Porsche raised eyebrows when it introduced its first, and probably only, sport utility vehicle for the 2003 model year at the height of the SUV craze. Many thought that Porsche was selling out by introducing an automobile that was heavy-5,190lbs for the Turbo S-and visually uninspiring. Let's face it, the Cayenne is not a sports car. However, it is an SUV that is fun to drive and offers the urban-cowboy-equivalent of muscular, if rarely used, utility.
It is more fun at 500 hp for the Turbo S than the comparatively wallowy 403hp 5,665lb Cadillac Escalade. But then again, if you slap a supercharger on the Caddy... Anyway, it's not all about horsepower or speed, it's about handling-a European obsession brought on by their swirly mountain roads, rally racing, that sort of thing. Good-ol' red-blooded Americans tend to prefer the brute force of straight-ahead performance popularized by the halcyon days of hot-rod suburbia. The closest thing to rally racing around here happened as a result of revenuers chasing after moonshine cars, which ultimately led to stock-car racing that took out all the hair-raising turns in favor of long, sweeping ovals, but we digress.
The Cayenne now comes in three models: Cayenne, Cayenne S, and Cayenne Turbo, dropping the Turbo S from its line up. To avoid confusion, we'll refer to all models as Cayenne unless we need to be more specific. Porsche's redesign of its SUV is more of a refinement than anything else, except in the case of its entirely new Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control (PDCC). This system was built into the mechanics of the suspension and uses active anti-roll bars to offset body roll, thereby keeping the Cayenne as level as possible during hard cornering, or otherwise violent maneuvers, and giving the driver greater control. This is different from the usual stability or rollover control solution of braking each wheel to maintain proper traction and prevent a spill-which is a technology that Porsche offers along with most other automakers.
Porsche Active Suspension Management is available on the Cayenne and uses air suspension that can be switched into three modes: comfort, normal, and sport. Porsche Traction Management distributes torque to each wheel in order to provide the best handling, and the Porsche Stability Management electronic stability control kicks in during potentially unsafe maneuvers. Porsche Stability Management also offers off-road ABS and a trailer stability program. You forgot that this SUV tows, didn't you? Try a surprising 7,716 pounds-although the thought of hitching a trailer to a Porsche feels wrong somehow. And a flip of a switch puts traction management into an off-road mode that allows the SUV to handle off-highway conditions that are reasonable for a street vehicle.
Three engines-3.6L V-6, 4.8L V-8 and 4.8L twin turbo-do offer more power over the last-generation model. In fact, the previous Cayenne V-6 and V-8 engines were smaller, and were displacing 3.2L and 4.5L. By that standard, the new powerplants generate almost 50 more horses. One difference is that '06 offered two turbo models, a 450hp Turbo and a 520hp Turbo S, while the new Cayenne offers only the Turbo model at 500 hp.
As for the Cayenne's looks, check them out. Porsche did tweak the exterior, giving it a wider, more athletic body, broader wheel arches, and more assertive headlights. These changes do infuse more energy into the vehicle's somewhat bland, utilitarian shape that is swollen by such necessities as seating capacity of more than two. That said, the Cayenne hardly inspires enthusiasts to pull over and blubber over its beauty like they would for a Caymen or, say, a Carrera GT. Other improvements abound in the '08 Cayenne, but we've opted to focus on the fun stuff: power and handling. Because when it comes to Porsche, what else is there really worth talking about anyway?
Price (base)Cayenne: $43,400Cayenne S: $57,900Cayenne Turbo: $93,700
WarrantyBasic: 4 years/50,000 milesPowertrain: 4 year/50,000 milesRust-Through: 10 year/Unlimited milesRoadside Assistance: 4 years/50,000 miles
EngineCayenne: 3.6L V-6Cayenne S: 4.8L V-8Cayenne Turbo: 4.8L V-8 Turbo
Horsepower3.6L: 290 at 6,200 rpm4.8L: 385 at 6,200 rpm4.8L Turbo: 500 at 6,000 rpm
Torque (lb-ft)3.6L: 273 at 3,000 rpm4.8L: 369 at 3,500 rpm4.8L Turbo: 516 at 2,250 rpm
Transmission3.6L: 6-speed manual or six-speed Tiptronic S4.8L and Turbo: six-speed Tiptronic S
Final Drive Ratio3.6L manual: 3.73.6L Tiptronic S: 4.34.8L: 3.554.8L Turbo: 3.27
SuspensionCayenne and Cayenne S: Independent with a double-track control arm on the subframe, steel spring, struts with compensation of lateral forces by coil springs set off from the damper axis (front); Independent with multi-arm axle on subframe, steel spring struts with compensation of lateral forces by coil springs set off from the damper axis (rear).
