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2009 Porsche Cayenne Turbo S
2009 Porsche Cayenne V6 (top); 2009 Porsche Cayenne Turbo S. Click image to enlarge

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2009 Porsche Cayenne

Meet the Cayenne and the Cayenne Turbo S, or as I’ve come to know them, Too Much and Waaaaaaaaay Too Much.

Call me a rubber room resident, but there’s something strangely whacked about spending in excess of 60 large for the automotive equivalent of a bungalow’s mud room. For Joe and Jane Threekids, the usual sport ‘ute offering becomes, in very short order, ‘soiled’. To think that their SUV requires 0 to 96 KPH blasts of 4.7 seconds (Turbo S) or even 7.5 seconds (Cayenne V6) may seem wholly insignificant when the cupholder fails to hold the juice box, or the Alcantara-clad headliner cannot support a rear LCD drop-down display worthy of displaying the shenanigans that occur in Bikini Bottom.

Is the Cayenne the epitome of ‘Why?’ in the land of sport utility? Hardly. The Sixties are thick with higher-end SUV’s, and the upper echelon is by no means ruled by Stuttgart for MSRP. The concept of going anywhere and doing it in uber-style is very much alive, even as my credit rating jumps a notch above that of the planet at large.

2009 Porsche Cayenne Turbo S
2009 Porsche Cayenne Turbo S
2009 Porsche Cayenne Turbo S
2009 Porsche Cayenne Turbo S
Top to bottom: 2009 Porsche Cayenne Turbo S; 2009 Porsche Cayenne V6; 2009 Porsche Cayenne Turbo S. Click image to enlarge

The purpose of this particular Inside Story comparo is to ask which Cayenne makes the most sense for daily ownership. The recent V6 tester, with an MSRP of $68,110, or the take-no-prisoners Turbo S, priced at $155,220. (Prices shown do not include freight, taxes, or regional incentives.)

Performance

Hmmmm. 550 horsepower or 290 ponies-a-plenty? What the twin-turbo V8 adds in obvious thrust, the 3.6 litre V6 is by no means a slouch, even under load conditions. On the practical side, note the tight fit of the 4.8-litre twin-turbo mill in the Turbo S. The V6 may seem just as snug, but it should be noted that you can actually see sub-basement daylight when you peer into the V6 engine bay. There are those who may argue that those who can afford it can also afford to service it, but I for one put forth the concept that the highest priced vehicles in one’s stable should have improvements to service accessibility, instead of obstacles.

The Turbo S adds the Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control as standard fare, which includes adjustable shock damping, Sport mode performance mapping, and the ability to lower and raise the vehicle ride height for accessibility concerns, whether the obstacle be boulders or parkade clearance signs. The Turbo S stops as fast as it launches, with massive multi-piston calipers and brake discs that could shadow the rim/tire combo of a Ford Festiva. So, one could deduce that the V6 Cayenne has all the handling love of a Festiva. In reality, the V6 loves to be thrown around just as much as the Turbo S in the twisties, with the same rear axle-heavy power distribution, and the Oh-No-You-Don’t sensibility of the Porsche Stability Management system. The V6 is a Porsche. It does Porsche things.

Feature Creature

Personalization continues to be Jabba The Hut-fat for any Porsche model, and the Cayenne line keeps up with the buffet. What is most important to log in the grey matter is that practically every creature comfort that can be had in the top juice Turbo S can make its way into the V6, with the understanding that certain bits, such as the improved Porsche Communication Management system, are included at the English Properties level.

2009 Porsche Cayenne Turbo S
2009 Porsche Cayenne Turbo S
2009 Porsche Cayenne Turbo S
2009 Porsche Cayenne Turbo S. Click image to enlarge

All Cayennes can be had with the multi-function steering wheel, which, while heated on both testers, is probably the ugliest circular direction pointer available today. OK, it’s a tie with the Mitsubishi Endeavor. Note to Porsche, and all manufacturers; putting phone-specific keys on the wheel and instrument panel, which will require a $950 option tick to actually do anything for your Bluetooth phone, is what is commonly known in the automotive world as a certain type of teasing.

I’ve been giving a lot of thought as to the three memory positions on the Turbo S front passenger seat, because I have that kind of time. I’ve narrowed it down to two theories, when one remembers that the safest place for your brood is in the back. If the success of the HBO series Big Love is any indication, polygamy is alive, well, and getting downright trendy.

It does seem strange that leaps are required in MSRP to acquire such useful bits as power column positioning and Auto headlamps. We are approaching the point where such items are becoming standard equipment for luxury models. A power column should be the completion of the driver positioning memory trifecta; seats, mirrors, and wheel. Even Suzuki’s are arriving with Auto headlamps, so give it up for the V6 Cayenne.

Not every option box on the Cayenne list has the ability to change your children’s destination of higher learning, such as the front and rear heated seats combo, ($690.00) or the rear manual roll-up sunscreens, which will only set you back $260.00.

2009 Porsche Cayenne Turbo S
Top to bottom: 2009 Porsche Cayenne Turbo S. Click image to enlarge
Can I Get Leather On That?

You know that personalization has reached Golden Idol status when leather can be added to your defroster vent surrounds and slats, and I am so not making this up. However, there are some much-needed SUV pieces that seem ridiculously overpriced. You would think that the Porsche Communication Management system, with its stellar navigation screen, could consider the inclusion of a rear-view camera. It’s available, at an additional $2290.00, on top of the PCM dent. For that kind of jolt, this thing had better be able to store home movies on its 40 gig hard drive. The Park Assist system, while effective, seems downright hokey, better suited to the innards of a Silverado.

Beat On The Seat

I still can’t understand why the ability exists for power actuation of the front seat anchors on the Turbo S, while I am still expected to manually fudge with the folding down of the rear seat, and physically remove the headrests to allow the fold to occur.

2009 Porsche Cayenne Turbo S
Top to bottom: 2009 Porsche Cayenne Turbo S. Click image to enlarge

The hour of power is upon us, as in fold and stow.

The Verdict

Man, that is one sexy visor. I’d like to – oh, hello! My apologies for my trim-induced distraction, which is in high supply within the Turbo S cabin. As the wise sage Bueller once uttered, “If you have the means, I highly recommend picking one up”, even though the Turbo S slides to three stars from the Cayenne V6 showing of four. The reasoning is simple; the uber-model should carry the uber-features, and that doesn’t mean optional Guards Red seatbelts. For 155 large, I’m expecting a concierge experience for my cargo conundrums, not coach.

Next week: Suzuki Grand Vitara 4-cylinder

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