2012 Porsche Cayenne Review

2012 Porsche Cayenne Review

Many available options; excellent handling; reclining and sliding back seat; invigorating V8 engines; finely designed cockpit.


Awkward brake feel of Hybrid; short on cargo capacity; expensive options.


2012 Porsche Cayenne fuses revolutionary Porsche sportscar performance with convenient sport utility vehicle utility and all-situation capability. After thorough redesign in 2011 it remains basically unchanged with only coupe upgrades. If you can live with modest cargo capability and immodest price tag, it is definitely a top pick. For 2012, it receives a newly available blind spot warning system. For the Cayenne Turbo, the optional carbon-ceramic brake discs are bigger, and a Power Kit option debuts which offers a 40-horsepower bump. All of wheels for Cayenne models have been specifically designed and engineered for reflecting its character and convey it to the road. Standard on the Cayenne S and Cayenne S Hybrid: the updated 18-inch Cayenne S III wheel. Standard on Cayenne: the updated 18-inch Cayenne wheel. Standard on the Cayenne Turbo: the updated 19-inch Cayenne Turbo wheel. All of these include new paint finish. The Cayenne Design II wheel and Cayenne Sport Design II wheel also feature a new paint finish.

The Porsche Cayenne is basically a five-seater midsize luxury crossover sport utility vehicle developed and designed since 2002 by German automobile manufacturing company called Porsche, with North American sales starting in 2003. Its platform was built by Porsche and is shared with the Audi Q7 and Volkswagen Touareg. The Cayenne is the 1st V8 engined vehicle developed by Porsche since 1995, when Porsche 928 was discontinued. Since 2008, all powerplants have featured direct injection technology. Its chassis type numbers are as follows: Type 957 (2007–2010), Type 958 (2011+) and Type 955 (2002–2006). The 2nd generation Cayenne (Type 958) was revealed at 2010 Geneva Auto Show in the month of March following an online unveil on February 25, 2010.

The 2012 Porsche Cayenne’s Cruise control automatically regulates speed of your vehicle for added driver comfort on long distance journeys. It can be used at speeds more than 20 miles per hour and is operated using a button on one of control stalks. The electric slide and tilt moonroof is constructed from single pane tinted safety glass and has remote closing function and a manually adjustable sunscreen. It is operated using a control situated on roof console. Like all electric windows, the anti-jam feature is included for added safety. All Cayenne models come equipped with new 8-speed Tiptronic S with a fuel-saving innovation, called Auto Start Stop function. When activated, here’s how it works: Say, for example, you are stopped at a traffic light with your foot on the brake pedal. The Auto Start Stop function will automatically turn off the engine. But not everything stops: All audio and communication systems remain switched on, and the standard climate control continues to maintain the selected temperature.

2012 Porsche Cayenne Review

More efficient and more dynamic, pointing into the future of technology and in sporting, elegant design and more spacious inside and lighter overall, the all new 2012 Porsche Cayenne is more Porsche than ever before. Led by Porsche Cayenne S Hybrid, the 1st production model from the company with hybrid drive, the new generation of models paves the way in terms of modern efficiency with reduction in fuel consumption by up to 23% versus its predecessors. Benefiting from concept changes on the overall vehicle including new, extra-light four-wheel drive and weight optimized mix of materials, weight is down on Porsche Cayenne Turbo, to mention just one example, by almost 410 lb or no less than 185 kilos, despite the enhancement in product substance and even higher standard of all-round safety.

Consequently, the 2012 Porsche Cayenne provides even more driving pleasure unlike before both off-road and on-road, fused with enhanced comfort, supreme elegance and even greater everyday driving qualities. All-new, sporting but elegant design makes the new generation of Cayenne an even closer member of Porsche family, bringing out its particular character as a sporting performer even more from every angle and clearly revealing that particular design and shape so typical of a Porsche. Seen from the side, the Porsche Cayenne stands out particularly through its sleek, dynamic and long look. Its new design emphasizes above all the stretched and long engine compartment lid as well as flat rear roof pillar with dynamic sweep towards its rear.

