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2008 Porsche Cayenne S Review


Best-Selling SUV

A three-quarter front view of a 2008 Porsche Cayenne S

In short: A benchmark sporty SUV.

It’s no secret that Porsche automobiles are just about the best production sports cars on the road. They are universally lauded for their handling, styling, prestige and resale value, just to a name a few key attributes. Not wanting to miss out on the huge popularity of SUVs, Stuttgart introduced the Cayenne, and the distant cousin of the Volkswagen Touareg has become the best-selling product in Porsche’s stable.

A look at the 3.6-liter V8 engine of the Porsche Cayenne S
The steering column of the 2008 Porsche Cayenne S

This new generation offers a mild makeover to produce yet a better vehicle with more power and more efficiency thanks to a new direct fuel-injection system. Exterior looks are nearly identical to earlier models, but the trained eye will notice finer headlights, a slightly re-styled front-end and an overall intensified aerodynamic design.  We keep seeing them in cities like London, Manhattan, and Beverly Hills, but the off-road capabilities of these tough vehicles are exceptional. It’s a shame that the vast majority of Cayennes never leave paved streets, where they are flawless, giving each occupant a high level of security.

With a curb weight approaching 5,000 pounds, you’ll never cease to be amazed by it’s agility. Add 1,000 pound of payload (fuel and four passengers) and this charmer will display its heart of a racer. We took it on the NASCAR oval at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway at up to 140 mph, and cruised in style round and round sans decals and the intense heat and roughness you’d get in Kurt Busch’s Dodge. Thanks to the Porsche Traction Management system (PTM) coupled with a new stability management (PSM), all four wheels receive a balanced distribution of engine torque.  Larger brakes are now present to deal with this added power. On the auto track, accelerations up to 80 mph in turns were controlled by the electronics, only feeling minute slides for split seconds while they kicked in. The experience was so amazing, you have to drive it to believe it.

Cayenne vs. Cayenne
Cayenne S Logo

The interior cabin is spacious and adorned with quality material that will last.  You may board five passengers on this ship and there still remains a good cargo area. Fold the rear seats down and you have the nicest delivery vehicle money can buy. Speaking of buying, a base Cayenne starts around $43,000 while a fully loaded Turbo creeps up to over $106,000. That’s a lot of hard earned cash, but you will be safe and always arrive in style.

A three-quarter rear view of a 2008 Porsche Cayenne S

Read a review of the Porsche Cayenne S Hybrid Tiptronic

Warranty/Service: Four-year/50,000 mile limited warranty, 10-year unlimited warranty against rust, four-year/50,000 mile roadside assistance.

Base Price: $57,900 / As Tested: $66,330

Technical Specifications

Vehicle type: all-wheel-drive, 5-passenger, 4-door SUV

Engine: 4.8 liter
Torque: 369 lb-ft
Transmission: 6-speed Tiptronic

Curb weight: 4,762 lbs
Wheelbase: 112.4 in
188.9/76/66.9 in

Traction: traction control, vehicle stability control, automatic brake differential
Safety: front air bags, side air bags, curtain air bags, tire pressure and brake pad wear monitor

0-60 mph: 6.4 seconds

EPA City: 13 mpg
EPA Highway: 19 mpg

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Photographs by AlphaMedia

(Updated: 06/30/11 NW)

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