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Saturday, February 16, 2008

Porsche Cayenne Turbo S

Porsche Cayenne Turbo S at Night.

Driving Experience


Unlike my airtight Mercedes and BMW sedans, the doors close easily. I reckon there is enough air inside the Porsche Cayenne Turbo S that the airtight design of the other sedans isn't an issue.

Close the door lightly, and it snaps closed. There is no air compression to overcome as with the others, so I never get a half-closed door.

They open just as easily. It takes two seconds to program everything to open with one remote click. Better, one click opens it: you don't need to hold down the remote button - just click it. One tap, and the whole Porsche is open.



Front visibility is excellent. The deeply sloping hood is invisible from the driving position so the entire windshield looks out to see road, not car parts. This also means if you live in a less fashionable state that mandates those stupid window stickers that they will interfere with some of your visibility and safety, since they'll be covering your view of the road, not your view of your hood.

This said, you can see very close in front of you.


Watch out: the thick windshield (A) pillars are wide enough to block your view not only of a pedestrian, but of an entire car. I constantly move my head from side to side to be sure to check these blind spots, otherwise a car could be coming from 90 degrees to my right and remain in my blind zone right up to the point of collision!

The side (B) pillars are so thick and forward positioned that they can hide part of a car or motorcycle in the lane to your left, if you turn your head to look behind to your left.

Back Hatch and Rear Window

The hatch feels exactly like my Dodge Caravans, except there's a motor that pulls it the last 1/8" (3mm) closed.

Unlike my other minivans, the rear window is well designed. It opens separately. You can squeegee it during a pit stop and the water disappears into drainage grooves. Dirty water doesn't run down on the outside the rear hatch as it did on my other other minivans, which made them filthy.

Rear Seats Fold Flat.



Everything is covered in leather. The dash, the control panels, the grab handles, everything. (The airbag cover over the center of the steering wheel is plastic)

The door handles are softly finished metal, not chromed plastic. They have a great feel, with smooth edges and a soft finish.


Except for the door latch release handles, everything else feels hard. It looks soft and luxurious, but there is no padding except for the seats.

The arm rests are hard, not padded. The leather sits directly on top of the plastic without padding.

The center console grab handles are hard leather over hard metal.

The dash is leather over hard plastic.

The steering wheel is glossy hard wood, with hard leather trim.

Color and Accent Trim

It's all designed in tan, with accents in black and silver. Unlike lesser marques, a lot of thought went into balancing the use of the accents, which are found all over the place, all in perfect balance.

Soft Ambient Night Lighting

There is soft ambient lighting everywhere at night. Even the arm rests have backlights which highlight them against the door panels!

Porsche Cayenne Turbo S ready from Service.


The seats are great, with many adjustments. The leather is very soft and perforated for comfort. I suspect this soft, smooth leather is also delicate.

The seats are designed for athletic European butts, not lard-butts. The seat bottoms are of normal width, not big ones like American seats. These seats grab you tight.

My solid thighs tend to rest on the top of the narrow side supports. I suspect the seats are designed for marathon runner physiques, not soccer players.

Porsche Cayenne Turbo S Driver's Seat Controls

The knob on the left (towards the front of the truck) moves the lumbar support. Up and down move it up and down, and forward and back moves it forward and back (out and in). Unlike some Mercedes, the lumber position is recalled by the seat memory.

The up/down arrows move the shoulder belt attachment at the door.

The two seat-like levers move those parts of the seat. The button that looks like a headrest is a dummy: the headrest moves up and down with the front/back position of the seat. There also is a manual tweak to the headrest position.

The memory works well: one tap and it moves into position (or crushes your child) without needing to hold it while it moves. Sadly the SET and 1, 2, and 3 buttons are next to each other, so you need to know your Porsche Cayenne Turbo S intimately to be able to set these buttons without having to look down at the buttons.

Engine Sound

This is weird. For those of you who've driven Diesels, we how they sound when driving, which is completely different from the sounds other people hear outside a car when it's idling.

Our Porsche Cayenne Turbo S sounds like a Diesel when driving! It makes that same delicious, precise mechanical whining-hammering sound as you give it light gas while cruising. Let off and it goes away, give a little more gas and it gets stronger. I'm unsure if it's gears, or possibly the torque converter whining. It sounds like very mild straight-cut gears or an automatic transmission pump would sound.

Hammer it a little and you get a little bit of a whoosh. There is none of the turbo whine or wastegate sneezing you'll here with bad aftermarket turbo conversions.


Our Porsche Cayenne Turbo S is still brand new and being broken in. We haven't hammered it yet.

