Porsche Ups the Power for 2008 Cayenne

Perhaps it comes as no surprise — not really big news at all — that the Porsche Cayenne, the sporty SUV from the maker of the venerable 911, as well as the Boxster and the Cayman, is equipped with more powerful engines for 2008. After all, isn’t that what we expect from Porsche? Shouldn’t all the vehicles produced by the iconic German automaker be the best in their fields, the fastest around the track, and the hunkiest in suburban driveways across the country?

Well, sure. But in the Cayenne’s case, particularly the base model equipped with a V6, the extra power is justified, even necessary, when you consider that the Cayenne is a large, heavy vehicle that can always use a little extra umph to move it along the highway. But when you add in the fact that the new 2008 engines are actually more fuel-efficient that their forebears, and that the Cayenne has received some minor styling upgrades that make it more aerodynamic (and yes, again, more fuel efficient), well, just maybe that is news.

Besides, we can’t help writing about the Cayenne, or any other Porsche, for that matter. They’re cars that demand to be noticed. So we’re noticing them — it’s a tough job, but someone has to do it.

The new Cayenne (which has just arrived in showrooms) is available with a choice of three engines. The base 3.6-liter V6 gets a goose of 43 horsepower, to 290 horsepower, which drives the vehicle from 0 to 60 more than a second faster than the engine it replaced, while the new 4.8-liter V8 (available on the S trim package) receives a boost of 45 horsepower, to 385 horsepower. At the top of the heap is a twin-turbocharged V8, which produces a whopping 500 horsepower, up 50 horsepower from the previous model.

Porsche achieved those boosts in power via direct injection (on all three engines) and variable valve timing (on the V8 engines). The direct injection, by the way, also helps make the engines more fuel-efficient.

Exterior changes are subtle and include a revised front end, which helps improve aerodynamics, as well as new headlights and taillights, and a new rear spoiler. All-wheel-drive is standard across the line. The Cayenne also is equipped with more powerful brakes, and such new features as the Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control system, which helps keep the vehicle level under hard cornering. And with all that additional power under the hood, you might be using that new leveling system more than you think.