2011 Porsche Cayenne SUV Review | Edmunds.com

2011 Porsche Cayenne SUV

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Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) is a category of used car. Often late-model vehicles, they have been inspected, refurbished, if necessary, and are under warranty by the manufacturer.
Porsche Cayenne Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 4.8 L V 8-cylinder
  • Drivetrain Four Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 8-speed Automatic
  • Horse Power 400 hp @ 6500 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 16/22 mpg
  • Bluetooth Yes
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats Yes

Review of the 2011 Porsche Cayenne

  • The 2011 Porsche Cayenne has been completely redesigned and made far more refined and street-friendly. If you can live with the high price tag and a truncated trunk, it's definitely a top pick.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Excellent handling; invigorated V8s; finely crafted interior; sliding and reclining rear seat; many available options.

  • Cons

    Expensive options; short on cargo capacity.

  • What's New for 2011

    The Porsche Cayenne has been completely redesigned for 2011. A new Hybrid model has been added to the fray, while the GTS and Turbo S models have been put on hold.

Full 2011 Porsche Cayenne Review

What's New for 2011

The Porsche Cayenne has been completely redesigned for 2011. A new Hybrid model has been added to the fray, while the GTS and Turbo S models have been put on hold.


It was an insult to automotive history. It was the Fonz waterskiing over a shark. It was selling out to the worst degree. "It" was the Porsche Cayenne, an SUV derided by Porsche traditionalists when it arrived in North America in 2003 and yet also a wild financial success that secured Porsche's future. Despite the controversy, the Cayenne has proven to be one of our favorite luxury SUVs. Now the second-generation version has been introduced and the 2011 Porsche Cayenne is better than ever, though the idea of an SUV that carries the badge of Stuttgart's iconic sports-car maker is still strange.

Take a look at the 2011 Porsche Cayenne and you're likely to notice how much smaller it looks. This is actually an optical illusion inspired by the Cayenne's lower nose and raked D-pillar, as this Porsche is fractionally longer, wider and taller. Yet it is also a stunning 397 pounds lighter thanks to the deletion of its former dual-range transfer case (meant to permit serious off-roading) and the use of lightweight body panels.

The weight-loss regimen improves handling, lightens the work for the engines and improves fuel economy. This is especially good news for the base-model Cayenne with its revised V6, which now produces 300 horsepower and works with the eight-speed automatic that is now standard for every Cayenne model. Meanwhile the Cayenne S's V8 (now with 15 hp more) and the Cayenne Turbo's turbocharged V8 feel more energetic as well.

All new for 2011 is the Cayenne S Hybrid, a gasoline-electric model that showcases a supercharged 3.0-liter V6 (similar to the engines found in numerous Audi models) and a Porsche-developed hybrid system with battery-powered electric motor. The result is one of the most seamless power deliveries from a hybrid system on the market. Aside from the usual stop/start engine mode (something incorporated by every Cayenne model this year), the hybrid also coasts at speed with the engine shut down. Porsche estimates the Cayenne Hybrid will produce 20 mpg city and 23 mpg highway.

As before, the new Cayenne is quite pricey, especially if you start sampling from the extensive list of options. It also doesn't offer much cargo capacity. The 2011 BMW X5, Infiniti FX50 and 2011 Land Rover Range Rover Sport offer interesting alternatives for the V8-powered Cayenne, while the 2011 Audi Q5, 2011 BMW X3 and 2011 Mercedes-Benz GLK350 compare to the entry-level Cayenne V6.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2011 Porsche Cayenne is a five-seat midsize SUV available in a number of different trims, which are aligned to engine choice.

The base Cayenne comes standard with 18-inch cast-aluminum wheels, self-leveling automatic headlamps, front and rear foglamps, LED running lights, power tailgate, automatic wipers, dual-zone automatic climate control, eight-way power front seats, tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, sliding and reclining 40/20/40-split rear seat, leather upholstery, Bluetooth, a touchscreen interface and a 10-speaker sound system with CD player and auxiliary audio jack. The Cayenne Tiptronic trim adds an automatic transmission.

The Cayenne S and Cayenne S Hybrid differ in powertrain, but both add different steering systems (an enhanced speed-sensitive hydraulic system for the Cayenne S and an electric-assist system for the Hybrid), a sunroof and driver memory functions. The Cayenne Turbo adds a turbocharged V8, 19-inch wheels, air suspension, adaptive bi-xenon headlights, front sport seats with adjustable cushion and backrest side bolsters, rear sport seats, heated power-adjustable steering wheel, aluminum interior trim, a navigation system and a 14-speaker Bose surround-sound system with satellite radio and an iPod/USB audio interface.

