2006 Porsche Cayenne Review
Pros & Cons
- Exemplary performance on the street, packed with the latest hardware and luxury features, opulent cabin, solid towing capacity.
- Sacrifices some off-road ability in its quest for maximum performance, you have to pay a little extra for the name.
Edmunds' Expert Review
Awkward-looking but thrilling behind the wheel, the 2006 Porsche Cayenne is a thoroughly capable luxury SUV that makes good on its Porsche nameplate.
Long a builder of world-class sports cars, Porsche was an unlikely entrant into the SUV race. It seemed illogical for Porsche to go after a piece of this lucrative pie at the expense of watering down its illustrious reputation. But who can blame the company for wanting to cash in on the bounty?Porsche bigwigs worried that continuing to build only two products, the 911 and the Boxster, was a narrow market niche would leave the company much more vulnerable to fluctuations in the economy. The gamble has paid off so far as the Porsche Cayenne has sold well. Going up against vehicles like the BMW X5 and Infiniti FX45, the Cayenne is the first Porsche since the 928 to offer a V8 engine.
There are four versions of the Porsche SUV: the Cayenne, Cayenne S, Cayenne Turbo and Cayenne Turbo S. A 250-horsepower V6 powers the base model Cayenne, while a 4.5-liter V8 rests under the hood of the remaining three. With its 340-hp normally aspirated V8, the Cayenne S can scamper to 60 mph from a stop in 6.8 seconds. The Turbo version makes 450 hp and 457 pound-feet of torque. Porsche says this is good enough to propel the SUV to 60 mph in 5.2 seconds. The new-for-2006 Turbo S, meanwhile, produces 520 horsepower and can reach 60 mph in 4.8 seconds, which is as quick as a 911 Carrera.
As this is a luxury SUV, Porsche has equipped all models with a full complement of features. Indeed, the furnishings are opulent even for this class, with plush carpeting, a suede headliner and rich leather; although, as in other Porsches, additional leather and wood inlays will cost you. There's room for five, or you can fold the rear seats down to reveal a decent amount of cargo space. The four-wheel-drive system is electronically controlled, and the division of power between the front and rear wheels is not determined by the lack of traction alone, but by sensors measuring road speed and driver inputs. Should the owner actually want to take his Porsche Cayenne off pavement, the transmission offers low-range gearing for improved performance on steep ascents and descents, and a 100-percent front-to-rear differential lock for maximum traction. Turbo and Turbo S models also come with an air suspension that can raise and lower the ride height for better low- and high-speed performance; it's optional on other Cayennes.
As for safety, all four versions come with a full complement of airbags and standard Porsche Stability Management. The base Cayenne with a manual transmission includes a hill-holder feature, called Porsche Drive-Off Assistant (PDOA) System. This enables the driver to easily set the vehicle in motion on steep inclines. The system "holds" the brakes automatically, allowing the driver to remove his foot from the brake pedal without the vehicle rolling backward. In addition, the turbo models come with a bi-HID headlight system that can aim its light into a bend, thereby improving illumination when cornering. All this comes at a price, however, as the Turbo S stickers at a price above $110,000. Meanwhile, the S model starts in the upper $50Ks, while the base V6 model starts in the $40Ks. Regardless of which Porsche Cayenne you choose, this is serious money for an SUV, but for those who have been cramming kids and briefcases into the back of a 911 for years, it might well be a price worth paying.
2006 Porsche Cayenne models
Four versions of the four-door, five-passenger Porsche Cayenne SUV are offered: base, S, Turbo and Turbo S. Base models come with features such as 17-inch alloy wheels, leather seating, 12-way power seats, dual-zone automatic climate control and a 12-speaker CD stereo. The S adds 18-inch wheels and a 350-watt, 14-speaker Bose audio system. The top-line Turbo and Turbo S provide an air suspension with automatic ride height and damping adjustment (Porsche Active Suspension Management), bi-HID headlights, a navigation system, heated seats front and rear, seat memory and front/rear parking assist. The Turbo S also has 20-inch wheels and special interior and exterior trim details. Most of the upgraded features on the turbo models can be had as options on other Cayennes, and other extras include four-zone climate control, bolstered sport seats, a six-CD changer, various wheel/tire upgrades, an off-road package, a moonroof and trailering preparation.
Performance & mpg
The base Porsche Cayenne uses a 3.2-liter V6 that makes 247 horsepower and 229 pound-feet of torque. The midgrade Cayenne S is upgraded with a 4.5-liter V8 rated at 340 hp and 310 lb-ft of torque. Turbos boast 450 hp and 460 lb-ft of torque from a twin-turbocharged version of the S model's V8, and ordering the optional Power Turbo Kit raises output to 500 hp. The top-shelf Turbo S squeezes out 520 hp and 530 lb-ft of torque. Power flows to all four wheels via a permanent dual-range four-wheel-drive system. Although the base model takes about 9 seconds to reach 60 mph, acceleration is sports-carlike on other Cayennes: the S hits 60 mph in 6.8 seconds while the Turbo S dispatches that sprint in 4.8 seconds. Maximum towing capacity for all models is a substantial 7,700 pounds. The base Cayenne is available with a six-speed manual transmission. A six-speed automatic is optional on that model and standard on S and Turbo models.
