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The Daily Drivers: Double Take | By Peter Couture and Lyra Solochek, Times Staff Writers

Porsche adds spice to Cayenne SUV

Appearance: New for all Cayennes are triangular headlights that feature LEDs as daytime running lights. (Lyra likens them to a "catfish with LED whiskers.") The rear has been restyled and is now dominated by horizontal LED taillights. Porsche says the new model Cayenne is slightly larger but 400 pounds lighter. Overall, the new Cayenne looks sleeker and more racy.

Performance: The turbocharged 4.8-liter V-8 may seem like overkill, but the new 8-speed Tiptronic automatic does a great job of firing off smooth gear changes and helping you to get the best use out of all 500 horsepower. It's easy to forget this is an SUV. Feel guilty about all that horsepower? There's also a hybrid verison for 2011.

Interior: Besides the five-gauge instrument panel, there are enough buttons on the center console — which reminds us of the one in the Panamera sedan — to make you feel like you're in an airplane cockpit. In the Turbo, all those buttons can adjust the air suspension, driving mode and even an engine stop-start feature that helps you to boost fuel economy.

When last we drove a Cayenne, it was a 2009 S that put out a more-than-respectable 385 horsepower. Now Porsche has tweaked the Cayenne for 2011 — redesigned the bodywork and shaved weight from the SUV. Fans say it now feels more like a proper Porsche; we can't attest to that, but we can say: The Turbo version is a screamer.

2011 Porsche Cayenne Turbo

Price: $104,800 base, $128,610 as tested

Powertrain: 4.8-liter V-8, twin turbo, 8-speed Tiptronic, active AWD

Horsepower: 500 at 6,000 rpm

Torque: 516 pound-

feet at 2,250-4,500 rpm

0-60: 4.4 seconds

Curb weight: 4,784 pounds


in inches:

Wheelbase, 114

Length, 190.8

Width, 76.3

Fuel economy:

15 miles per gallon city, 22 mpg highway


Porsche adds spice to Cayenne SUV 03/30/11 [Last modified: Wednesday, March 30, 2011 4:30am]
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