The Cayenne's drivetrain (as with most of the vehicle) is not about subtlety. Flooring it from a dead stop results in about a half seocnd of casual progress beore the entire vehicle hunkers down and hurtles itself forward. The wall of power and torque comes down like a hammer and rockets the vehicle ahead with positive upshifts ocurring precisely at redline (6,400 rpm). At 6,500 rpm the rev limiter hits almost as hard as that initial surge of power, but when left in "manual" mode the Tiptronic will not upshift until you tell it to (which is how it should be). Power-braking the Cayenne to about 2,000 rpm at the starting line shaved a few tenths off of its times, but not as much as we expected for a turbo vehicle. Still, a 5.95-second zero-to-60 time ain't slow, especially for a 5,200-pound vehicle.
Like its acceleration numbers, the Cayenne's stopping power was more on par with your typical supercar, not a two-and-one-half-ton SUV. Any vehicle, with the possible exception of Dodge's latest Viper, would be thrilled with a 116-foot distance when stopping from 60 mph. The fact that all three of the Cayenne's panic stops were under 120 feet (proving fade was barely an issue) is proof that the Porsche didn't skip in the binder department. We did note that the pedal tended to sink toward the floor before pushing back against our right foot under maximum braking. ABS noise and vibration through the pedal was about typical for a modern vehicle. This is about as close to breaking Newton's laws as you can get.
Porsche has effectively masked the Cayenne's weight. Steering feel and feedback is excellent, and in "Sport" mode the vehicle barely wavers as it threads between the cones. Only the touchy throttle, which makes accelerating in mid-slalom tricky, mars an otherwise capable machine. This factor made things tricky because too much throttle, followed by quickly lifting off of the throttle, did indeed reveal all 5,200 pounds of Cayenne as the SUV started into a rotation that was hard to counteract (looks like some of Porsche's original soul remained intact in the Cayenne after all). Still, it is likely the best handling SUV on the planet (yeah, yeah, the FX is very good, too). Karl Brauer