Standard safety features on all models include seat-mounted side airbags in the front, full-length side curtain airbags, four-wheel antilock disc brakes and stability control. The Porsche Cayenne has not been crash tested.
Strange as it seems, the 2006 Porsche Cayenne does live up to the Porsche name in terms of acceleration and handling. The transmission shifts with precision and the engine growls reassuringly under full throttle. Turbo lag is annoying on the top-line models, but otherwise the drivetrain offers little to complain about. It may sound like a cliche, but out on the road the Cayenne is truly the Porsche of SUVs, exhibiting tight body control in the corners. The Cayenne is also a capable SUV when it comes to off-highway work, but only if you specify the optional off-road package.
In a nod to its Porsche heritage, the Cayenne's ignition switch is on the dash's left side, and the instrument cluster would look equally at home in a 911. For those unfamiliar with the legendary sports car, this means that the gauge cluster is nearly perfect, but the climate and radio controls are an indecipherable cluster of buttons and knobs. Cabin furnishings are truly opulent, even by luxury SUV standards. The Cayenne has a maximum cargo capacity of 63 cubic feet, a low number for this class.
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Features & Specs
More About This Model
It was not by accident that Porsche chose to introduce the 2006 Cayenne Turbo S on its own world-class (assembly-line adjacent) racetrack in Leipzig, Germany, as well as in the silty, orange sand dunes outside Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. Why not? Because there is simply no other production vehicle that could possibly manage to perform as well as the 520-horsepower Cayenne Turbo S does in both extreme locations.
"What about the 510-hp Mercedes-Benz ML63 AMG or the 420-hp Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8?" you ask. While those two might be able to run a competitive lap at the track, neither one is offered with the kind of dedicated off-road hardware (and software) the Cayenne Turbo S has as standard equipment. Besides, its gargantuan power output, locking center differential (optional rear-axle lock), low-range (2.7-to-1 reduction) transfer case and six-way height-adjustable suspension are what differentiate the Cayenne Turbo S from its competitors and make it a unique offering in the ultrasport-utility segment.
And who wouldn't feel anything but glee hammering a nearly 3-ton vehicle around a racetrack (or flying over a dune) at speeds that would seem to suspend the laws of Newton and Euclid? More than a horsepower-fortified sport-ute with the aesthetics of a dented potato, the highly engineered Cayenne Turbo S employs decades' worth of Porsche know-how, track research and pure imagination. Does anybody really need a five-passenger supercar/dune buggy? Probably not, but that doesn't mean you can't want one.
520 horses, or about 1,000 camels
In the Cayenne Turbo S, Porsche increased the already potent Cayenne Turbo's 4.5-liter twin-turbo V8 horsepower and torque 16 and 15 percent, respectively — and yet it consumes no more fuel than its 450-hp brother in normal driving conditions. By enlarging and constructing the twin intercoolers entirely of aluminum, the engineers were able to promote higher efficiency and better flow conditions in the heat exchangers. The result is a reduction of turbo pressure loss by 50 percent. This more rigid system in turn allows the turbocharger pressure to be increased by 2.9 psi up to a maximum of 27.6 psi.
In terms of power output among current Porsches, the Cayenne Turbo S is second only to the 605-hp V10 Carrera GT supercar. Porsche claims the 5,200-to-5,900-pound (depending on options) Cayenne Turbo S will run zero to 60 mph in 4.8 seconds, and we have no reason to doubt it. That's a few ticks ahead of what we expect from its nearest competitors.
However, what's most striking about the Turbo S's driving dynamics is the ever present and ever ready wave of torque upon which the vehicle rides. Maximum torque of 530 lb-ft is available from just 2,750 rpm. There's an effortlessness to the way the Turbo S wills itself to any speed the driver chooses. It's the kind of vehicle that requires periodic speedometer checks because it never feels like it's had enough time nor worked hard enough to find itself at triple-digit speed. If the engine does venture north of 4,000 rpm, the guttural response from the exhaust sounds like a caged lion's roar in anticipation of fresh meat.
A ratio for every mood and occasion
Porsche's six-speed Tiptronic S automatic transmission is standard equipment on the Cayenne Turbo S. It offers the driver the option of automatic shifts or manual shifting by nudging the selector lever or by thumbing switches on the steering wheel.
In auto mode, the intelligent system "learns" a driver's habits, observes the incline of the terrain and notices cornering G-loads to tailor and/or delay shifting to maximize comfort or performance. Further, the driver may, at any time, intervene in automatic mode by touching the thumb switches, temporarily summoning the manual mode.
We tried both automatic and manual modes on the racetrack and found that while automatic shifting does, indeed, become more aggressive and sporting with each passing lap, the manual mode was best suited to the demands of the driver, offering better control of the vehicle — especially when Porsche Stability Management (PSM) was disabled.