Porsche asks you go easy for the first 2,000 miles.

By easy they ask you keep it below 4,300 RPM. This beast has so much torque (530 ft-lbs) that it flies even at 2,500 RPM. You can hit 100 MPH fast by lightly goosing the throttle without needing any revs. 100 MPH needs only 3,000 RPM. This means that you easily can hit 100 MPH in a few seconds, or cruise at 140 MPH while taking it easy on break in.

Do the math: HP = Torque x RPM / 5252. At 3,000 RPM it makes over 300 HP. You don't need to rev it; even at 3,000 it accelerates like crazy on the freeway.

Porsche Cayenne Turbo S at Great-Grandma's House.

Goes Like Dog Sled Dogs

Dog sled dogs love to run. You have to work at it to keep them from running!

The Porsche Cayenne Turbo S is like these sled dogs. Give it just a little gas, and it starts going, then going faster and faster on it's own. Part of this are the turbos spooling up.

Be careful: unlike lesser minivans, a gentle nudge while driving gets you a lot more speed increase than you might think, and it comes on as the Porsche Cayenne Turbo S speeds up.

Digital Speedometer

You know what strikes me every time I drive this thing? The vivid type face used for the orange digital speedometer on the central color LCD. It displays the speed in Microgramma Bold Extended, which for you graphic designers, looks fantastic. For you normal folks, that's the same authoritative font used for the numbers on the gauges, which is also often the font used to write POLICE on the sides of patrol cars, and also the font used throughout the 1960s by NASA and for numbering on the ships Star Trek. Take your pick of why, but no matter how you analyze it, it's cool to see as many digits as you dare show up in glorious Microgramma Bold Extended. The big overhang on the "1" looks great in front of readings like "159 mph."

Porsche Cayenne Turbo S Gauges

The gauge covers appear to be plastic, not glass. They have a single-layer anti-reflection coating, just like camera lenses. This is why reflections from the gauges are dark blue, not bright and distracting.

Speedometer Accuracy

The speedometer is almost perfect. It's so perfect I suspect it's fed from the GPS of the nav system and truncating the fractional part of the reading. It reads perfectly, but excludes any fraction of a MPH over the indicated speed.

In other words, if you're doing 91.67 MPH, it reads 91MPH. At 158.97 it reads 158 and at 17.3 MPH it reads 17 MPH.

I would prefer it round up, but instead it truncates.

If you pay attention to the speed at which it dithers between two figures, you're going exactly the higher figure.

Speedometer LCD

The top center LCD is AOK. It has relatively coarse pixels.

It is well anti-aliased: the numbers are smooth, not jagged

Gauge Resting Points

While running the boost gauge reads 0.05 bar, even with no boost. It reads 0 with the ignition off.

With the ignition off, the speedometer rests at -2 MPH. It reads 0 at rest with the Porsche Cayenne Turbo S running.

Normal water temp reads 175 F as shown. It has climbed to 190F when we were doing a lot of slow crawling around a suburban neighborhood.

Great Gas Mileage

The 2006 Porsche Cayenne Turbo S makes excelent use of its fuel. It has a large 26.4 gallon (100 litre) tank.

Ours is brand new and will get better as we break it in.

At the 1/4 mark we've usually gone 275 miles and it takes 18 gallons. It most likely would go 350 - 400 miles if we let the BUY GAS light come on.

If you believe the computer and run it dry, you'll go 460 miles before you're walking with your thumb out.

Per-tank mileage is important because no one wants stop and refuel. Miles per gallon is irrelevant - this isn't used for commuting and doesn't alter our climate like the hundreds of thousands of new Toyota Camrys and Priuses bought every year to polute our skies and roads. I've always used my bicycle to commute to every office job I've ever had. Priuses are changing our climate, not Porsches, and Porsches aren't chock full of dangerous batteries to leach out in tomorrow's junkyards.

Porsche predicted it would make only 1,500 of the Cayenne Turbo S for the entire world for all time (only 600 for the USA), while Toyota cranks out 400,000 Camrys each and every year.

We own this for the pure fun of driving. We care about smiles per gallon, not miles per gallon, and this crazy Porsche minivan sure gives us more smiles per gallon than my Dodge Caravans did.

The EPA rates the Porsche Cayenne Turbo S the same as the regular Cayernne Turbo: 13 MPG city and 18 MPG highway.

I get 17 MPG on long interstate jaunts and 9 MPG locally, with a lot of idling while parked to keep the A/C running while the wife goes shopping and I wait with the baby. For our first 2,500 miles, we've averaged a calibrated 13.16 MPG, on premium of course, with a lot of bad local driving.

