Cars

20 Years Since the Original, Porsche Unveils the Ultimate Cayenne

Still Porsche’s Supersports Utility Vehicle
IMAGE PORSCHE
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“If we build an off-road model according to our standards of quality, and it has a Porsche crest on the front, people will buy it.” Ferry Porsche said this as far back as 1989. 

Some one million units and three generations later, the Porsche Cayenne is the bestselling nameplate of the brand. In fact, in the first half of 2022, it accounted for some 29 percent of 145,860 of total units Porsche sold.

“The Cayenne has always been a major draw for our brand,” says Detlev von Platen, member of the executive board for sales and marketing at Porsche. “It has brought many new customers and fans from all over the world to Porsche over the past 20 years.” 

The first-generation Cayenne Turbo S (right) and the current Cayenne Turbo GT

Photo by Porsche.

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From the first generation to the present third generation, the Cayenne has never failed to cross all the Ts on track, tarmac, and trailing. Back when it was first introduced in the country, we already tried it out on the highway, the racetrack, and even took it off-roading. The Cayenne performed very well on all road conditions. Thanks to its over-engineered platform, it can take a lot of punishment on and off-road. 

Porsche came up with the super-sports utility vehicle, even though it was a completely new market segment for the brand when it was unveiled in 2002. It was a luxury off-road vehicle that would be as highly emotive as its iconic sports cars. Exactly 20 years later, this winning formula lives on in the present third-generation Cayenne. 

Supercar performance on an SUV

The original Cayenne’s project code name was “Colorado” when it was being developed at the end of the 1990s. The engineers at Porsche developed a new V8 engine for the Cayenne, which would rival supercars and benchmark its power and torque figures. The Cayenne S, which had a 4.5-liter V8 engine, produced 340 hp and 420 Nm, while the Cayenne Turbo came up with an even more impressive 450 hp and 620 Nm. For a bulky and heavy SUV, it carried top speeds of 242 and 266 km/h for the Cayenne S and Cayenne Turbo, respectively, which were figures that were considered well within supercar territory.   

Porsche continued to improve the Cayenne’s bloodline with the introduction of the Cayenne Turbo S, which became the second most powerful road-approved Porsche at the time, behind only the legendary Carrera GT super sports car. Only a small and discreet badge was the giveaway for this car’s performance potential. The engine was rated at 521 hp and 720 Nm and would propel the Cayenne Turbo S from zero to 100 kph in just 5.2 seconds and a maximum speed of 270 kph.

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Porsche came out with four variants between 2002 to 2010, when it unveiled the second-generation Cayenne in Geneva. Its most prominent features were its headlights inspired by the iconic Porsche Carrera GT, new LED daytime running lights, and rear lights that extended onto the tailgate. The second-generation Porsche Cayenne’s had also shed its weight and had an on-demand, all-wheel drive system with an actively controlled multi-plate clutch. It was also the first nameplate to introduce hybrid and plug-in hybrid powertrains. 

Photo by Porsche.

The current and third-generation Cayenne was first introduced in 2017, with further development of its plug-in hybrid technology. It also became sportier and more comfortable while maintaining its off-road capabilities through a specially developed three-chamber air suspension and rear-axle steering. The current model is also lighter, so it became more fuel efficient and agile, largely thanks to its new aluminum body shell. It also expanded its range of driver-support capabilities through numerous new assistance systems, which are now integrated in a central control unit. The Cayenne also launched the sportier Cayenne Coupe in 2019.

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We recently tried out the current generation Cayenne and, needless to say, weren’t disappointed at all.

Cayenne Turbo GT

As the brand celebrates the 20th anniversary of the Cayenne, Porsche Philippines introduces the ultimate and new Cayenne Turbo GT variant as the sportiest version of the brand’s flagship SUV range. Designed for maximum performance and handling, it combines outstanding driving dynamics but civilized and refined to be driven daily. Porsche AG took the new Porsche Cayenne Turbo GT to the Nurburgring Nordschleife and set a record time of 7:38.9 minutes at the legendary 20.832-kilometer course with the fastest lap time officially recorded by a production SUV.

The new Porsche Cayenne Turbo GT has a 4.0-liter bi-turbo V8 producing 640 hp and 850 Nm, that can sprint from zero to 100 kph in just 3.3 seconds and can reach a top speed of 300 kph, thanks to its faster-shifting eight-speed Tiptronic S transmission.

The Cayenne Turbo GT comes with all available chassis systems fitted as standard, as well as performance tires developed specifically for the model. It is also designed to be a special track weapon, thanks to its powertrain and chassis which were also uniquely set-up.

Visually, it rides lower than any other Cayenne that ever came out. The passive chassis components and active control systems were re-engineered and optimized for handling and performance. We also love the four-seater Coupe configuration and 22-inch GT Design wheels in Neodyme. It has trims like carbon side plates fitted lengthwise to the roof spoiler, and adaptively extendable rear spoiler’s lip, which increases downforce by up to 40 kilograms which is unique to the GT variant.

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