- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 25, 2007

JEREZ, Spain — Since its arrival in August 2002, the Porsche Cayenne has been very successful. Ever since Porsche announced plans to build a large SUV, there was a lot of opposition. But the pessimists were proven wrong, and the believers who thought that Porsche could succeed in selling such a vehicle were proven right.

Really nobody could have guessed that the German sports car manufacturer was going to sell a total of nearly 150,000 Cayennes over the past four years. Even Porsche itself hoped to build about 90,000 and would not have dreamed that of its total sales, 40 percent would be of the Cayenne.

On March 3, the refreshed Cayenne will go on sale in North America with a new nose, sharper headlamps, new engines and — last but not least — a new anti-roll stability system. The improved design results in better aerodynamics. The drag coefficient went down from 0.38 (V-6) and 0.39 (V-8 models) to 0.35 for all three 2008 models.

The new engines all feature direct fuel injection (DFI) for increased power and torque and reduced fuel consumption and exhaust emissions.

As before, the base Cayenne is equipped with a V-6 engine. The engine capacity has been increased from 3.2- to 3.6-liter. This power plant has 290 horsepower and 283 foot-pounds of torque and has significantly better performance than the outgoing V-6. It accelerates to 60 mph in 8.1 seconds and reaches a top speed of 141 mph (that was 9 seconds and 133 mph on the former model). Pricing for the base 2008 Cayenne starts at $43,400.

The 4.5-liter V-8 is replaced by a new 4.8-liter V-8 rated at 385 horsepower and 369 foot-pounds of torque that propels the Cayenne S in 6.5 seconds to 60 mph and a top speed of 156 mph, but the Cayenne Turbo is the leader with its 4.8-liter V-8 biturbo. The sprint takes only 4.9 seconds and the needle of the odometer stops at a respectable 171 mph.

The prices for the Cayenne S start at $57,900 and $93,700 for the Turbo. Destination charges for the Cayenne SUVs are $895.

The performance is up, but the fuel consumption is down as much as 8 percent in the average European cycle.

The new Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control (PDCC) will be available on all models. It is an active anti-roll system that supplements the optional PASM, Porsche Active Suspension Management, that is combined with air suspension.

The PDCC adds active anti-roll bars that reduce body roll and improve off-road grip. Dynamic curve lights will be standard on the Turbo and an option on the other models. Porsche Management, an off-road anti-lock braking system, and Trailer Stability Control also will be standard.

In the south of Spain, Porsche had a road closed for the comparison of the old model and the new Cayenne with PDCC. In the slalom and a 180-degree turn, it was immediately clear that the system greatly reduces body roll. Later on the public roads, it was even more impressive to feel that the Cayenne behaves more like a sports car than an SUV. Although the V-8 models will be the most desirable, especially the Turbo, that really acts unbelievably quick, at the same time growling like a beast.

But I also liked the normal V-8 and especially the powerful and agile V-6 engine. It offers 90 percent of its torque between 2,000 and 4,000 rpm. The V-6 responds quickly and also with the short off-road stretch we were able to cover, it performed well. The Cayenne and Cayenne S comes standard with a reinforced six-speed manual gearbox, while the Turbo has the Tiptronic six-speed automatic transmission that is offered as an option on the other models Furthermore, the new models give the driver the option to choose for the Standard of Sports suspension.

But the most impressive feature of the 2008 Cayenne is really the PDCC, which is really worth its price.

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