2011 Porsche Cayenne | road test

Posted on Dec 8, 2011 by

Quick Review

GoodGood Brand value; Improved looks; Handling prowess;
BadBadNo 3rd row; Expensive options list; Pretty but only with accessories; Needs more power
SpecsSpecs300bhp DFI 3.6-litre V6; 8-speed Tiptronic S; front engine; all-wheel drive; 5-seater
PricePriceBase price: Dhs. 249,000; Price as tested: Dhs. 299,100
RatingEditors Rating Three Star

2011 Porsche CayenneBack in 2002 when luxury brands were experimenting with the ‘SUV’, took a leap of faith building the Cayenne. Fortunately, their success was unprecedented. sold over 60,000 units in it’s initial phase, 3 times the estimated figure. The Leipzig plant in Germany eventually rolled out 300,000 units making it their highest selling model of all time. Surprising? Not anymore! But an ugly duckling it was and the best heard excuse was, like some varieties of wine it was an acquired taste. Years on, the bitter remains, the sweet never came.
The Stuttgart based manufacturer is back with V2 of their SUV and allow me to engage you in a conversation, starting where Porsche left half way…the drawing boards!2011 Porsche CayenneSTYLE EYE

Steeped in tradition, Porsche want everything to look like a 911. The new Cayenne though departs slightly from that image with reworked head lamps and rear lights carrying most of the transformation; the child bearing hips remain. The increased wheelbase over its predecessor depicts a truncated body structure with little overhangs. Add to that black 21” Cayenne SportEdition wheels, wheel arch extensions and blacked out side pillars and the Cayenne has started looking its sportiest. Thankfully the interior gets a much needed makeover and resembles the Panamera cabin. The sloping centre console is busy with buttons but it renders some sophistication and Porsche has chosen smooth textured plastic over those leather mimicking ones. Centered, inside the instrument cluster is a tachometer like any other Porsche and besides it is sits a miniature display for navigation etc. You get to choose from 5 shades of leather upholstery and 4 two-tone combinations. Even the car key came painted body colour which BTW was in a shade called “Umber” demonstrating the level of customization you get in a Porsche. 2011 Porsche CayenneENGINE & PERFORMANCE

The upgrade from the 3.2-litre V6 on the E1 Cayenne brightened horizons but the 10bhp gain in the current DFI 3.6-litre V6 over the facelifted E1 model is purely academic. Currently, the spec-sheet reads 300bhp at 6,300 rpm and 400Nm at 3,000 rpm. Several attempts at eclipsing Porsche’s claim of 7.8 seconds from 0 to a ton landed in disappointment; we clocked a slightly dismal 9.3 seconds at best. Greedy we may be, but there is a craving for more power especially when you hand 300 large (AED 300,000) to the dealer; that being said the power is adequate for the daily driver. Overall, the engine lacks refinement when pushed hard but the raspy exhaust note it accompanies makes you keep that foot planted. We never got to do the slam-the-brake test, but the 6-piston matched with 13.8” rotors upfront and 4-piston 13” discs at the rear seem like they can bring a train to halt; no pulling chains necessary.2011 Porsche CayenneRIDE & HANDLING

Cayennes are best on tarmac roads and I repeat, Cayennes are best on road, only! Like a magnetic train the Cayenne sticks, quick in lane changes and stable on high speeding cornering. But the slightly disconnected electro hydraulic power steering washes off some of that Porsche feel for the road. If incase, you are looking to get home in comfort after 6pm, you may prefer other SUVs, the ride is not the softest in the premium SUV category. 11.9 metres is all it takes to turn a circle and that by SUV standard is a tidy limit. The improved approach and departure angles are encouraging but Cayenne is not exactly cut out for dune bashing; the V6 throws in the towel in the early rounds.2011 Porsche CayenneFEATURES & FUNCTIONALITY

