Five years ago the world wasn't sure if a sport utility vehicle (SUV) from Porsche would be a good thing. As it turned out, the Porsche Cayenne was great for a lot of people. Worldwide sales of the first generation (first gen) Cayenne are running at double the rate of the originally forecasted 20,000 units per year. The momentum from the first gen Cayenne's sales runs prompted PGA Cars (Philippine distributor of Porsche vehicles) to recently launch a new ľ albeit facelifted ľ version of Porsche's four-wheel-drive SUV.

Spice in and out

On all three model variants (Cayenne, Cayenne S and Cayenne Turbo) the front end is divided into three large air intake scoops with black grilles. On the Cayenne and Cayenne S, the front sections are defined by two crossbars fitted horizontally into the outer air intakes and finished in body color. The Cayenne Turbo has a larger middle air intake, clearly positioČning it as the top version within the range.

Lower and wider than before, the headlights are moved further to the outside of the front secČtion, with foglamps placed further down and outside. While on the Cayenne and Cayenne S the turn indicators and parČking lights are integrated vertically around the outer air intake scoops, they are placed horizontally in the upper third of the air intakes on the Cayenne Turbo. The parking lights are formed by a LED (light emitting diode) lights bar.

Inside, the three-spoke steering wheel features (as an option) multifunction controls, two grab handles on the centre tunnel, as well as five clear and easy-to-read instrument dials. With their strongly contoured seat bottoms and headrests integrated in the backrest, the seats are reminiscent of the interior of a sports car. A 1.4-square meter power assisted panoramic roof can be opened either above the first or second row of seats and over both rows for a generous feeling of open air motoring. Other features fitted as standard include an alarm system, tinted heat-insulating glass, power-adjustable front seats and 12-speaker, CD-ready audio entertainment.

The Cayenne offers ample space for five, and luggage capacity with all five seats in position is 540 liters. Fold down the rear seats and loading capacity goes up to 1770 liters, which makes the Cayenne ideal for long out-of-town jaunts.

Spicier performance

Porsche engineers developed a range of new engines for the new Cayenne, enlarging displacement and switching to direct fuel injection. With the latter's charge-cooling effect, higher compression ratios are possible without the risk of detonation, which significantly improves horsepower and torque.

The P 6.35 million base Cayenne is now powered by a 290 hp, 283 lbs ft V6, with a bump in displacement from 3.2 to 3.6 liters. As a result the base Cayenne has a (claimed) 0-80 kph acceleration in the low eight-second bracket. The P 7.8 million Cayenne S also gets similar treatment, with displacement increasing from 4.5 liters to 4.8 liters and the compression ratio increasing to a mind-boggling 12.5:1. A dry-sump lubrication system improves efficiency, while Porsche's VarioCam Plus variable timing extends the power band. Together these changes give the Cayenne S's 4.8-liter V8 385 hp and 369 lbs ft of torque, a significant improvement over the 340 hp and 310 lbs ft of the previous V8.

The most obvious increase in power is on the P 8.9 million Cayenne Turbo. The two turbochargers (one per bank) and a 10.5:1 compression ratio helps give an output of 500 hp and 516 lb-ft of torque, 50hp better than its predecessor.

Both the Cayenne and the Cayenne S tote standard steel spring suspension, while the Cayenne Turbo features air suspension incorporating PASM or Porsche Active Suspension Management. This very special suspension also available as an option on the Cayenne and Cayenne S offers not only adjustable damper control with three different settings, but also the option to lower or raise the entire body of the vehicle to various levels, with the Cayenne thus offering very substantial ground clearance of 10.67 inches for tough off-road conditions.
PASM is now available for the first time together with PDDC (Porsche Dynamic Chassis ConČtrol) as a new option for enhanced anti-roll stability. This infinite anti-roll control system limits body roll in bends and balances out the Cayenne's angle under nearly all driving conditions, with the body showing only a slight movement in very dynamic and sporting situations.

Much like its namesake condiment, the first gen Cayenne spiced up the luxury SUV market with a successful blend of power and comfort. The newest version of Porsche's SUV spice makes the said market segment even hotter.