Aside from engine choice, the extra equipment found on upper trims is available as options for the lower trim levels. The options list is extensive, with such items as embossed Porsche seat logos as well as different wheels, active body control, carbon-ceramic brakes, front and rear parking sensors, a rearview camera, a blind-spot warning system, panoramic sunroof, adaptive cruise control, keyless ignition/entry, four-zone climate control, ventilated front seats, voice-activated controls (requires navigation system), rear-seat DVD entertainment system, a six-disc CD/DVD changer and a 16-speaker surround-sound audio system.

Powertrains and Performance

The base 2011 Porsche Cayenne is powered by a 3.6-liter V6 that produces 300 hp and 295 pound-feet of torque. All-wheel drive is standard, as is a six-speed manual transmission. An eight-speed automatic is optional and features automatic start/stop technology to conserve fuel. Porsche estimates this Cayenne V6 will reach 60 mph from a standstill in 7.1 seconds with the manual transmission and 7.4 seconds with the automatic. EPA-estimated fuel economy is 16 mpg city/23 mpg highway and 19 mpg combined with the automatic. It's 1 mpg worse with the manual.

The Cayenne S features a 4.8-liter V8 good for 400 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque. All-wheel drive is standard, as is an eight-speed automatic transmission. Porsche's estimated 0-60 time is 5.6 seconds. EPA-estimated fuel economy is 16 mpg city/22 mpg highway and 18 mpg combined.

The 2011 Porsche Cayenne S Hybrid features a supercharged 3.0-liter V6 attached to a 34 kW electric motor and an eight-speed automatic. Combined, this hybrid powertrain produces 380 hp and 427 lb-ft of torque. In Edmunds performance testing, the hybrid went from zero to 60 mph in 6.1 seconds, yet EPA-estimated fuel economy stands at 20/24/21.

The all-wheel-drive Cayenne Turbo gets a turbocharged 4.8-liter V8 that produces 500 hp and 516 lb-ft of torque. With its standard eight-speed automatic, the Turbo hit 60 mph in 4.6 seconds during Edmunds testing, which puts it alongside the BMW X5 M and X6 M as the quickest, fastest SUVs sold. Estimated fuel economy is 15/22/17, which is actually better than the first-generation Cayenne V6.


The Cayenne comes standard with antilock brakes with enhanced brake assist and readiness, stability and traction control, driver knee airbags, front side airbags and side curtain airbags. Rear side airbags, parking sensors, a rearview camera and a blind-spot warning system are available.

In Edmunds brake testing, the Cayenne Turbo came to a stop from 60 mph in 108 feet -- exceptional for an SUV. With its regenerative brakes, the Cayenne S Hybrid fared worse with a stop of 120 feet, but that's still acceptable in this class.

Interior Design and Special Features

After the rather subdued, almost boring cabin of the original Cayenne, the all-new 2011 model features an aggressive, cockpit-style layout reminiscent of the Porsche Panamera. The center console, adorned in upwards of 50 buttons, rises sharply to meet the dash and large touchscreen display, creating an enveloping driver's environment. With so many buttons, it can be difficult to find what you're looking for quickly, though once you know where everything is, you might argue that this Porsche system is more efficient than the many knob-and-screen systems found in its competitors. Or you could argue that it's hopelessly busy.

Like other Porsches, the Cayenne features the finest interior materials put together with excellent craftsmanship. Handsome wood, alloy trim and leather upholstery further add to the luxurious ambience. The front seats are available in three different designs, ranging from simple eight-way power adjustment to the 18-way sport seats, which feature adjustable bolsters, lumbar and seat cushion length. The sculpted rear seats not only recline but slide fore and aft as well, which is a feature not typically found in five-passenger luxury SUVs.

At the same time, the Cayenne has a maximum luggage capacity of 62.9 cubic feet (a figure reduced to 59.7 and 60.2, respectively for the Hybrid and Turbo models). This is on the small side for the Cayenne's class.

Driving Impressions

The 2011 Porsche Cayenne drives with a laid-back demeanor, especially with the standard V6. You'd never describe it as sporting, but it's impressive by SUV standards.

The steering deserves praise for its linearity, making it easy to place this 4,500-pound vehicle on the road. Body roll is well contained and the Cayenne can be hustled along with something approaching gusto, helped by an all-wheel-drive system that delivers 60 percent of its thrust to the rear wheels under normal conditions. The optional active suspension system provides a supple ride even with the dampers in their most aggressive setting. As a result, the Cayenne is an excellent candidate for long-distance driving.

