Jump on the other pedal and our Cayenne S lays down the fourth best stop of any SUV in our records, requiring just 113 feet to stop from 60 mph (four of the ten other utes that stop in 110-113 feet were Cayennes). Spin the steering wheel and the news gets even better, as this Cayenne out-cornered everything we've ever classified as an SUV, logging a decidedly carlike 0.91g. Ditto its figure-8 performance, which ties the burly Grand Cherokee SRT8 circulating the course in 26.1 seconds with an average lateral/longitudinal g reading of 0.69.
We all know that liars can figure and figures can lie, so the chief staff skeptic (yours truly) climbed aboard the Cayenne S for a run up to Monterey on some of California's twistiest byways, including the demandingly tight, undulating, and at times poorly paved Carmel Valley Road. I was pleasantly surprised to discover true Porsche DNA in this type of running. The steering weight and accuracy conform to sports-car norms, even if the information filtering back up from the road is a bit less newsy than in a 911.
With Porsche Active Suspension Management (a $1990 stand-alone option that was rolled into a $7790 Premium package on our tester) dialed to its Sport setting, there's practically no discernable body roll. Thusly hunkered down, it follows every dip and camber-change like a Magnum roller-coaster car. Ride quality is borderline harsh, but the minimal weight transfer makes the most of the abundant grip generated by the 20-inch Michelin Latitude Sport rubber. Similarly, the standard steel brakes possess uncanny reserve, always capable of delivering a bit more whoa when that blind corner turns out to be tighter or more precipitous than anticipated. And if this level of chassis performance is insufficient, you can opt for ceramic brakes ($8150), an active anti-roll bar system ($3510 plus the requisite $3980 air suspension) and/or a torque-vectoring rear axle ($1490).
Dial PASM back to the normal or comfort settings, and the throttle response and transmission shifting relax along with the dampers. Ride comfort and permissible body roll are both increased, and the driver's heart rate naturally slows. Press the "Auto-Stop" button, and the Cayenne's heart will stop at traffic lights (but not its electrically powered air conditioning). For some reason this feature defaults to "off" every time the vehicle re-starts.