With the ability to dash to 60 mph in less than five seconds, the Porsche Cayenne is as much a sports car as it is an SUV. Pure driving pleasure is the top priority for this family hauler, so the fact that it can carry up to five passengers and piles of gear is simply icing on the cake.
You'll Like The 2013 Porsche Cayenne If...
Don't let its utilitarian shape fool you, because the 2013 Cayenne is all Porsche. That said, the Cayenne is the ideal choice for any sports car enthusiast who needs the additional versatility and cargo space of an SUV.
You May Not Like The 2013 Porsche Cayenne If...
The Cayenne's competitively low (under $50,000) starting price is offset by a comparatively short roster of standard equipment and pricey options. Moreover, if you need to carry more than five passengers, consider the 7-passenger Mercedes-Benz GL-Class, Audi Q7 or the Infiniti JX.
A new diesel variant joins the Cayenne lineup for 2013, and earns its place as one of the most fuel-efficient mid-size SUVs on the market. In addition, the current Cayenne Turbo relinquishes the top spot in the Cayenne range to the new 550-horsepower Turbo S (available Spring 2013).
The cabin's sumptuous, finely stitched leather and overlays of wood and metal bear a passing resemblance to the up-market Porsche Panamera. In addition to a sliding and reclining seat, rear passengers are kept entertained with a pair of accessory LCD screens housed in the front headrests. Like all of Porsche's current offerings, the Cayenne's cockpit is filled with enough buttons, knobs and other controls to make a fighter pilot feel right at home. And while that might sound overwhelming at first, operating conventional interior controls is far less distracting than sifting through a series of complicated on-screen menus.
An abundance of muscular curves and a forward-leaning rear window convey the Cayenne's purpose of speed, even while standing still. Big brake calipers peeking through the wheel spokes also relay this Porsche's sporting ambitions. Black calipers are reserved for the base V6 and Diesel models, silver for Cayenne S or Cayenne S Hybrid, and red for both the high-performance GTS and Turbo models. The high-end ceramic brake option sports a yellow-painted setup. Up front, we like the larger trapezoidal grille of the Cayenne Turbo and its four exhaust outlets at the rear.
The current, 2nd-generation Cayenne is far more Porsche-like in translating driver input into action when compared to its predecessor. With the ability to leap from 0-60 mph in 4.4 seconds and reach a top speed of over 172 mph, the Cayenne Turbo sets the benchmark for performance SUVs. But even in base form, the Cayenne outfitted with a manual transmission is hardly a performance slouch. The Porsche Cayenne Hybrid is also impressive on the track, but in normal driving conditions, it suffers from brake and throttle quirks typical of some hybrid vehicles. Our favorite member of the group is the new Cayenne Diesel, which offers much of the stirring performance of its petrol-burning siblings while delivering well over 30 mpg on the highway, according to our road test data.
A base 2013 Porsche Cayenne with a manual transmission carries a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of just under $50,000. Adding the 8-speed automatic transmission tacks an additional $3,000 to the bottom line. The new Cayenne Diesel opens at $58,000, while the range-topping Porsche Turbo S comes in around $147,000. The 2013 Cayenne shares a similar starting price with its BMW and Mercedes-Benz rivals. To see what others in your area are currently paying for the Porsche Cayenne, take a look at KBB.com's Fair Purchase Price at the bottom of this page. On the resale front, the 2013 Cayenne is expected to retain a respectable percentage of its original value after 5-years of ownership, but unable to match the strong values set by the BMW X5 and the 7-Passenger Audi Q7.
The 2013 Porsche Cayenne is offered in seven trim levels: Base, Diesel, S, S Hybrid, GTS, Turbo and Turbo S. Base models include all-wheel drive, water-repellent front side windows, a height-adjustable power liftgate, rain-sensing windshield wipers and a 10-speaker audio system with a 7-inch touch screen. For improved fuel economy in the city, every Cayenne equipped with an automatic transmission includes a start/stop function that automatically switches off the engine when the vehicle comes to a complete stop, then restarts once the brake pedal is released. Safety comes in the form of six airbags, a full suite of electronic stability aids, and complimentary roadside assistance through the duration of the warranty.
For those who wish to take the Cayenne's already impressive handling abilities to the next level, we recommend opting for Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control (PDCC), which increases or relaxes sway control depending on the selected drive mode. If your tastes run to exceptional sound quality, the 1,000-watt, 16-speaker Burmester audio system is capable of satisfying even the fussiest audiophiles. In-vehicle connectivity, once the Achilles' heel of Porsche, is available on the 2013 Cayenne via the Aha Radio smartphone application, which offers a variety of customizable news, music and social networking services.
PORSCHE TORQUE VECTORING PLUS
Porsche's available PTV Plus torque-vectoring system sends additional power to the appropriate outside rear wheel when cornering, helping the Cayenne track truer to steering input. When combined with active suspension management and dynamic chassis control, PTV Plus makes the Cayenne feel like a lightweight sports car instead of an SUV.
CERAMIC COMPOSITE BRAKES
At nearly $9,000, the optional ceramic-composite brakes are anything but cheap. But shorter braking distances, better fade resistance and rotor lifespan of up to 200,000 miles are very real benefits.
Under the Hood
Seven engine options are available in the 2013 Porsche Cayenne, beginning with the 300-horsepower 3.8-liter V6 linked to a 6-speed manual transmission or, as with every other model in the lineup, an 8-speed Tiptronic automatic. The new Cayenne Diesel gets its motivation from a highly efficient, torque-rich turbocharged V6. Moving up to the Cayenne S brings a 400-horsepower naturally aspirated V8, while GTS models receive a retuned version good for 420 horsepower. The Cayenne S Hybrid employs a 333-hp supercharged 3.0-liter V6 along with two electric motors that add 47 horsepower to the equation. At the top of the lineup are the Porsche Cayenne Turbo and the Turbo S, which deliver a whopping 500 and 550 horsepower, respectively.
300 horsepower @ 6,300 rpm
295 lb-ft of torque @ 3,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 15/22 mpg (manual), 16/23 mpg (automatic)
3.0-liter turbocharged diesel V6
240 horsepower @ 3,500-4,000 rpm
406 lb-ft of torque @ 1,750-2,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 19/29 mpg
400 horsepower @ 6,500 rpm
369 lb-ft of torque @ 3,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 16/22 mpg
3.0-liter supercharged V6 + two electric motors
380 horsepower @ 5,500 rpm (net system horsepower)
427 lb-ft of torque @ 1,000 rpm (net system torque)
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 20/24 mpg
420 horsepower @ 6,500 rpm
380 lb-ft of torque @ 3,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 15/21 mpg
4.8-liter twin turbocharged V8
500 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
516 lb-ft of torque @ 2,250-4,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 16/22 mpg
4.8-liter twin-turbocharged V8
550 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
553 lb-ft of torque @ N/A rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: N/A
Arguably the sportiest SUV on the market, the 2013 Porsche Cayenne is the ultimate compromise between performance and utility. And, unlike many performance-oriented luxury SUVs, the Porsche Cayenne is a proficient off-roader. In terms of capability, every Cayenne can tow as much as 7,716 pounds and comfortably accommodate up to five passengers, with room to spare. The 2013 lineup is comprised of seven unique trims, ranging from the new fuel-efficient Cayenne Diesel to the ferocious 550-horsepower Turbo S. It faces stiff competition from the BMW X5, Mercedes-Benz M-Class and, to a lesser extent, the larger Audi Q7, none of which can match the wide-ranging list of positives offered by the Porsche Cayenne.