2011 Porsche Cayenne Preview

Quick Overview

  • All-new design
  • 6-cylinder (300 horsepower) and 8-cylinder (400 or 500horsepower)gasoline models
  • Standard all-wheel drive
  • 5-passenger seating capacity
  • All-new 8-speed automatic transmission
  • Due in summer 2010

Green Facts

  • Porsche'sfirst 6-cylinder hybrid-electric model
  • Nearly 400 pounds lighter than its predecessor
  • Promises improved fuel economy
  • Cayenne S Hybrid: supercharged 3.0-liter 6-cylinder with47-horsepowerelectric motor
  • Cayenne S Hybrid: 380 system horsepower and 427 lb.-ft. of torque

Introduction

The first-generation Porsche Cayenne, the automaker's first sportutility vehicle, dates back to the 2003model year. Originally shunnedby Porsche enthusiasts-who thought it was blasphemy that a traditionalsports car maker would build a truck-the 5-passenger SUV was developedalongside Volkswagen'sTouareg, and the two models shared many commoncomponents, including the chassis.

Regardless of the admonishment by Porsche purists, the automaker'ssport utility was a sales success in its many variants (and eventuallyoutsold the iconic 911).The "second-generation" Cayennearrived in2007. While it wasn't an all-new design, the heavily reworked modelcarried significant upgrades, including a revised body design andupgraded engines.

An all-new Porsche Cayenne has arrived for 2011. The German automaker'sobjectives were to deliver performance, improved fuel economy, andutility in one concise package. The completely redesigned model returnsback to traditional Porsche styling-complete with fenders higher thanthe hood (reminiscent of the Porsche 911), black C-pillars, and adriver-focused interior modeled after the Porsche Panamera sedan.

The 2011 Porsche Cayenne is due in showrooms in July 2010.

Overview

While it again shares engineering with the Volkswagen Touareg, thePorsche utilizes lighter materials and more powerful engines todifferentiate it from its close relative-while still delivering betterfuel economy than the outgoing model, according to Porsche. Thewheelbase has been lengthened, in an effort to improve ride and delivermore interior room, and more luxurious materials are found in thecabin. Realizing that most consumers never took advantage of thecapable off-road system on the old model, Porsche fitted the lighter(and just as capable) all-wheel-drive system from the Panamera underthe Cayenne. All told, the new car is nearly 400 pounds lighter thanits predecessor.

When it arrives, the 2011 Porsche Cayenne will be offered in twodifferent models: Cayenne S and Cayenne Turbo. Later in the year, theautomaker will introduce the Cayenne (6-cylinder) and Cayenne SHybridmodels-the first production hybrid from Porsche.

The Cayenne will be powered by a direct-injected, 3.6-liter 6-cylinderengine rated at 300 horsepower. Cayenne S models feature a larger,4.8-liter 8-cylinder engine rated at 400 horsepower. The flagshipCayenne Turbo is fitted with a twin-turbocharged, 4.8-liter 8-cylinderpowerplant rated at 500 horsepower. All engines are mated to an all-new8-speed automatic transmission with manual shift modes (the standard6-cylinder Cayenne can be ordered with a 6-speed manual transmission).

The Porsche Cayenne S Hybrid combines a supercharged, 3.0-liter6-cylinder engine with a 47-horsepower electric motor to deliver 380system horsepower and 427 lb.-ft. of torque (nearly the sameperformance as the Cayenne S model and its 8-cylinder engine).

While official EPA fuel-economy numbers have not been released on anyof the models, Porsche says the new Cayenne delivers double-digitpercentage increases in fuel economy thanks to technology such as "AutoStart Stop" (which shuts down the engine when the vehicle comes to astop and then automatically starts it when the accelerator is pressed),the new 8-speed transmission, better thermal management of the engine(cooling doesn't start until the engine is fully warm), an alternatorthat charges only under deceleration, and extensive use of aluminum inthe vehicle construction.

Technology

The outgoing Porsche Cayenne was known for its robust all-wheel-drivesystem complete with a low-range transfer case (for crawling veryslowly in rough terrain). Porsche has replaced the system with a muchlighter system on the 2011 model that is able to automatically transfer100 percent of the engine's torque to the front or rear wheelsautomatically, the company says. (When driving on flat ground, nearlyall of the power goes to the rear wheels to improve fuel economy).

The low-range transfer case won't be missed, says Porsche, because thenew first gear (of the 8-speed transmission) is low enough to do thejob. Furthermore, there are multi-stage cockpit-controlled automaticdifferential locks that prevent the power from being lost to aneedlessly spinning wheel.