Although pre-dated by the Mercedes-Benz ML and BMW X5, it could be argued the Porsche Cayenne started the trend of luxury brands scrambling to build premium performance SUVs. After more than a decade in production, the Cayenne holds the distinction of being the brand’s best-selling model, allowing Porsche to continue producing boutique gearhead goodies like the dozens of variations of the 911, the Cayman coupe, and the Boxster roadster.
In any of its forms, the Cayenne brings a distinct performance flavor to the premium SUV class. For those who like the Cayenne’s style but value economy over blistering performance, the diesel model delivers a frugal 29 mpg highway. But for those who don’t care about economy, there’s the 562hp Turbo S model, delivering a 0-to-60 time of a little more than 4 seconds.
There are far more practical and utilitarian options out there than the Cayenne for a much lower price, but few can match it in performance, and those that can are priced in the same realm, which can range up to the mid-$100,000s. If you need the utility of an SUV with the performance of a sports car, the Cayenne is the standard-bearer for the class.