2015 Porsche Cayenne First Look
Porsche's Best-Seller Gets Refreshed
Porsche sells nearly as many Cayenne luxury crossovers as the German automaker does 911s, Boxsters, and Caymans combined, so when Motor Trend's 2011 SUV of the Year goes under the knife for a refresh, it's a big deal. In 2011, one Motor Trend staffer even called the Cayenne "the best all-around SUV I have ever driven." So with the 2015 Porsche Cayenne refreshed and heading to dealers this November, is it ready for the luxury SUV competition?
Now armed with the Macan crossover in the $50,000 range, Porsche has made big price hikes for the model-year 2015 Cayenne. At least for now, the naturally aspirated V-6 is gone as a base model, leaving the $62,695 Cayenne Diesel (prices include $995 destination) as the least expensive way to step into Porsche's best-seller, when the Macan simply isn't big enough. Like all 2015 Cayennes, the Cayenne Diesel gets a restyled front clip with airblades that direct air to the intercoolers. Porsche has also updated the LED taillights, and says the license plate surround, liftgate handle, and taillights are better integrated into the liftgate lid. Though those details might better be appreciated in person, status-conscious Cayenne owners may be happy to know that, like the BMW X5, the Porsche now features exhaust outlets that are integrated into the rear bumper.
Inside, there's a multifunction sport steering wheel with shift paddles. HID headlights are standard on the Diesel, S, and E-Hybrid models, while the Turbo gets standard LED headlights. Rear-seat ventilation is now an option, but there's no mention just yet of a stretched Cayenne that could compete directly with Range Rover and other super-luxury SUVs.
The BMW X5 plug-in hybrid will have some competition when it arrives, in the form of the new 2015 Porsche Cayenne S E-Hybrid. Motor Trend spent a year with a Cayenne S Hybrid, but the automaker's SUV hybrid is now a plug-in. As before, a 333-hp supercharged 3.0-liter V-6 sits under the hood, but is paired with a now more powerful electric motor for 416 hp combined at 5500 rpm and 435 lb-ft of torque from 1250 to 4000 rpm. Porsche claims the all-electric top speed is 78 mph, but it remains to be seen how easily the powertrain will switch over to gas-engine power. The 10.8 kWh lithium-ion battery can be plugged in or charged while driving. Our 2011 Cayenne S Hybrid long-termer sprinted to 60 mph in 5.6 seconds; Porsche estimates the new S E-Hybrid will get to 62 mph in 5.4 seconds onto a 151 mph top speed for all those plug-in hybrid owners planning a trip to the Bonneville Salt Flats. Priced at $77,395 to start, we're eager to see how Porsche's third plug-in -- after the Panamera and 918 Spyder -- performs.
The volume model probably won't be the Diesel or the E-Hybrid, but the Cayenne S. No longer using a V-8 engine, the 2015 Cayenne S sports an eight-speed automatic and a twin-turbo 3.6-liter V-6 with 420 hp at 6000 rpm and 406 lb-ft from 1350 to 4500 rpm, both gains over the outgoing V-8. The real gain will be in overall driving range and fuel economy -- the 2014 Cayenne S with a 4.8-liter V-8 is EPA-rated at 16/22 mpg city/highway. While mileage figures for the Diesel model have yet to be released, they won't stray far from the 2014 model's 20/29 mpg. The 2015 model's 3.0-liter turbodiesel V-6 produces 240 hp at 3800 to 4400 rpm and 406 lb-ft from 1750 to 2500 rpm. Porsche estimates a 0-62 mph time of 7.2 seconds -- a 2013 model got to 60 mph in 6.9 seconds in a comparison for which it placed second, behind the Jeep Grand Cherokee EcoDiesel, but ahead of the Mercedes-Benz ML350 Bluetec and Volkswagen Touareg TDI.
At the top of the 2015 Cayenne lineup is the Turbo model. Under the hood of this ridiculous $114,595 crossover is a twin-turbo 4.8-liter V-8 with 520 hp at 6000 rpm and 553 lb-ft from 2250 to 4000 rpm. Porsche says the 2015 Cayenne Turbo will go from 0-62 mph in 4.2 seconds, or a tenth quicker with the Sport Chrono package, on to a 173-mph top speed. It's the Cayenne crossover for the Porsche owner who must have the very best, though the 2015 Cayenne Turbo S can't be far behind. That not-yet-confirmed crossover will likely borrow the Panamera's 570-hp version of the twin-turbo 4.8-liter V-8, and we can't wait to get a BMW X5 M, Range Rover Sport SVR, Mercedes-Benz ML63 AMG, and Porsche Cayenne Turbo on the same track at the same time. Expect a price around $150,000.
The second-generation Porsche Cayenne started its life earning the honor of becoming the Motor Trend 2011 SUV of the Year. Now refreshed for 2015 and strengthened by the Macan from below, we have no doubt Porsche's SUV-lead lineup isn't going anywhere anytime soon.