Thinking of buying a Porsche Cayenne? This Buyers Guide will help you find out if this is the vehicle to add to your collection.
It’s fair to say that more than a few of the Porsche faithful were appalled by the idea of the sports car maker churning out SUV’s, so the arrival of the Porsche Cayenne in 2003 was treated with caution. But the combination of the famous badge and impressive performance was just what many buyers wanted, and Porsche produced around 276,000 examples of that first generation.
May 2010 saw the debut of its replacement, the new model featured here boasting a small increase in size, a more muscular look and a sophisticated cabin with more technology and improved quality. It was a runaway success, and a decade on the Cayenne accounts for more than thirty percent of Porsche’s sales.
There were no trim levels as such, the steps up the Cayenne ladder essentially denoted by the engine fitted. Broadly speaking, the entry-level model was followed by the S, Diesel, Hybrid and Turbo with a more focused GTS joining the range in summer 2012; this boasted tweaks to the exterior and cabin and a more sporting suspension tune. The following year saw the introduction of more powerful Turbo S and Diesel S models – the former costing an eye-watering £107,000 – and in 2014 the entire range was treated to a facelift. The changes were subtle but included revised, more powerful engines and a new plug-in S E-Hybrid variant. Today, there are plenty of examples to choose from on the used market so it’s really just a case of picking the one that best suits your budget. And while it’s tempting to opt for the quickest and most powerful – owning a Porsche is about performance, after all – don’t dismiss the diesel or hybrid versions. For example, the oil-burner was by far the most popular in the UK and could still crack the 0-62mph sprint in less than eight seconds while returning a claimed 38mpg.
Engine and Transmission
Porsche offered plenty of choice to buyers of the second-generation SUV, things kicking off with a 3.6-litre V6 with 300hp. Next up was a 400hp S model fitted with a 4.8-litre V8 with the turbocharged version adding another 100hp for genuinely astonishing performance; top speed was more than 170mph. Those engines were accompanied by a 3.0-litre diesel and a supercharged 3.0-litre V6 paired with a hybrid powertrain, its 47hp electric motor allowing a few miles of driving on electric power alone. Over the following few years Porsche’s emphasis was mainly on offering yet more power and performance, with the likes of the 420hp GTS and the Turbo S and Diesel S models. The revised Cayenne from 2014 did introduce more extensive changes, though, including a new twin-turbocharged V6 for the S model and the 416hp plug-in hybrid. The vast majority of cars deployed power to all four wheels via a responsive and slick-shifting 8-speed automatic transmission, a Tiptronic function enabling drivers to select gears manually if they were in the mood. The good news is that neither engines nor transmission suffer any inherent problems, so just concentrate on finding one with an unimpeachable service history. Maintenance was required every two years or 20,000 miles and you could easily end up with a four-figure service bill at a Porsche dealer, so don’t be surprised to discover previous owners swapping to a specialist once the warranty had expired. Incidentally, an official Porsche warranty is available on cars less than fifteen years old and with under 125,000 miles on the clock – worth looking out for on a used purchase.
Considering its status as a luxurious, performance-oriented SUV the Cayenne was surprisingly capable off-road although not many owners were likely to head into the muddy stuff. But perhaps more surprising still was just how well this two-tonne car behaved on Tarmac. Far more agile than you’d think, it was equipped with double-wishbone suspension at the front and a multi-link arrangement at the rear and some models offered the option of air-suspension instead of coil springs. Neither set-up should cause any trouble today but replacing tired components won’t come cheap. The same applies to the brakes which were more than capable of hauling the heavy SUV down from high speed, and while some owners might have opted for the uprated Porsche Ceramic Composite Brakes (PCCB) they are hugely expensive to replace.
The second-generation model borrowed its dashboard layout from the Porsche Panamera, and while that means a rather button-heavy layout there’s certainly no arguing with the quality on offer. The build and materials were top-notch and all models were equipped with plenty of kit as standard, including leather trim, the Porsche Communication Management infotainment system, climate and cruise control and electric seats. Most examples were loaded with pricey options when new, too, so there will be more than enough toys to keep used buyers happy. And the cabin was also practical, offering plenty of passenger space and 670-1728 litres of luggage capacity. All that’s required today is to avoid any with signs of wear or damage and to ensure that everything works, although it’s worth checking for any signs of damp caused by blocked drain holes. Lastly, the Cayenne was subjected to a few recalls and a Porsche dealer can confirm these were attended to.
What we say
If you think that a Porsche should only come with a 911 badge, then you’re unlikely to be persuaded by what’s on offer here. But for those after a premium SUV that performs and handles like a sports car – as well as something this heavy can, anyway – then there’s an awful lot to like. Impressive pace is just one aspect, but thanks to the refined, opulent cabin the Cayenne also excels as a long-distance mile-muncher. And should you be tempted to head into the rough stuff, it can do that too. There’s no shortage of choice when it comes to luxury SUVs, and no escaping the fact that running and maintenance costs won’t be cheap, but if you’re an admirer of Porsche’s engineering talents then this one should definitely be on your shopping list.
What Mike Brewer says
Power, luxury and class all for the price of a holiday in Blackpool! You can get so much car for your money now. MK1s are at bargain prices and generally solid cars. The service history is the key to buying one, pay more for one with more stamps in the book and it will save you. Remember you are buying a car that costs the same as a supercar when new and these bad boys come with supercar tax as well, we call it Porsche tax. New brakes up front £5,000, new brakes at the rear £5,000, new air compressor….. guess… yup £5,000. Be careful and get one inspected but once you have a decent one, your neighbours will think you’ve won the lotto or taken up footy!
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