2011 Porsche Cayenne S
2011 Porsche Cayenne S. Click image to enlarge

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2011 Porsche Cayenne

Birmingham, Alabama – When the Porsche Cayenne was first launched eight years ago, Porsche was crucified by purists as a “sellout” for producing an SUV and straying from their niche of sports cars.

Those who did the crucifying probably hadn’t had a chance to sit behind the wheel of this vehicle, nor did they have the business sense that Porsche had. The Cayenne has turned out to be the all-time best selling Porsche, with over 280,000 vehicles sold worldwide (5,831 in Canada) since its launch. That has rocketed Porsche into profitability, paving the way for future development.

2011 Porsche Cayenne S
2011 Porsche Cayenne S. Click image to enlarge

For 2011, the Porsche Cayenne is all-new. Porsche had a few well-defined goals for this new incarnation: improve fuel efficiency for the entire model range, create a platform with more space and better utility, and retain its best-in-class performance philosophy.

The new Cayenne is available in four trims: base(V6), S (V8), S Hybrid, and Turbo. The S version has a base price of $76,000 and should be at your local Porsche dealership now, along with the 500-hp Turbo model, which has a starting price-tag of $123,900. Arriving early late September 2010, the Cayenne V6 will start at $58,200. The S Hybrid, Porsche’s first production Hybrid vehicle, will also be available for an early fall delivery with a starting price of $80,800.

The changes for 2011 start with styling updates that make the new Cayenne look more compact and sportier than the previous generation, despite having a 40 mm (1.6 in.) longer wheelbase and 50 mm (2 in.) increase in overall length. A more pronounced “V” shape in the front lends to visually larger front fenders which simulate the look of the 911, while the rear fenders give the Cayenne a wider and more attractive stance than the first generation. As part of Porsche’s effort to reduce fuel consumption they have reduced the weight of the Cayenne by 180 kg (396 lb.). Most of this reduction has come from the body itself (111 kg/244 lb.) and achieved mainly through the use of aluminum for the front fenders, hood, rear hatch and door panels.

2011 Porsche Cayenne S
2011 Porsche Cayenne S
2011 Porsche Cayenne S. Click image to enlarge

Inside, a high centre console – first seen in the original Carrera GT and now a signature element in the new Panamera – rises up at an incline to meet the dashboard centre stack to provide a cockpit-like environment up front. The centre console grab handles that were present in the original Cayenne are still there, yet with a new design that is carried over to all four doors.

Standard features now include Bluetooth telephone connectivity and the universal audio interface to connect an external audio source such as an iPod or a USB stick with the Porsche Communication Management (PCM) system.

Also offered in the new Cayenne are a range of systems to help the driver, including Porsche Dynamic Light System (PDLS) that aids road visibility as speed changes, and Lane Change Assistant (LCA) that monitors the adjacent lanes and warns the driver by illuminating LEDs in the exterior mirrors as soon as another vehicle enters the blind spots or approaches rapidly from behind within a range of 55 metres (180 ft.). Cruise control is standard equipment on all Cayenne models. Customers can also opt for the optional radar controlled Adaptive Cruise Control system.

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