2011 Porsche Cayenne S vs. 2011 Infiniti FX50S

2011 Porsche Cayenne S

2011 Porsche Cayenne S

2011 Infiniti FX50 S

2011 Infiniti FX50 S

These two cars are extraordinary.

There’s just no other way to describe family trucksters that can bomb to 60 mph faster than any readily available sports car could just a few decades ago—and darn near as fast as even the swiftest sports cars on the market today (we’ll presume a similar price bracket for that analogy).

This feat alone wouldn’t be very astonishing—SEMA is ground zero if you want to see Ford F-150s and Escalades ‘roided out with V-8 muscle. Making these respective crossovers corner as if they sat two feet closer to the ground—say, like a 911 or a G37—is why the Porsche and Infiniti are simply astonishing.

2011 Porsche Cayenne S

2011 Porsche Cayenne S

I raced around Porsche’s test track in the Cayenne; and blasted back roads in the Infiniti. Insane. That was the word a friend in the passenger seat used to describe the sensation of the FX carving up blacktop with endless grip, aural V-8 roar, and awe-inspiring confidence. I would use the same word (and several more I won’t type) to describe how splendid—and completely mindbogglingly adept—the new Cayenne feels.

Which is better? Mostly, it depends not on these two vehicles, but on the personality of the buyer.

Lean Red Meat

When Porsche went back to the drawing board on the totally new, 2011 Cayenne, its biggest goal was to shed pounds from what everyone called an overweight vehicle, given its five-seat capacity and (at the time) not huge cargo bay. Unsprung weight (everything below the suspension), which is a huge enemy of handling, went on a big diet, but Porsche also excised bloat from doors, de-porked cabin materials, and took a big chunk out of the AWD system (while also making it more sophisticated for on-road driving). 400 whopping pounds later, the Porsche Cayenne S, which don’t forget still has a 4.8-liter V-8, tips the scales at 4,553 lbs. Not exactly waifish, but that’s nearly 200 lbs. lighter than the Infiniti, and within its class of fleet crossovers (Mercedes, Audi and BMW pose the best competition to this pair) the Porsche is positively flyweight.

In fact, that engine, while smaller than Infiniti’s 5.0 liter V-8, boasts better horsepower (400hp at 6,500rpm vs. 390hp at 6,500 rpm). Torque is dead equal: 369 ft. lbs. at 4,400rpm for the Infiniti vs. the same 369, but at a lower, 3,500rpm. Most buff books say the Infiniti is a little faster to 60mph, with a low five-second time (vs. Porsche’s own, likely conservative figure of 5.6 seconds). You could call that close enough that you might only find the difference on a drag strip.

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