Opting for the Cayenne S or Cayenne Turbo obviously gets the blood pumping since they're so darned quick, but don't expect some lithe plaything that can also carry the kids. The Cayenne S Hybrid, with its added weight and electric power steering, is notably less enjoyable to drive, but does provide a nice blend of performance and fuel economy.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

Nice improvement

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Vehicle: 2011 Porsche Cayenne Turbo 4dr SUV 4WD (4.8L 8cyl Turbo 8A)

My last car was '04 Cayenne TT. This TT is definitely a much improved car. From being almost a ton lighter (helps maneuverability and speed) , 8 gears (quiet shift and the right gear at any speed), starts from 1st gear instead of 2nd (lighter gear box and better launch), PCCB (no break dust but still squeeks a bit), PDCC (keep turns level), vented sports seats, 4.6 seconds, touch screen navigation, and the list goes on... Still waiting to take this car to an autocross.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

Confused suv

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Vehicle: 2011 Porsche Cayenne Turbo 4dr SUV 4WD (4.8L 8cyl Turbo 8A)

Had this car for 5 months now, and I still regret not test driving it before signing the papers. Just got out of a RRS so I thought I'd give the Cayenne a try. The car is stupid fast. Almost to the point where driving at limit speeds is very boring. But the biggest thing that gets me is....what is it? It's not an SUV and it certainly isn't a 911. I'd rather go with a RR or X5 next time because if I wanted a sport car, I'd go pick up a proper 2dr. Also, the Cayenne felt very similar to the Panamera, which in my opinion, does not know if it's a sedan or a sports car as well.

28 of 37 people found this review helpful

2011 cayenne v6 manual

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Vehicle: 2011 Porsche Cayenne 4dr SUV 4WD (3.6L 6cyl 6M)

Exceptional. Value, comfort, power, fuel efficiency, what's not to like. I have owned and loved the following vehicles: '50 Pontiac business coupe, 3-speed '61 Sunbeam Alpine, 4-speed '64 Pontiac GTO HT, 4-speed '66 Plymouth 2-door HT, 4-speed '60 Jaguar XK150, auto '64 Studebaker Avanti, auto '67 Volvo P1800, 4-speed '72 AMC Hronet, 4-speed '74 Fiat 128, 4-speed '76 Fiat 131, 4-speed '69 Alfa spider, 4-speed '79 Pontiac Grand Am, auto '83 Chevrolet S10 Blazer, 5-speed '84 Porsche 944, 5-speed '86 Alfa Alfeta, 5-speed '89 Ford SHO, 5-speed '87 Jeep Cherokee, 5-speed '80 911SC, 5-speed '97 Ford Expedition, auto '06 VW GTI, 6-speed '63 Porsche 356, 4-speed '11 Porsche Cayenne, 6-speed man

26 of 26 people found this review helpful

This car loves oil

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Vehicle: 2011 Porsche Cayenne S 4dr SUV 4WD (4.8L 8cyl 8A)

I have 12,000 miles on this car, drive it mostly as a sedan (no pulling or racing around). The gas milage is terrific (21mpg around town and 23-24 on hwy). the car performs great, very comfortable and has very good breaking. The problem is that it likes to drink oil.. I have had to put 6 qts of oil in the car so far. > 1qt for every 2K miles. I am not the only one , there are 11 pages on Renslist concerning this issue. Porche's 24 page service bulletin concerning this problem is also posted. The first 12 basically instruct the dealer to tell the customer {the manual states up to one quart / 1K miles is within normal limits}. REALLY???? until Porsche fixes this issue Buyer Beware

17 of 71 people found this review helpful

Great suv

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Vehicle: 2011 Porsche Cayenne Tiptronic 4dr SUV 4WD (3.6L 6cyl 8A)

My wife loved the new look of the Cayenne so we decided to purchase one. It has been a great vehicle for the time we have owned it. We bought the VR6 model instead of the V8 as the $14k increase in price didn't seem worth it. The performance of the VR6 is everything you could want out of a SUV. Gas mileage is great at around 23mpg during city driving and up to 27 mpg on trip to the airport. If you want a sporty SUV and still have it practical, I don't know if there is a better vehicle on the market for you. I gave it an 8 for performance as the V8 and TT give the ultimate performance. The ride is a little rough but what do you expect with this good of handling.

6 of 14 people found this review helpful

Rocket sofa

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Vehicle: 2011 Porsche Cayenne Turbo 4dr SUV 4WD (4.8L 8cyl Turbo 8A)

Was agonizing over a new RR SC, 911 or an Vantage Roadster. This car seemed to have it all and the comfort and undated interior, the lighter weight, fuel economy swayed me. We have tried to buy a Cayenne twice in the past and both time have walked away disappointed, once buying the FX and once an RR, this time, the feel was Porsche-like and I am very happy we waited. A serious Rocket propelled lounge. Watch your speed though, you can get over 100 in almost pure silence :)

Talk About The 2011 Cayenne

2011 Porsche Cayenne Discussions See all Started By

Hi, I am looking to buy a used CPO 2011 Porsche Cayenne( base model) with 30 k miles on it. Dealer is asking $48.5k and not ready to go down more. Anybody have any input about the price, is it right o...

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2011 Porsche Cayenne: 2010 Geneva Auto Show (Inside Line)...

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Gas Mileage


  • 16
  • cty
  • 22
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs
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