2004 Porsche Cayenne Turbo
2004 Porsche Cayenne Turbo. Click image to enlarge

Review and photos by Grant Yoxon

For most people, $46,300 is a good down payment on a house. But if your means are such that $46,300 seems more like a good down payment on a sport utility vehicle, then it is simply the difference between having an SUV that is fast and having one that is quick as well.

In may sound like I’m mincing words, but by ‘fast’ I mean top speed. In the case of the Porsche Cayenne S and the Porsche Cayenne Turbo, fast is a governed top speed of 244 kilometres per hour and 266 km/h respectively. ‘Quick’ means how long it takes you to get going fast – 7.2 seconds from 0 to 100 kilometres per hour in the case of the Cayenne S and 5.6 seconds to achieve the same velocity in the Cayenne Turbo.

Let’s see. That works out to $28, 937.50 per second.

2004 Porsche Cayenne Turbo

2004 Porsche Cayenne Turbo
2004 Porsche Cayenne Turbo. Click image to enlarge

That may not sound like much of a deal to most of us, but if the Porsche Cayenne is the kind of SUV that fits your budget, then the extra $46,300 is well worth considering.

In fact it may be a whole lot less than $46,300 to step up from fast to quick and fast. Consider that in base trim the Cayenne S is less well equipped than the Cayenne Turbo. Our Cayenne S tester included $16,640 worth of additional options, many of which are included in the price of the quicker Cayenne Turbo. The options bumped the price of the Cayenne S from $78,250 to $94,890.

Heated front seats, for example, an item that is standard equipment on just about every vehicle sold in Canada with leather seats, is an optional extra packaged with a heated steering wheel. The Cayenne Turbo, on the other hand, had heated front and rear seats included in its base price of $125,100.

2004 Porsche Cayenne Turbo
2004 Porsche Cayenne Turbo

2004 Porsche Cayenne S
2004 Porsche Cayenne S
Click image to enlarge

Also included in the base price of the Turbo, but optional on the S is air suspension with Porsche’s active suspension management system ($4,480) and front and rear park assist ($1,380).

And the Cayenne Turbo also had Bi-Xenon headlights with dynamic levelling and cornering adjustment, as well as the Porsche communication management system which incorporates a navigation system, a trip computer and the audio system controls as standard equipment.

Not standard though was the sunroof ($1,540), four-zone air conditioning ($2,370) and the trailer hitch ($830) which bumped up the price of the Cayenne Turbo to $129,840 before taxes and delivery charges.

With high end vehicles, like this pair of Porsches, the base price is just the beginning. Most of the standard and optional features available for the Cayenne Turbo can also be added to the Cayenne S, but at a price. Option out a Cayenne Turbo with soft look leather sport seats, an exterior trim package, roof rack, offroad package, thermally insulated glass, full-size rear mounted spare and the new-for-2005 features like a US $18,500 Tequipment performance upgrade, panoramic roof system and rear back-up camera, and the final tab can reach into the financial stratosphere.

2004 Porsche Cayenne S

2004 Porsche Cayenne S
Click image to enlarge

Before you think, “this is nuts, who in their right mind..,” consider that Porsche sold 1,193 vehicles in Canada in 2002 before the Cayenne went on sale. In 2003, that number jumped to 1,612 and 741 of those vehicles were Cayennes – Cayenne S and Turbo, as the V6 Cayenne wasn’t yet available. That’s right. Without the Cayenne, Porsche sales would have dropped 27% in 2003. Instead, thanks to the Cayenne, sales grew 35%.

Through September, Porsche has sold 759 Cayennes this year, passing 2003’s total with three months left in the year. Of the 759, 382 were S models, while 121 were Turbos.

Whether optional or standard, both of our Cayennes were equipped with the same mechanical features, with the exception of the engine.

Both were equipped with four-wheel-drive traction management, stability control and (optional on the Cayenne S) Porsche’s active suspension management system.

In normal conditions, the traction management system will route 62% of the engine’s power through the transfer case to the rear wheels, 38% to the front. When necessary, up to 100% of engine torque can be transferred to either the front or rear wheels. It is an automatic system that requires no input from the driver.

However, when the going gets rough and the driver selects low range with a switch mounted on the centre console, the system makes off-road calibration adjustments to brake and differential settings. Flicking the switch a second time – when rough becomes tough – locks the centre differential ensuring a 100% front-to-rear wheel lock and disconnects the front and rear anti-roll bars.

2004 Porsche Cayenne S
2004 Porsche Cayenne S. Click image to enlarge

The air suspension (also optional on the Cayenne S) helps in off-road situations, allowing the suspension to be raised up to 273 mm (10.75 in.) for ample ground clearance. The air suspension will also compress the springs to facilitate loading and unloading, or automatically lower the vehicle – in six different levels over 116 mm (4.56 in.) as speed increases to improve high-speed stability.

Our testing was limited for the most part to twisty paved and gravel roads where both Cayennes proved to be surprisingly good handling vehicles despite their relatively high centre of gravity.
The active suspension management system allows the driver to select damper settings from comfortable to firm, but when the driver’s style changes from slow and easy to sporty, the system will automatically firm up the dampers. Don’t expect Porsche sports car handling, but do expect handling better than most SUVs on the market.

