Anybody can hustle a hefty hulk up to speed with a big-horse engine, but these Porsches earn their crests in the way they shed speed and carve corners. Running standard steel brakes (ceramic ones are available for $8150-$8840), the Turbo stopped from 60 mph in 107 feet -- shorter than any stock SUV we've tested, while the S stopped fifth shortest at 113 feet. Both provide plenty of reassuring pedal feel. Spin the steering wheel and the news gets even better, as our Cayenne S' 0.91g lateral cling outcornered everything we'd ever classified as an SUV except the new Turbo, which manages 0.95g. The Turbo trumped all 'utes in the figure eight as well, laying down a 24.8-second, 0.81g run. That's Corvette Z06/Lamborghini Murcielago territory! The S tied the burly Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8 (and Infiniti G37 coupe) circulating the course in 26.1 seconds at 0.69g. Two options helped our Turbo achieve its uncanny handling: an active anti-roll bar system ($3510) and a torque-vectoring rear axle ($1490), both of which -- along with the ceramic brakes -- are available on any Cayenne.
Best of all, those figures don't oversell the Cayenne driving experience, which greatly eclipsed that of every other contender. Even the S proved astonishingly competent at tearing up a twisty road; its helm offers a sports car's heft and accuracy, though less road-feel reaches the rim than in a mid- or rear-engine Porsche. Logbooks were filled with rave reviews from surprised former Cayenne haters. Detroiter Lassa observed, "Few SUVs, even sporty ones, can put down the power as effectively as the Cayenne S, especially out of tight turns," adding, "I'd take this over a Panamera all day long." Kiino found it "Stays mostly flat through turns, but offers up a bit of roll, which I like. Reminds me a little of how an STI handles," concluding, "The Cayenne S finally feels like it has Porsche DNA." First-time SUOTY voter Lieberman found fault with the level of chassis rebound in rough corners but declared, "The steering is best of the group." Mortara proclaimed it "the best all-around SUV I have ever driven."