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>> If you like middle fingers and keys on paint, the Cayenne has always been your ride. An easily resentable combination of SUV-ness with high performance at a high cost with stale cabin tech, miserable fuel economy, horrifying emissions figures, and an all-wheel drive premise on a vehicle that will mostly traverse parking lot berms, yet it Porsche's number one selling product. Let's check the tech.
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Our GTS Cayenne makes few pretensions of going off road with its low sport suspension and slot car, low profile tires on 21-inch rims. All that set off by a scowly, road racer face in a rich GTS red burgundy color, which costs 3100 bucks extra. This Cayenne, a 2009, has a new-ish version of Porsche's oddly named PCM, Porsche Communication Management, which is as much about navigation and entertainment as it is about communication. The screen is fairly good, not class leading, map rendering is a bit washed out. The screen is too low and too flat-faced. Really a shame, since the stuff above it is a row of low-value buttons and trim that are keeping this LCD from being much more satisfyingly placed. The nav rig is hard drive-based, so inputs are snappy, but if you don't like the touch screen, and you may not, given the tortured position of it, your only other choice is to use physical buttons because voice command in this car is limited only to the Bluetooth phone rig. The navigation maps do show live traffic, but oddly enough, the default color to show a major highway or freeway is red. Wouldn't you reserve that color to indicate bad traffic? Oh, and even though it's hard drive-based, this head unit gives you no space to rip music to. It's just there for navigation data. Speaking of the Bluetooth, it's part of the PCM head unit, which itself is optional. If you don't get it, Bluetooth is an ala carte option, but either way, you got to pay for Bluetooth separately, which is becoming kind of a rare policy. Continuing on that nickel and dime theme, our GTS has an optional universal audio interface, which, in this case, adds USB and a special iPod connector that requires a Porsche cable to go to your iPod. If you get this car with the PCM nav head unit, then the universal audio interface is still available, but it's just an aux jack. You know, that thing that most cars nowadays throw in for free. A GTS has the middle Cayenne power plant, a 4.8-liter, naturally aspirated V8, 405 horsepower, 369 foot-pounds of torque, enough to get this big thing up to 60 in about 5.7 seconds, all nearly 5,000 pounds of it. But you'll go through gallons of fuel doing it. The GTS is rated at miserable 11/17 MPG, and we just plain saw 11 in the kind of driving this car's image is aimed at. Emissions figures are equally embarrassing. California gives this car a filthy four out of ten on its smog score, and the Feds give it an almost unbelievable zero out of 10 for being a good guy when it comes to greenhouse gasses. Don't drive it to a Sierra Club meeting. On the road, the Cayenne GTS is powerful and largely agile, more so if you get the, yes, optional PDCC, an active roll killing suspension. And overall, the Cayenne is vaguely truckish underway, though in kind of a satisfying way. The shifter is, shall we say, vintage in its heavy notchiness. You sit up high, and all the inputs are fairly heavy, but the engine is ample, and the whole thing sticks like nothing this bulky has a right to. And it won't be mistaken for any other SUV. And really, isn't that part of why you buy it? The Cayenne is like an expensive restaurant. Just about everything is Ala Carte. A few highlights, the GTS itself starts at 74,000. The PCM head unit is 3300. If you don't get that, Bluetooth hands free are still 700 additional, Ala Carte. XM radio, an eye popping 750 if you want that Ala Carte. Add 1700 for the optional Bose audio system, which we liked, but not that much. If you want Porsche dynamic suspension so this thing can keep up with an X5M, for example, that's 3500 more. A sunroof is 1200. A panoramic roof is closer to 4,000. A rearview camera is 1700. The list of insults goes on and on, but this has never been a high tech value proposition. It's a status car, with a big presence and more road skills than you'd probably imagine. Take it as such.
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