2004 Porsche Cayenne S

2004 Porsche Cayenne S

2004 Porsche Cayenne S
2004 Porsche Cayenne S. Click image to enlarge

If you forget that this Porsche is not a sports car, the Cayenne’s stability management system will help out with an army of interventions to keep the vehicle going in the right direction and on the road. Stability management will open differential locks, apply the brakes on individual wheels and adjust the ignition timing and throttle as required to stabilize the vehicle.

If this isn’t enough (and hopefully it would be), the Cayenne has front, front seat side and side curtain airbags, as well as three-point seat belts equipped with belt latch pretensioners in the outboard seating positions.

So much for similarities. The big difference between the Cayenne S and Turbo is under the hood. Both are powered by a 4.5-litre aluminum block V-8 with 32-valves. Porsche’s VarioCam technology adjusts the intake camshafts as much as 25 degrees to ensure optimum torque and fuel efficiency.

In naturally aspirated mode, as found in the Cayenne S, this engine will develop 340 horsepower and 310 pound-feet of torque. Add in two turbochargers, as is the case with the Cayenne Turbo, and power jumps to 450 hp at 6000 r.p.m. and 457 lb-ft of torque consistently from 2,250 r.p.m. to 4,750 r.p.m.

Both engines are connected to a 6-speed automatic transmission that allows manual shifting. Tow rating for both is a hefty 3,500 kilograms (7,716 pounds) and load capacity is 3,080 kg (6,790 lbs), although it may be difficult stuffing that much stuff into the Cayenne’s relatively small cargo area.

2004 Porsche Cayenne Turbo
2004 Porsche Cayenne Turbo. Click image to enlarge

The Cayenne S is a strong accelerator from almost any speed except stopped. Get the S rolling, step on the gas and the Cayenne will rocket with a hearty sports car growl and smooth shifts well beyond any rationale speed if you are not paying attention. A merge lane is an invitation to 160 km/h freeway entry speeds unless one exercises restraint.

The Cayenne’s weight – 2,245 kg (4,949 lbs.) in S trim – may be a factor in relatively sluggish off the line acceleration.

But twin turbochargers cure that, as the Cayenne Turbo was not only quick off the merge lane, but quick off the line as well. With zero to 100 km/h times estimated at 5.6 seconds, there are not too many four-wheel-drive vehicles that can come close (perhaps Mercedes-Benz’s $152,000 G55 AMG would be a match).

Both the Porsche Cayenne S and Cayenne Turbo are capable, multi-purpose and fast SUVs, but with the Cayenne Turbo add quick to the list of adjectives.

What’s new for 2005

  • standard six-speed manual transmission on V-6

  • standard electronically latching rear tailgate
  • reprogrammed air suspension for more comfortable ride at softest setting
  • Porsche Tequipment upgrade – increases Turbo output to 500 hp and 515 lb.-ft. of torque
  • optional panorama roof system
  • optional rear back-up camera
  • optional exterior SportDesign package

Technical Data: 2004 Porsche Cayenne S and Cayenne Turbo

  Cayenne S Cayenne Turbo
Base price $78,250 $125,100
Options Titanium metallic paint ($650); 18-inch Turbo wheels ($210); air suspension ($4,480); trailer hitch ($830); moonroof ($1,540); stone/steel grey smooth leather seating ($4,480); heated front seats and steering wheel ($600); front and rear park assist ($1,380); 4-zone air conditioning ($2,370) Moonroof ($1,540); 4-zone air conditioning ($2,370); trailer hitch ($830)
Freight $1,045 $1045
A/C tax $100 $100
Price as tested $95,935 $130,985
Type Permanent four-wheel-drive luxury SUV Permanent four-wheel-drive luxury SUV
Engine 4.5 litre V-8, aluminum block and heads, 32-valves, variable valve timing 4.5 litre V-8, twin turbochargers, aluminum block and heads, 32-valves, variable valve timing
Horsepower 340 hp @ 6,000 rpm 450 hp @ 6,000 rpm
Torque 310 lb.-ft. at 2,500 – 5,500 rpm 457 lb.-ft. @ 2,250 – 4,750 rpm
Transmission Six-speed Tiptronic S automatic transmission Six-speed Tiptronic S automatic transmission
Tires 255/65R18 255/65R18
Curb weight 2,245 kg (4,949 lbs.) 2,355 kg (5,192 lbs.)
Wheelbase 2,855 mm (112.4 in.) 2,855 mm (112.4 in.)
Length 4,782 mm (188.3 in.) 4,782 mm (188.3 in.)
Width 1,928 mm (75.9 in.) 1,928 mm (75.9 in.)
Height 1,699 mm (66.9 in.) 1,699 mm (66.9 in.)
Standard ground clearance 217 mm (8.45 in.)  
Minimum ground clearance 157 mm (6.18 in.) 157 mm (6.18 in.)
Maximum ground clearance 273 mm (10.75 in.) 273 mm (10.75 in.)
Cargo space 540.85 litres (19.1 cu.ft.) behind rear seat 540.85 litres (19.1 cu.ft.) behind rear seat
Fuel consumption City: 17.1 L/100 km (17 mpg) City: 18.3 L/100 km (15 mpg)
  Hwy: 12.7 L/100 km (22 mpg) Hwy: 12.8 L/100 km (22 mpg)
Fuel type Premium Premium
Warranty 4 years/80,000 km 4 years/80,000 km

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