Milage depends greatly on how one drives. It also depends on one's speed on the interstate. Down at 60 MPH it seems to run about 18 MPG, and much less at higher speeds.

Sadly, lesser Cayennes get the same or worse fuel economy. It's best to save money and get the Porsche Cayenne Turbo S. All the engines are about as efficient; the issue is that this a huge 5,200 pound brick to move around. See Edmunds where people with the budget V6 Cayenne only get 12 MPG and hate them.

13 - 14 MPG is normal for a truck, so you may as well enjoy it. You could do much worse: the 2007 Land Rover LR2 SE, as tested in Car and Driver, July 2007, page 130-131, only gets 14 MPG from a dinky six-cylinder engine with less than half the power and torque of the Porsche Cayenne Turbo S, and the Land Rover weighs a thousand pounds less!

Big Folding Mirrors

The Porsche Cayenne Turbo S is designed for big players and important people, not little people who live in tract homes. It's big mirrors give great visibility, much better than the small ones on the Mercedes GL450 or BMW X5.

It's too wide to fit a standard tract-home single-car 91" wide garage door! When we brought it home, after bringing home bigger trucks like the Mercedes GL450 to be sure they fit, the Porsche Cayenne Turbo S was too wide!

No problem: the mirrors flip in by remote control. Twist the mirror control (on the left window pillar) to the down position.

Now it fits just fine.

Save at the Car Wash

Saving at the Car Wash

This is a small truck, not one of the pig SUVs.

We pay the same as a regular car at our local car wash. If we got the Mercedes GL450 we'd get hit up for an extra couple of bucks every time. We can't afford not to have this Porsche Cayenne Turbo S!

Not to worry: our local car wash is a hand wash that sees more Mercedes and Lamborghini that it sees Tauruses. We've had our fleet vehicles (not our collectibles) washed there for years and the gloss looks great!

Bose Audio System

The Bose sound system is the amplifiers and speakers. Someone else makes the radio itself.

It sounds great. It's very well voiced, with great, accurate bass. I played bass for years personally, so I pay the most attention to this. It's not boomy at all, with decent depth, and plenty strong. If you want to vibe the windows, just play with the tone controls.

There is an 8" woofer in each front door, and the usual 5-1/4" Bose subwoofer in the middle of the spare tire well. The Bose system uses a woofer small enough to allow you to carry the spare tire; another audio system uses a woofer which takes up the entire spare tire well, which would be pretty stupid.

You can optimize the sound stage for everyone, or optimize it for the front or for the rear seats. You also can engage an additional phony surround mode, which I prefer to leave OFF.

GPS Nav System


It's pretty smart. If you're offroad or in a big parking lot, it shows a big arrow pointing you to the first paved route instruction.

It's not smart enough to voice "No, the other left" if it wants you to make a left, but you've got the right turn signal and/or the wheel turned to the right. Too bad, since the Porsche Cayenne Turbo S knows these things in it's computers.

Ease of Use

Great! Unlike any other car, it's easy to figure out. I've never read the book.


The big LCD is clear and bright.

The resolution is as coarse as you'd dare. It's OK, but could be finer-pitched.


Nav DVDs cost a few hundred bucks and are easy to pop out of the nav system by the forces of evil.

I made a back-up copy from which I run, and keep my original in a safe place.

Sirius Satellite Radio

The transparent Bose system makes the defects in satellite sound quality obvious.

Satellite radio sounds really crappy, like a garbled old cassette tape or a cell phone. This is because satellite radio uses a lot of digital audio data compression, just like cell phones. It is NOT like a CD, which is is uncompressed, or like an iPod, which uses enough bits for clear sound.

There is no static, but a lot of garbling caused by the low digital data rates. Cymbals sound weird, and even spoken word is constantly garbled, exactly like a bad cell phone call.

Sirius missed the boat for people with decent car audio. It sounds much worse than FM radio.

There aren't that many channels. The channel numbers go from 1 to 199, but only some of them are used.

There are several weather channels, several comedy channels, several traffic channels (for several metropolitan areas' and that's it), and after all that, only room for several music channels.

Worse, after you set your radio buttons, Sirius moves the channels around! THe second time we drove our Porsche Cayenne Turbo S, Sirius had eliminated one of the channels to which we had assigned a button. Oh well.

The Playboy channel is channel 197. It's not as I had hoped, which would be music from pornos to set a mood. Instead it's just more talk.

Radio Logisitcs

For some reason, if you use the nav or trip computer or for any reason leave the radio system on, every time you start the Porsche Cayenne Turbo S, you get the radio playing.