Extending far to the front, the 2012 Porsche Cayenne’s powertrain compartment lid is reminiscent of the company’s racing cars back in 1960s, clearly emphasizing superior performance and power of Cayenne and thus producing a direct connection between the road beneath the car and engine at the front. The new design line provides the new Cayenne a truly dynamic, coupe-like and sweeping character, while the window graphics make a decisive contribution to the new look of Cayenne. The clearly contoured doors and wings provide even greater emphasis to wheel arches.

While shopping for a sport utility vehicle, you will typically come across convenient car-based crossovers, hard core off-roaders and luxury sport utility vehicles. However, at times you will find a vehicle, which resists classification and the 2012 Porsche Cayenne is a prime example. It lacks the 3rd row seat or as much cargo capacity like other sport utility vehicles, but for most buyers that probably won’t matter much. The four-wheel-drive Cayenne does offer thrilling performance, with a diverse lineup of engines and exceptional handling. The base V6 cranks out 300 horsepower, the Turbo generates 540 horsepower and the midlevel V8 ups the output to 400 hp. For those seeking superior fuel economy combined with their Porsche experience, there is a 380-hp gasoline electric Cayenne S Hybrid and its 24 mpg highway rating.

Features such as upgraded communication and audio systems, which will even keep track of racetrack lap times are available, as are active suspension options and upgraded wheel/tire to further the handling potential of 2012 Porsche Cayenne. However, it is true that you can find other luxury sport utility vehicles, which are less expensive yet also have a lot of performance potential, including Infiniti FX, Range Rover Sport and BMW X5. If all you want is top fuel efficiency, the Lexus RX 450h will serve you better.

Variants, Body Types and Features

The 2012 Porsche Cayenne is a midsize sport utility vehicle that offers comfortable seating capacity for five passengers and is offered in a number of different trim levels aligned to powerplant choice.

Standard on base Cayenne include automatic headlights, 18-inch wheels, a power liftgate, foglights, dual-zone automatic climate control, automatic wipers, a tilt and telescoping steering wheel, eight-way power front seats, leather upholstery, a sliding and reclining 40/20/40-split rear seat, a touchscreen interface, a 10-speaker sound system with auxiliary audio jack and CD player and Bluetooth.

The Cayenne S Hybrid and Cayenne S differ in powerplant and come with different steering systems (an improved speed sensitive hydraulic system for Cayenne S and while electric assist system for Hybrid), but both get driver memory functions and a sunroof. The Cayenne Turbo includes 19-inch wheels, a turbocharged V8, adaptive bi-xenon headlights, an air suspension, a heated power-adjustable steering wheel, heated front sport seats with adjustable cushion and backrest side bolsters, a 14-speaker Bose surround sound stereo system with HD radio, an iPod/USB audio interface and satellite radio and a navigation system.

Besides engine choice, the additional equipment found on higher trim levels is offered as options for lower trim levels. The options list is pricey, with such items as adaptive suspension dampers, different wheels, an upgraded torque vectoring rear differential, active stabilizer bars, carbon ceramic brakes, underbody skid plates, a rearview camera, front and rear parking sensors, a panoramic sunroof, a blind spot warning system, keyless ignition and entry, adaptive cruise control, ventilated front seats, four-zone climate control, voice activated controls (needs navigation system), extended leather upholstery, a six-CD/DVD changer, a 16-speaker Burmester surround sound stereo system and a rearseat DVD entertainment system.

What’s Beneath the Hood of 2012 Porsche Cayenne?

Motivation for the base trim level of 2012 Porsche Cayenne comes from a 3.6 liter V6 engine, which is good for pulsating 300 horsepower with 295 pound feet of torque. The engine is mated to six-speed manual transmission with four-wheel drive system. The optional eight-speed automatic transmission gets automatic start/stop technology for conserving fuel. In performance testing, it accelerated from 0 to 60 miles per hour in the time range of 7.1 seconds and offered the fuel economy of 23 mpg highway, 16 mpg city and 19 mpg in combined driving.

Powering the 2012 Porsche Cayenne S is a 4.8 liter V8 engine, with maximum output of 400 horsepower with 369 pound feet of torque. This engine is mated to eight-speed automatic transmission with all wheel drive system and accelerates from 0 to 60mph in 5.6 seconds. The rated fuel economy is 22 mpg highway, 16 mpg city and 18 mpg in combined driving.

