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New Porsche Cayenne lighter and more luxurious using VW's MLB platform

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Article by Damon Lowney
Photos courtesy Porsche

Porsche has just unveiled the new Cayenne SUV, which uses Volkswagen’s new MLB modular platform and will initially be offered in two variations — Cayenne and Cayenne S — at the Porsche Museum in Stuttgart, Germany.

President and CEO of Porsche AG Oliver Blume started the press conference after a lengthy introduction by the Bohemian Symphony Orchestra in Prague (watch the whole unveil here). One of the benefits of the new MLB platform is reduced weight, to the tune of “up to 65 kilograms (143 pounds),” Blume stated. Shedding roughly the equivalent of an average-sized male is sure to help performance in all respects, though we wonder if anybody will really notice — the Cayenne still weighs an SUV-like 4,376 pounds (base model).

Above: Porsche President and CEO Dr. Oliver Blume introduces the new Cayenne at a press conference at the Porsche Museum in Stuttgart, Germany. (Screenshot taken during livestream debut online.)

Both the Cayenne and Cayenne S will be equipped with turbocharged V6s. In the Cayenne, there’s a single-turbo 3.0-liter V6 making 340 horsepower, while the Cayenne S gets a 2.9-liter twin-turbo unit that makes 440 hp. A new 8-speed Tiptronic S torque-converter automatic transmission sends the power to all four wheels. Of course, over time Porsche will add more powerful and efficient variations to the model line. For the record, the Cayenne can get from 0-60 miles per hour in 6.2 seconds (5.9 with Sport Chrono Package), while the Cayenne S does the same test in 5.2 seconds (4.9 with Sport Chrono Package).

But it’s the new SUV’s design that you’re probably wondering about. To that end, the Cayenne uses noticeably sharper design cues to make it look more “precise,” “athletic,” and “elegant,” according to Porsche’s Vice President of Style Michael Mauer, who also spoke at the press conference. That despite being longer and wider than the model it replaces. The roof height, however, is lower by nearly a centimeter, adding to the sportier look.

Porsche indicates the standard wheels are now a size larger than before to emphasize sportiness, while the Cayenne now takes a cue from the Macan with staggered tire widths front to rear.

The front air intakes are larger, and while we’re still talking about the front end, the four-point LED headlights are now standard across the line, likely to maintain the much-touted design cue across all Cayennes. The swiveling headlight system (PDLS) becomes the first option for headlights, followed by the PDLS Plus, which adds a “matrix beam.”

Porsche Director Exterior Design Peter Varga said much attention to detail was paid to the rear — and it shows. The Cayenne does away with the bulkier taillights and replaces them with more attractive “3D” lights connected by a light band, which was first seen on the current Panamera and likely will make its way to all Porsche models.

Driver aides, with the exception of the continuously variable dampers (PASM), are either new or totally redesigned. Rear-axle steering, first seen on the 911 and then the Panamera, is now available as an option. The optional air suspension now uses three-chamber technology to increase the spread between comfort- and sport-oriented settings. The optional active roll bar system (PDCC) that used a hydraulic setup before has been converted to an electric system, allowing shorter response times.

Brakes haven't been overlooked, either. In fact, in addition to the standard cast iron brake discs, Porsche introduced its newest brake technology for the Cayenne: Porsche Surface Coated Brake (PSCB). In other words, this means, so opted, the brakes are coated with tungsten carbide, which is stated to increase friction while reducing wear and brake dust. PSCB is only available when 20- or 21-inch wheels are optioned. The carbon ceramic brake system (PCCB) is still the top-of-the-line brake option.

Finally, from behind the wheel, where owners will spend most of the time with their new Cayennes, there’s a new instrument cluster, infotainment system, and center console that mimics the Panamera's. That means the central gauge, the tachometer, is a traditional, analog piece, and it’s surrounded by four HD displays, two on each side. At the center is a 12.3-inch touchscreen pulled straight from the Panamera, while the center console now has the sedan’s glass control surface with haptic feedback instead of buttons — though switches and buttons are still used for some controls.

 All in, this writer thinks the new Cayenne is the most attractive one yet. Additionally, the new platform and improvements to the drive systems and the interior are poised to make it more capable and comfortable than ever before. Porsche has not released pricing structures or said when the new Cayenne will be available.

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