This is annoying. If I turned off the volume when I last turned off the Porsche Cayenne Turbo S, I want the level to stay muted when I restart.

Air Conditioning

HVAC is fully automatic.

It doesn't seem very good. Unlike our Mercedes, Saabs and BMWs, we have to goose it cooler to get it to cool faster when we get in a warm car. This may be an issue - it's only February! I'm unsure if the A/C will have enough capacity for warm weather. We'll see.

If you hold the AUTO button for two seconds, you enter the MONO mode. The MONO mode means the driver's controls control both sides of the car. As soon as the passenger moves a control, it returns to the usual two-zone control.


Brakes are huge and a reason you need 20" wheels to clear them. I'm unsure if you can slum it with 19" wheels.


No spare tire, just a can of tire goo and a pump!

We bought the collapsible spare and stuck it in the trunk separately, for a cost of about $500.

The ignition key is on the left of the steering wheel, an homage to the mid-1970s Peugeot 504. Porsche claims it's a tribute to the running starts of LeMans; you decide.

Other Cayenne Models

Coupe concept design by

Cayenne: budget. You could slum it with a Cayenne, but with only 6 cylinders, 250 HP and 5,000 pounds, it's slower than most rental cars. This is a loss-leader to get people in the door; why buy an underpowered Porsche? I haven't driven it, but look at the user reviews at Edmunds and you'll see the V6 Cayenne owners usually hate their cars.

The 2006 Porsche Cayenne V6 has 250 HP while the 2007 Toyota Camry V6 has 268 HP and weighs almost a half-ton less. The Porsche Cayenne V6 is for off-road use; I presume it's a pig on-road. Get the VW Touareg V-10 TDI Diesel for far more power and far more fuel efficiency if you care.

Cayenne S: Base. You could get by with a Cayenne S with a basic 340 HP V8, but you'll miss out on the pimp-grade luxury of the Cayenne Turbo S. The base V8 Cayenne still has old-fashioned halogen lights, basic embossed leather, spring suspension and a monochrome dashboard LCD.

The Cayenne S Titanium is a Cayenne S with some titanium-colored trim and a discounted package of ordinary Cayenne S options.

Cayenne Turbo: mid-line. This is a great car, and has the basic luxury items like bi-xenon lights, color dash display, smooth leather, PASM and air-suspension as standard. I wouldn't make it park out in my driveway, but why stop at only 450 HP when you can get 521 HP with the same great fuel economy?

Cayenne Turbo S: premium (521 HP, 530 ft-lbs). We have one of these. The Turbo S is Porsche's show-off car, only available for part of the 2006 model year. It's similar to the Cayenne Turbo, with more engine airflow, more boost for more power and bigger brakes.


Porsche owns 27% of the Volkswagen Group, who also own Audi, Bentley, Bugatti, Lamborghini, SEAT, and Skoda. Dr. Porsche is the designer of the VW Beetle, a project undertaken at the personal request of Adolf Hitler. I kid you not; truth is stranger than fiction. As if it's not obvious, the Porsche 911 is the same car as the beetle, except with six instead of four flat air-cooled cylinders. It beats me why balding middle-age men get all excited about the 911; 911s are simply longer Beetles.

The Cayenne is a VW Touareg (and Audi Q7) if you look inside. I kid you not; our Cayenne Turbo S has a VW logo stamped in the body above the VIN on the upper right of the spare tire well! Oddly the VW Touareg has this part of the frame covered in padding.

As far as I can tell, all of these are made in Bratislava, Slovakia. Final assembly for the Porsche version is at Porsche's Leipzig, Germany plant, so it's marked "Made in Germany" on the door sill, even thought our window sticker only lists 40% German parts content. Contrast this to the VW Touareg, whose door sill says "Made in Slovakia" but whose window sticker reports 80% German parts content.

I've been to Bratislava as a day trip 35 miles east of Vienna. Skoda is the big brand over there; I wonder if there is a Skoda equivalent? For all I know these are made in the Skoda factory. Let me know if you have any more information on these hyjinx. If you live around Bratislava I'd love to know what it says on the factory!

The VW version has rear side air adjustments; the Porsche has air on the sides but no adjustments.


Consumer Reports, the only objective data to which I have access, rates this about average to better-than-average for German cars. That of course means a "worse than average" half-black dot, which is better than most of the top line BMW and Mercedes models, which get the completely black "awful" dot. Even our 2006 Saab gets the big black dot, and it's been fine. It's not 1969 anymore, and today cars just run. I used to freak out about CU's ratings, until I realized that more important is how well the dealer stands behinds the work.