The 2012 Porsche Cayenne S Hybrid is powered by a 3.0 liter V6 supercharged engine mated to eight-speed automatic transmission and 34kW electric generator. Fused, this hybrid powerplant generates 380 horsepower with 427 pound feet of torque. In performance testing, this 5000-pound machine went from 0 to 60 miles per hour in 6.1 seconds, offering the fuel economy of 20 mpg city, 24 mpg highway and 21 mpg in combined driving.

Motivation for the 2012 Porsche Cayenne Turbo comes from a 4.8 liter V8 turbocharged engine, which is good for pumping out 500 horsepower with 516 pound feet of torque. This engine is teamed up with eight-speed automatic transmission and hits 60 mph in 4.6 seconds. The optional Power Kit turbocharger upgrade raises output to 553 pound feet of torque and 540 horsepower also increases brake cooling capacity. Irrespective of trim, each Cayenne equipped with eight-speed automatic is rated to tow as much as 7,716 pounds.

Safety & Reliability

Standard safety features on 2012 Porsche Cayenne include stability and traction control, antilock brakes with enhanced brake assist and readiness, front side airbags, full length side curtain airbags and driver knee airbags. Parking sensors, rear side airbags, a blind spot warning system and a rearview camera are available. In brake testing, the Cayenne Turbo came to a stop in 108 feet from 60 mph, which is exceptional for any vehicle, particularly an SUV. With regenerative brakes, the Cayenne S Hybrid fared worse with a stop of 120 feet.

Special Features and Cockpit Design

The 2012 Porsche Cayenne’s sophisticated, cockpit style layout is reminiscent of Porsche Panamera sedan introduced in 2011. The seats in all Cayenne models are comfortable, sporty and practical, just like the rest of cabin. All seat variants feature storage pockets on front seat backrests and two-way head restraints. Providing intuitive operation and excellent long-distance comfort, the comfort seats get eight-way electric adjustment including height, fore/aft, squab/backrest and squab length angle settings. Besides eight-way electric adjustment, these comfort seats also gain a comfort memory package providing adjustment of squab length, steering column and lumbar supports. It also stores individual seat settings such as lumbar supports for front passenger and driver as well as exterior mirror preferences and steering wheel.

All 2012 Porsche Cayenne models are marked by outstanding versatility, with optional High End Surround Sound System from Burmester. It could even be said that they provide concert-hall qualities. Situated in Berlin, Burmester is one of the most respected premium audio manufacturing companies across the world. The Burmester High End Surround Sound System is offered as an option for all Cayennes with PCM and CDR-31. Versatile and powerful, yet easy to use the PCM is a central control system for all communication and information functions. Key features include a high resolution seven-inch touchscreen display. The menu layout is extremely clear, with no more than 5 entries per page, allowing accurate and fast operation.

Driving Impressions

The 2012 Porsche Cayenne drives with laid-back demeanor, particularly with standard V6. On parallel full hybrid, the electric generator is incorporated directly into the drivetrain. The hybrid module is located between the gasoline engine and the transmission. The engine is disengaged and engaged using a specially engineered decoupler. The complex interplay between decoupler, combustion engine, battery and electric motor is controlled by electronic engine management system. The Hybrid model comes with a permanent four-wheel drive system with self locking center differential and offers a standard torque split of 60 percent to rear and 40 percent to the front. If one of the wheels is about to lose grip, the self locking center differential transmits torque to the axle providing the highest level of traction. The ABD and ASR systems work in the same way like the PTM on the Cayenne S, Cayenne Turbo and Cayenne.

Direct Fuel Injection system injects fuel directly into combustion chamber at up to 1,740psi, with millisecond precision using electromagnetic injectors. The spray geometry and injector position have been carefully designed and engineered for enhancing torque, output, emissions and fuel economy. The swirling of fuel as it enters each chamber increases the mixing of fuel and air, thus improving combustion. With VarioCam Plus, it is like the Cayenne had two engines,one for performance driving and other for normal driving.