Porsche purists may scream “blasphemy” when it comes to the 2013 Porsche Cayenne SUV, but there’s no denying that it’s been a major hit for the German manufacturer. In the United States, the Cayenne regularly out-sells all other models in the Porsche lineup, and its success has even spawned the creation of a smaller crossover vehicle, the Macan, due in 2013.
Check your preconceived notions at the door, and the Cayenne gives buyers a lot to like. It’s distinctively styled, with a definite family resemblance to models ranging from the 911 through the Panamera, and that represents a clear departure from the traditional box-on-box school of SUV design. It’s available with a wide variety of powertrains, including a new-for-2013 diesel model, the returning Cayenne Hybrid and our favorite, the fire-breathing Cayenne Turbo. The interior is hardly standard SUV fare, either, since the Cayenne serves up a sports-car-like cockpit that doesn’t short buyers on luxury.
If you’re shopping for a Cayenne, the first decision is which of the six models best suit your needs and your budget. The base model comes with a 300-horsepower 3.6-liter V-6 engine, and can serve up a 0-60 time of 7.1 seconds with the six-speed manual gearbox (or 7.4 seconds with the six-speed Tiptronic automatic). Next comes the all-new Cayenne Diesel, powered by a 3.0-liter turbodiesel rated at 240 horsepower and 406 pound-feet of torque, followed by the 4.8-liter V-8 equipped Cayenne S, good for 400 horsepower.
The Cayenne Hybrid checks in next, blending a supercharged 3.0-liter V-6 engine with an electric motor for a combined output of 380 horsepower. Those seeking performance will probably be happiest with the 4.8-liter, 420 horsepower Cayenne GTS or the top dog of the product line, the twin-turbo 4.8-liter V-8 Cayenne Turbo, rated at 500 horsepower. Above base trim, the standard transmission on all Cayenne models is a paddle-shifted, eight-speed automatic.
Each version of the Cayenne manages to achieve a slightly different feel inside, too, with an analog clock being added to all models for 2013. Even base versions come well-equipped and blessed with seating that is both comfortable and supportive, and interior fit and finish is of Porsche’s usual quality. As you’d expect from an SUV, head room isn’t an issue, and even second-row leg room is generous enough to keep most passengers happy. Opt for one of the sportier Cayenne models, and you’ll sacrifice some ride comfort for improved handling (though the optional Porsche Adaptive Suspension Management helps here), so be certain to test drive the model you’re interested in before placing an order. If you’re going that route, be prepared to spend some time working with your Porsche dealer; as with other models in the family, the list of available options and configurations is seemingly endless.
The range of Cayenne pricing is equally vast, with base models starting in the area of $50,000. Go heavy on the options on a Cayenne Turbo, and you may find yourself looking at a sticker price north of $150,000, so be sure your clearly identify needs versus wants before heading down to your Porsche dealer.
For more details on the 2013 Porsche Cayenne models, see our comprehensive review on The Car Connection