2011 Porsche Cayenne Review

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Pros & Cons

  • Excellent handling
  • invigorated V8s
  • finely crafted interior
  • sliding and reclining rear seat
  • many available options.
  • Expensive options
  • short on cargo capacity.
List Price Range
$18,990 - $21,203

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Edmunds' Expert Review

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.

Vehicle overview

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.

2011 Porsche Cayenne models

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.

2011 Highlights

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.

Performance & mpg

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.

Safety

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.

Driving

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.

Interior

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.


Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 2011 Porsche Cayenne.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

this car loves oil
sc1982,07/01/2011
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
Nice improvement
choocho,07/20/2012
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.
Better than a car!
Richard,09/01/2010
Replacing my high performance car with a Cayenne S has been an extra special treat. I get the performance, handling and comfort of a sedan plus utility and all wheel drive. The economy is better and the sound of the exhaust is intoxicating. Everything fits and everyone in the vehicle can see better. Recommend buying a 5th wheel and tire for trips. Use the compact spare area for small items and tie down a full size spare in the rear.
Great sporty SUV!
Won,11/23/2015
S 4dr SUV 4WD (4.8L 8cyl 8A)
If you have kid or need room for your family and want to sport drive some time for yourself, Cayenne will be the answer for you. Cayenne will driving like 911 with enough room like most mid size SUV.

Features & Specs

MPG
16 city / 22 hwy
Seats 5
8-speed shiftable automatic
Gas
400 hp @ 6500 rpm
MPG
15 city / 22 hwy
Seats 5
6-speed manual
Gas
300 hp @ 6300 rpm
MPG
16 city / 23 hwy
Seats 5
8-speed shiftable automatic
Gas
300 hp @ 6300 rpm
MPG
20 city / 24 hwy
Seats 5
8-speed shiftable automatic
Hybrid
380 hp @ 5500 rpm
See all Used 2011 Porsche Cayenne features & specs
More about the 2011 Porsche Cayenne
More About This Model

Carving through the 17 sweeping turns of sinewy Barber Motorsports Park sounds like a typical day in the life of an automotive reporter; so does off-roading through 6-foot-deep puddles and up steep, muddy inclines in a dense forest. And cruising at near-highway speeds in a high-tech hybrid vehicle running solely on electricity? Sure, more and more folks are doing that every day as part of their daily routine. But what isn't so typical is the ability to accomplish all three of these tasks in one vehicle -- the 2011 Porsche Cayenne S Hybrid.

Yet that's exactly what we did during our test-drive of the all-new Porsche Cayenne in and around Birmingham, Alabama. While our track time confirmed Porsche's engineering savvy via the lighter-yet-stronger Cayenne chassis, and our off-pavement excursion validated the crossover's ability to challenge a Range Rover or Mercedes G-Class in any wilderness environment, it was the advanced drivetrain in the Cayenne S Hybrid that truly reflected just how far Porsche has moved the technology needle.

And green technology is only one element of this new Cayenne. The artisans in Stuttgart also wanted to improve the crossover's luxury quotient with an all-new interior inspired by the recently introduced Panamera performance sedan. They further sought to upgrade interior space and ride quality via wheelbase and suspension improvements. What do all these changes mean to the end user? An all-new Porsche Cayenne with an even wider range of capabilities than the current model.

Used 2011 Porsche Cayenne Overview

The Used 2011 Porsche Cayenne is offered in the following submodels: Cayenne SUV, Cayenne Hybrid. Available styles include S 4dr SUV 4WD (4.8L 8cyl 8A), 4dr SUV 4WD (3.6L 6cyl 6M), Tiptronic 4dr SUV 4WD (3.6L 6cyl 8A), S Hybrid 4dr SUV 4WD (3.0L 6cyl S/C gas/electric hybrid 8A), and Turbo 4dr SUV 4WD (4.8L 8cyl Turbo 8A).

What's a good price on a Used 2011 Porsche Cayenne?

Price comparisons for Used 2011 Porsche Cayenne trim styles:

  • The Used 2011 Porsche Cayenne S is priced between $18,990 and$21,203 with odometer readings between 73897 and85325 miles.

Shop with Edmunds for perks and special offers on used cars, trucks, and SUVs near Ashburn, VA. Doing so could save you hundreds or thousands of dollars. Edmunds also provides consumer-driven dealership sales and service reviews to help you make informed decisions about what cars to buy and where to buy them.

Which used 2011 Porsche Cayennes are available in my area?

Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 2011 Porsche Cayenne for sale near. There are currently 2 used and CPO 2011 Cayennes listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $18,990 and mileage as low as 73897 miles. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a used car from our massive database to find cheap prew-owned vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a used vehicle you're interested in, check the AutoCheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the Used 2011 Porsche Cayenne.

Can't find a used 2011 Porsche Cayennes you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used Porsche Cayenne for sale - 3 great deals out of 22 listings starting at $18,226.

Find a used Porsche for sale - 6 great deals out of 6 listings starting at $7,741.

Find a used certified pre-owned Porsche Cayenne for sale - 2 great deals out of 18 listings starting at $15,116.

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Should I lease or buy a 2011 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.

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