The Cayenne is a strict 5-seater, your 6th family member would need to take the metro. The driver and front passengers get 8 way adjustable seats and the rear seats recline and slide fore and aft a few inches suiting a variety of people. They also are split folding in a 40:20:40 fashion accommodating 1780-litres of cargo, up from the 670-litres prior to folding but you don’t get the flat bed you expect. The Power liftgate combined with the air suspension package that lowers ride height makes it easier for loading large & heavy items. Front passenger and rear outer seats are equipped with ISOFIX mounting points for compatible child seats. You can quite easily navigate through the options on 7” PCM screen unlike models from other German brands. The Bose audio is good as is but if it’s not your style, opt for the 1000 Watt 16-speaker Burmester® audio. The Stereo comes with 42 presets, Aux-in and USB port. The optional Porsche Rear Seat Entertainment package includes 2 leather bordered displays with media player and USB port, and 2 wireless infrared headphones, and the Telephone module fitted gets Bluetooth phone connectivity. I didn’t find much use for the Roof railing, the Panoramic glass roof or the electrically deployable towbar but I’m sure you can. It even has a Cooled glove box. Placement of the Hazard button is not the best, maybe that’s just the Porsche’s way of saying nothing will go wrong in the first place.2011 Porsche CayenneFUEL ECONOMY

Porsche claim 23% better economy than its predecessor with mixed cycle figures hovering the 9.9 ltr/100 km mark and CO2 ratings touching 236 g/km. We managed 8.7l/100km on the highways traveling a police-friendly 120km/h. The 85-litre fuel tank theoretically drives you a good 859kms from your port of embarkation; this one had the optional 100-litre tank. The Auto Start-Stop function comes handy, but the on-off strobe light like effect needs getting used to.


The last Cayenne was almost cheap with a base price of AED 185,000.  I’m not sure what good it did to Porsche’s brand value since every Tom, Dick and Harry were out driving one. This one starts at a whooping AED 249,000, leaving the poor man’s biggest buck falling short. Residual value over time is expected to be above average as with the first model. The car comes with a 2-year warranty.2011 Porsche CayenneVERDICT

What Porsche offer is a highly customizable that suits an individual or a family that meshes well with the high fashion lifestyle of the GCC. We at AutoMiddleEast.com prefer the 4.8-litre V8 Cayenne S and say that a cleverly optioned one might be a better deal.
Lucky for Porsche, the buzz surrounding rivals like BMW’s X5 have fizzled while the new Mercedes ML-Class is yet to make emphatic entry. That aside, if your heart is only as big as your budget and you value those few bucks saved on the more fuel efficient V6 Cayenne then you might want to consider the Cayenne’s sister, the VW Touareg which retails at around AED 225,000 (top-spec).2011 Porsche Cayenne
Engine: 3.6-litre DFI V6
Max power (bhp @ rpm): 300bhp @ 6,300 rpm
Max torque (Nm @ rpm): 400Nm @ 3,000 rpm
Transmission: 8-speed Tiptronic S
Drivetrain layout: front engine; AWD
Weight: 2,030kg


0 to 100km/h: 7.8 seconds (claimed)
0 to 160km/h: 19.7 seconds (claimed)
80 to 120km/h: 5.4 seconds (claimed)
0 to 60 km/h 4.2 seconds (tested)
0 to 100 km/h: 9.3 seconds (tested)
80 to 120 km/h: 6.0 seconds (tested)
60 to 120 km/h: 8.0 seconds (tested)
Top Speed: 230km/h (claimed)

Fuel Economy:

Highway @ 120: 9.6l/100km (tested)
Highway @ 100: 7.5l/100km (tested)
Highway @ 80: 6.6l/100km (tested)


Base price: Dhs. 249,000
As tested: Dhs. 299,100

6 Responses to 2011 Porsche Cayenne | road test

  1. Muhammad Nisar Reply

    December 14, 2011 at 11:07 am

    I like it driving to ………..

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