The Porsche Cayenne embodies many of the virtues of Porsche cars in an SUV body. Porsche also finds the Cayenne a more reliable seller than its sports cars. The GTS model, intended for street use, sits lower than the standard Cayenne.
The Cayenne's styling is very unique for an SUV, incorporating design language borrowed from Porsche's sports cars.
The Cayenne GTS uses the same 4.8-liter V-8 as the standard Cayenne, but Porsche tweaks it for an extra 20 horsepower, up to 405. Fuel economy is poor, though, at 11 mpg city and 17 mpg highway.
Typical for an SUV, the Cayenne GTS seats five with ample cargo area in back.
The GTS uses big six piston brake calipers in front, painted red and sporting the Porsche name.
All Cayennes use an air suspension, including the GTS. We noticed plenty of lean in hard cornering, but that can be corrected with an optional dynamic handling package.
The rear cargo area is sized appropriately for a five-seater SUV. There is no third row seat option.
Along with its sport reputation, Porsche also maintains a high level of luxury. The interior of the Cayenne reflects that luxury with fine materials throughout.
The steering wheel's triangular hub hold buttons along the lower two sides for audio and phone control.
For a sport-oriented SUV, the tachometer is surprisingly small in the instrument cluster. The center display shows information about trip, music, and navigation.
It is rare to see a manual transmission in an SUV. This one has very close ratios, but the shifter itself is too long for fast gear changes.
Porsche fitted the 2009 Cayenne with a whole new cabin tech suite, called the Porsche Communication Manager (PCM). This one uses a hard drive for maps and music.
The new PCM integrates traffic information with the navigation system, dynamically avoiding trouble spots.
This new PCM uses a touchscreen, making destination entry easy.
A Bluetooth phone system is part of the new PCM. It downloads phone contact lists to display on the LCD.
This optional interface lets you connect iPods, USB drives, and 1/8th inch audio jacks to the stereo.
The Bose audio system produces a well-balanced sound, although bass is under emphasized.