For 2005, the Porsche Cayenne receives a new base model with a six-speed manual transmission. All models also receive a new standard power latching rear tailgate, new body-coloured front and rear aprons and side door sills, Homelink garage door opener and new Sport Design and Light Comfort option packages.

The Cayenne is available as the V6-powered Cayenne with manual transmission or automatic with Tiptronic manual-mode shift; as the V8-powered Cayenne S; and as the fire-breathing turbocharged V8 Cayenne Turbo. All come with a four-wheel-drive system, which sends 62 per cent of the engine’s power to the rear wheels under normal driving, and can divert up to 100 per cent to the front or rear wheels when needed.

Both V6 Cayenne models includes leather interior, power latching rear tailgate, 17-inch alloy wheels, 12-way power adjustable front seats, laminated privacy glass, manual air conditioning, heated mirrors, power windows, locks and mirrors, CD player with twelve speakers, and air-conditioned glove box.

The Cayenne S adds a Tiptronic automatic transmission, 18-inch wheels, titanium-coloured brake callipers, automatic climate control and a Bose surround sound system.

The Cayenne Turbo adds a specially-tuned Tiptronic transmission, aluminum- and wood-trimmed interior, DVD-based navigation system, bi-Xenon headlights, electrically-adjustable heated steering wheel, heated front seats, metallic paint, tire pressure monitoring system, park assist, full leather interior, full-colour instrument cluster display, silver-finish roof rail mounting system and red-painted brake callipers. The Turbo’s headlamps also use sensors to measure the steering angle and road speed, and adjust the illumination level of an extra bulb in the headlight cluster to provide additional light on curves.

Many Porsche fans were horrified at the thought of that name showing up on an SUV, but dealers complain that they can’t get enough to meet demand. Parts arrive at the assembly factory from several places, including Volkswagen, which supplies the V6’s engine block and partners in the Cayenne’s unit-body chassis.

The base Cayenne makes it a bit easier for buyers to get into a Porsche, but performance is tepid. The naturally-aspirated V8 may be the best of the three, offering good acceleration without the Turbo’s stiff ride and even stiffer price tag. The BMW X5 V6 is priced the same as the Cayenne V6 but with 22 fewer horses; its V8 version is 315 to the Cayenne S’s 340, but it’s $7,100 less. The Volkswagen Touareg’s V6 with automatic transmission is $7,490 and only seven horsepower less than the Cayenne automatic; its V8 version is 30 horses less than the Porsche, but its $11,600 difference ain’t just hay. As far as the Cayenne Turbo goes, only the supercharged $152,450 Mercedes-Benz G55 AMG tops it as Canada’s most expensive SUV.

The Cayenne is assembled in Leipzig, Germany.

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