The Porsche Traction Management (PTM) four-wheel-drive system is based on an all-encompassing approach that incorporates a number of different electronic systems and traditional hardware. In simple terms, the engine's power is routed through a central multiplate clutch operated by an electric motor. This clutch apportions power to the vehicle's front and rear axles.
In normal driving, the split is rear-biased at 62 percent to lend a familiar and sporting demeanor. However, unlike similar variable-locking clutch-based systems, PTM can route 100 percent of the drive power to either axle — not a maximum of 50 percent to each. Drawing on information gathered from the vehicle's speed, lateral acceleration, steering angle and throttle position, the system constantly adjusts the power split to both axles.
Many manufacturers' systems end there — with one system that is optimized for either on- or off-road use. Not Porsche. This system is so highly developed and flexible that it's as useful as an all-wheel-drive sports car as it is as a capable snow (or sand) mobile.
and another set for off-roading
When the pavement runs out, the Cayenne Turbo S is just getting started. With the flick of a switch the reduction gear is engaged and the engine's torque is multiplied 2.7 times. At the same time, PTM, PSM, ABS and automatic brake differential (ABD) are all reset to better manage off-road situations. Should these settings prove insufficient, the driver may operate the same switch again to lock the entire system front-to-rear, thereby driving both axles simultaneously. And if the vehicle is equipped with the Advanced Offroad Technology Package, rocking the off-pavement switch a third time will lock the rear axle's left and right wheels.
If a particularly troublesome obstacle (fallen tree, rock on the trail) presents itself, the front and rear antiroll bars may be electronically decoupled for an additional 2.4 inches of suspension articulation that keeps the vehicle more upright while traversing the hurdle. Additionally, the Cayenne Turbo S features a hill-descent mode wherein the driver removes his feet from both pedals and the Cayenne safely inches its way down a slippery slope at a prescribed speed.
Is something rubbing?
OK, so what's the rub? How about a $112,415 price tag for starters? Porsche is notorious for optional equipment pricing matrixes, with a colored Porsche crest on the wheels' center caps costing an extra $185, for instance. The Offroad Tech Package we loved so much is another $4,290, and the 20-inch wheels/tires pictured here will cost $2,160 more. You get the point, and we can comfortably estimate that the total cost of the Cayenne Turbo S we drove to be $150,000.
Also, we noticed how sensitive the vehicle is to worn tires on the racetrack, where handling was greatly affected by variously new/old tires. Those aren't free, either. Finally, all of our sand-dune slinging was only possible by letting about half the air out of all four tires. Should you choose to replicate our foray, you'll need to have an air compressor handy (easy enough, since one comes standard with the Cayenne) before returning to civilization.
But then again
You've gotta love that there is a vehicle that can run competitive track laps and also go where only camels have gone before. It should be no surprise that Porsche builds the machine that can do that, while costing you half a fortune. Put a large enough engineering team behind a project and anything is possible.
Remember, Porsche is the company that made the 911 a crown jewel, a rear-engined car with the weight distribution of a lead-feathered arrow that flies like one built with perfect weight distribution. Why? Because the carmaker enjoys the heck out of solving riddles with ingenious engineering. Doing with ease what appears to be impossible is what the 2006 Porsche Cayenne Turbo S is all about. It'll humiliate a sports car or four-wheel-drive truck. So, how much should a magic carpet cost? Put it that way, and $112,000 starts to sound if not reasonable, then at least plausible.
Used 2006 Porsche Cayenne Overview
The Used 2006 Porsche Cayenne is offered in the following submodels: Cayenne Turbo S, Cayenne SUV. Available styles include S 4dr SUV AWD (4.5L 8cyl 6A), Tiptronic 4dr SUV AWD (3.2L 6cyl 6A), 4dr SUV AWD (3.2L 6cyl 6M), Turbo 4dr SUV AWD (4.5L 8cyl Turbo 6A), Turbo S 4dr SUV AWD (4.5L 8cyl Turbo 6A), and S Titanium Edition 4dr SUV AWD (4.5L 8cyl 6A). Pre-owned Porsche Cayenne models are available with a 4.5 L-liter gas engine or a 3.2 L-liter gas engine, with output up to 340 hp, depending on engine type. The Used 2006 Porsche Cayenne comes with all wheel drive. Available transmissions include: 6-speed shiftable automatic, 6-speed manual. The Used 2006 Porsche Cayenne comes with a 4 yr./ 50000 mi. basic warranty, a 4 yr./ 50000 mi. roadside warranty, and a 4 yr./ 50000 mi. powertrain warranty.
What's a good price on a Used 2006 Porsche Cayenne?
Price comparisons for Used 2006 Porsche Cayenne trim styles:
- The Used 2006 Porsche Cayenne S is priced between $6,000 and$6,000 with odometer readings between 128527 and128527 miles.
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Which used 2006 Porsche Cayennes are available in my area?
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Find a used Porsche Cayenne for sale - 9 great deals out of 14 listings starting at $16,249.
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Find a used certified pre-owned Porsche Cayenne for sale - 6 great deals out of 16 listings starting at $21,799.
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Should I lease or buy a 2006 Porsche Cayenne?
Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.