Gremlins which happened in the first thousand miles, but which fixed themselves, are:

Passenger Airbag Off light told us my wife's airbag was off, even with her sitting in the seat.

no auto down driver's window.

No Tire Pressure Monitor, which lit a yellow warning that the system had stopped working.

All three of these went away when the Porsche Cayenne Turbo S was restarted later. This is awful; I've never had any car in the past twenty years have all these faults. We'll see how the future runs.


The first Cayenne came off the Leipzig assembly line on 20 August, 2002.

2008 Models

Interiors are identical to 2006.

No Turbo S, only the less powerful Turbo.

Prices went up 2.8% with no close-out pricing; sorry, suckers.

2008 Specifications:

2008 Porsche Cayenne (VW V6):

Base Price: $43,400
Engine: 3.6-liter V6 from VW
Horsepower: 290 at 6,200 rpm
Torque: 273 ft-lbs. at 3,000 rpm
Transmission: Six-speed manual ?optional automatic?
Curb Weight: 4,762 lbs
0 to 60 mph: 7.5 seconds (SLOW!!!)
Top Speed: 141 mph
EPA: 18 mpg city/22 mpg highway
Cargo: 62.5 cu.-ft. with seats folded forward
Towing: 7,716 lbs.
Ground Clearance: 8.6 inches (10.7 with air suspension)

2008 Porsche Cayenne S (plain V8):

Base Price: $57,900
Engine: 4.8-liter V8
Horsepower: 385 at 6,200 rpm
Torque: 369 ft-lbs. at 3,500 rpm
Six-speed automatic with tiptronic
Curb Weight: 4,950 lbs.
0 to 60 MPH: 6.4 seconds
Top Speed: 155 mph
EPA: 14 mpg city/21 mpg highway
Cargo: 62.5 cu.-ft.
7,716 lbs.
Ground Clearance: 8.6 inches (10.7 with air suspension)

2008 Porsche Cayenne Turbo (basic turbo V8, not S):

Base Price: $93,700
Engine: 4.8-liter twin-turbo V8
Horsepower: 500 at 6,000 rpm
Torque: 516 ft-lbs. 2,250 - 4,500 rpm
Transmission: Six-speed automatic with Tiptronic
Curb Weight: 5,191 lbs.
0 to 60 mph: 4.9 seconds (decent; almost as good as 2006 Cayenne Turbo S)
Top Speed: 171 mph
EPA: 13 mpg city/20 mpg highway
Cargo: 62.5 cu.-ft.
Towing: 7,716 lbs.
Ground Clearance: 8.6 inches (10.7 with air suspension)

2008 Porsche Cayenne Turbo S: Not available for 2008.

ignore this; the rest of this page is just structure for me to fill in later.


Front doors have three detents; rear doors have two

Three-peat turn signals

VW flippy-key

H3 dim-bright Cornering lights

Lazy turn signals: slow blink rate
smelly garage, like leather
horn only works with ignition on
Page 17: open doors by pulling handle
close side windows off-road
auto windows only from drivers' control and only for
front windows
four heated seats, infinite adjustment
wheel heat if interior <54/12>71/22
press or pull wheel btns to use
rear left has button to light wheel
reverse lower mirror: set mirror button to passenger
button below mirror to make bright
engine cooling fans are monitored and may run for 30
no auto brake drying p79
MONO a/c setting, hold AUTO for 2 seconds
optional parking heater burns fuel
five sunvisors
center dome light slider unmarked - on - off - auto
spare tire vs hold up bar vs VW
pet net moves forward WITH FOLDING REAR SEATS
no shifts in corners as via g-sensor or throttle e lift
downshifts in braking to setup for exit
2nd gear start
hillholder for uphills forward
downhills under 12mph forward/rvs
2 gallons washer fluid
opt aux btty

poor visibility - huge A-pillar blind zones left, right and B-pillar to left rear.

Pumps up turbo in top gear for passing at small throttle before downshifting

6th gear only at 53MPH +, returns to 5th at 46MPH and lower

Trunk: 45" wide x 39" deep x 32" tall

?? how to do alpha lookup in nav.

2007 camry 4cyl 0-60 8.7s C&D 2/07 p.69 (nsn altima 4 cyl, 175 hp 7.4s)

2007 camry SE (6) 6.22s AW 29 Jan 07, p21

even chevy aveo (née Daewoo), $14.975 MSRP has audio in jack, c&d 2/07 p.111, 103ho, 24 mpg actual.

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