2011 facelift for Porsche's Cayenne (Audi Q7 Cousin)

Porsche's mega-SUV gets a revamp and becomes more 'street' with a 2011 facelift that looks set to make this off-road vehicle a winner. The Porche Cayenne is a 5 Seat MPV available from about £45,000 - £85,000.

The new facelift and re-jigging of the old Cayenne model has taken the company two steps ahead of its rivals, Audi and Mercedes. The new model is much more coupe-like than the previous bulky one. It's 'face' looks to pierce the air more cleanly and be less of a wall of metal when it comes to aerodynamics. The styling cues are obviously lifted straight from the Panamera's drawing board―a good thing.

Porche Cayenne

** Porche Cayenne **

Porsche has quickly become the one to watch when it comes to the SUV market. The company bounded onto the scene in 2002 and hasn't looked back since. Being the makers of possibly the finest drivers' cars in the world, taking a step into the 'off-road' sector was a brave move for Porsche, but one that has paid off.

No matter what price you pay for a Porsche, quality is always guaranteed. Whether you have a bargain-basement Boxster or a 911 Turbo with every option, you can be assured of having the highest quality materials used both inside and outside the car. The Cayenne has not only had styling help from the Panamera, but the interior plastics, leather and fittings have been borrowed, too. This adds a further sense of class and overall quality to the cabin.

As per usual, the Cayenne's engine is just as impressive as the freshly designed body, with electric, petrol and diesel motors to choose from. The diesel, the slowest, still manages to bring a wave of torque from the Audi-sourced V6 Tdi, with 240bhp turning all four wheels. The next in-line is the hybrid 3.0-V6 petrol engine, which is mated to a 38kWh battery motor that sits in the spare wheel well. Its combined power is 333bhp.

For petrol engines, there is the ubiquitous 4.8 litre V8 (400bhp), which sounds like a NASCAR on steroids, and the turbo-version of that same engine, which has a monumental 500bhp. That extra kick from the turbo takes the Cayenne into super-car territory, with its 0-60mph time falling to around 4.3 seconds.

Following the footsteps of its cousin, the Audi Q7, (7 seater car), the Cayenne is focused for the street. The suspension is tougher and more malleable for road bumps rather than being set up for skipping over boulders off-road. This makes it keener when pressing on and makes the Porsche a serious track car too.

With the bulky off-road equipment such as thicker anti-roll bars and adaptive suspension being tweaked, it has allowed the two-tonne behemoth to lose some pounds. Official figures have not been released yet, but anything under the double-tonne will be appreciated by potential buyers.

With many manufacturers aiming at the tiny city car market, Porsche still manage to produce exciting cars although now it has added the hybrid-electric power to the heaviest car in its line-up. This move brings down the company's total carbon emissions and therefore shows that even massive, soft-road vehicles can be more fuel efficient and better for the environment than ever before.

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