Cayenne Turbo:Independent with a double-track control-arm on subframe with full-load-bearing air spring struts with integrated dampers, Porsche Active Suspension Management damper system with on-demand, infinite damper force control (front); Independent with multi-arm axle on subframe with full-load-bearing air spring struts with integrated dampers, Porsche Active Suspension Management damper system with on-demand, infinite damper force control (rear).
BrakesCayenne and Cayenne S: 13-inch rotor, six-piston caliper (front); 13-inch rotor, four-piston caliper (rear); four-wheel ABS, electronic traction/stability control, pad-wear sensors
Cayenne Turbo:13.78-inch rotor, six-piston caliper (front); 13-inch rotor, four-piston caliper (rear); four-wheel ABS, electronic traction/stability control, pad-wear sensors
WheelsCayenne: 17- to 21-inch wheelsCayenne S and Cayenne Turbo: 18- to 21-inch wheels
Curb WeightCayenne with manual: 4,762 lbsCayenne with Tiptronic S: 4,784 lbsCayenne S: 4,950 lbsCayenne Turbo: 5,191 lbs
Max Trailer Weight7,716 lbs
Interior Cargo62.51 cu-ft (behind the first row, second row folded), 19.07 cu ft (behind the second row)
MPGCayenne, manual and Tiptronic S: 14/20 EPACayenne S, Tiptronic S: 13/19 EPACayenne Turbo, Tiptronic S: 12/19 EPA
2007 Chevrolet SilveradoExtended Cab LTZ 4x4America's truck. That is the ever-present advertising campaign launched by Chevrolet in all types of media, including print, TV, music, and on the web. If you're not buying into the campaign, here are some things to think about. The newly redesigned Chevy is very comfortable in front of the camera; it features tons of creature comforts, and is an overall good-looking rig. With the niceties out of the way, the Silverado is also a very capable truck. If you are one of the millions of truck buyers who purchase a truck to use it, and use it hard, you will not be disappointed in the Chevy.
During my nearly three months of driving the Silverado: I moved, then helped three other people move, remodeled an entire house, and traveled all over Southern California photographing trucks. What does this have to do with the Chevy? I did all of this while driving the Silverado. I also hauled 2,200 lbs of new tile, 2,500 lbs of junk to a landfill, carried new truck parts that were valued as much as $18,000 in the bed, filled the cab with unimaginable amounts of new appliances and fixtures, and I have been the sole driver for daily lunch excursions away from the office, stuffing the cab with hungry editors. This truck has been literally through hell and back. One staffer asked me how this brand-new truck looked 10-years-old already, and I just laughed and cringed to think of how many hours it would take to detail the truck back to its original luster. If you have ever wondered if the magazine editors really drive the heck out of the trucks we test, well, we do.
Praising the Chevy is easy, as it does darn-near everything at an exceptional level, but finding things to gripe about is a more difficult task. My biggest complaint is the HVAC ergonomics. In an effort to make the dash appear cleaner and more elegant-which it does-GM rearranged the A/C buttons to push-type controls. For instance, it you want the blower motor to redirect the air from the upper vents to the defroster and your feet, you have to cycle through the push buttons rather than the previous style of just selecting the desired location. Not only does this cycle take your eyes off of the road and onto the HVAC buttons, but it is also annoying. Often times, if you adjust a blower setting midway through a driving cycle, the computer will not remember it the next time you hop in the truck and drive off. Again, it's not a major gripe, it's rather an unnecessary annoyance. Also, the tan leather interior this LTZ-packaged Silverado is equipped with has become incredibly dirty, incredibly quickly. Yes, we have used and abused it, but not while wearing soot-covered clothes. And now, the passenger side mirror appears to be loose at highway speeds and causes us to perform unnecessary double-takes. Other than those gripes, my only other complaint is the 13.7 MPG I received during my drive time, despite the Chevy's fuel saving technologies. This low MPG meant filling the truck up every 3-4 days. Unfortunately, gas isn't getting any cheaper and I'm not getting paid any more than usual.
This is the first installment of our long-term coverage of the Chevrolet Silverado 1500. Total miles driven during this period is 7,700 and the overall MPG is 13.7.