Our final task for the Cayenne was to tame some rutted dirt and silt trails and hills. Press the button with the mountain image on it, and the various electronic systems optimize themselves for moderate off-roading. We easily scaled a steep hill of soft, loose sand and gravel at a snail's pace (a much more difficult task than charging up, shot-peening the undercarriage with gravel). Hill-descent control maintains a similar walking pace on the downhill, or just select the shorter first gear and the closed throttle will maintain about 11 mph.

So the skeptics begrudgingly agree: The 2011 Cayenne S performs respectably off road and impressively at the track, it's attractive and comfortable on a long-haul or cross-town trip, and even in mid-grade trim (our track results could be duplicated for just $69,395) indeed it feels like a Porsche on the kinds of tortuous tarmac we'll go way out of our way to storm. We're sorry we doubted you Ronnie...

2011 Porsche Cayenne S
Base price $64,675
Price as tested $79,160
Vehicle layout Front-engine, AWD, 5-pass, 4-door SUV
Engine 4.8L/400-hp/369-lb-ft DOHC 32-valve V-8
Transmission 8-speed automatic
Curb weight (f/r dist) 4876 lb (52/48%)
Wheelbase 114.0 in
Length x width x height 190.8 x 76.3 x 67.4 in
0-60 mph 5.9 sec
Quarter mile 14.4 sec @ 98.7 mph
Braking, 60-0 mph 113 ft
Lateral acceleration 0.91 g (avg)
MT Figure eight 26.1 sec @ 0.69 g (avg)
MT Observed fuel econ 13.4 mpg
EPA City/hwy fuel econ 16/22 mpg
CO2 emissions 1.06 lb/mile