six-speed Tiptronic gearbox. It's equipped in similar fashion to the Turbo but has larger brakes, recalibrated suspension and engine management electronics and sports 20-inch wheels in place of the Turbo's 19-inchers.
Most everything on the Turbo and Turbo S (except the twin turbos) is offered as options on Cayenne and Cayenne S. Among them: the air suspension with PASM ($2,990), wood trim packages of various hues ($1,385), front and rear park assist ($990), a trailer hitch and ball ($630) and 20-inch wheels. Seat upgrades and a full Smooth Leather package that covers everything from grab handles to the center console in hide ($3,040) are available. Porsche Entry and Drive ($995) allows a driver to unlock and start the Cayenne by pulling the door handle and touching the shift lever, while leaving the keys in his pocket or her purse. Cayenne offers factory installed satellite radio, with a choice between XM or Sirius systems, and there are also SportDesign and Black Monochrome Exterior packages. Porsche's factory customization program allows buyers to order a Cayenne however they want it, limited only by imagination.
Safety features on all models include electronic stability control, traction control and the latest-generation antilock brakes. Six airbags come standard: dual-stage front (newest generation for 2006) and side-impact airbags for front passengers, and curtain-style head protection airbags on both sides of the cabin. All five seating positions have three-point belts with pretensioners to instantly tighten them and limit stretching on impact. The front belts also have automatic force limiters, reducing potential for belt-related injuries.