2011 Porsche Cayenne S in India test drive

The Stuttgart based manufacturer, Porsche Auto Limited have set up base in India with the name of its subsidiary as Porsche India Limited. With the impeding loom of Volkswagen take over, the company is heading towards new direction. Just before Volkswagen could take over Porsche India Limited, the latter is already in the process of launching the 2011 Porsche Cayenne S in India. We at Indiandrives managed to get a quick spin around the beast before it was officially launched. Here is the account of the test drive.

Looks

Looks quite similar to the earlier Porsche Cayenne. But then look carefully and you would notice the certain design elements in the 2011 Porsche Cayenne S in India. The head lamps are placed a bit upper on the bonnet and they are more circular now. The bonnet lid is a small one with the Porsche logo on it. The day time running lamps are placed on the radiator grille which has been split into total of three parts. The fog lamps are placed in the bumper of the car with a chrome skid plate running beneath. Actually saying, all our staffers agree to one point that this car looks every inch a Porsche 911 viewed from the front.

The wing mirrors are also small units but they have been aerodynamically enhanced to lessen the drag coefficient. Viewed from the side, the car or rather the SUV looks very small and almost similar to a Porsche 911. The European influence is evident from the fact that this car has tail lamps extending all the way to the side profile.There is a quarter glass up front as well as towards the rear.

The boot splits the tail lamps and there is a short glass area with a single wiper. The rear spoiler also seems a bit contorted. Porsche is another manufacturer like Volvo which has different logos for the fro0nt and rear. At the rear, the SUV doesn’t have the Porsche logo and instead the whole name of the company is displayed. The bumper reflectors sit quite low and just near the twin tail pipes.

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Interiors

Don’t know how the Germans manage to have such beautiful cabins for their cars. The 2011 Porsche Cayenne S in India is the best example of German magnamity. The first thing that you notice is the leather wrapped steering wheel with beige color on it. The one that we tested is the 2011 Porsche Cayenne S with all the options ticked and so there is no audio mounted controls on the steering wheel. It has got a big boss system at the center with the Porsche logo on it with paddle shifters behind it.  The aircon vents are also classily finished with chrome outlines. The fully programmable front seats adjust for height, reach and also lumbar support. Opinion about the seats were split though. Some of the staffers found the seats to be comfortable while others said that it wasn’t too comfortable for long journeys. The Burmester stereo system (which we are told is a Rs 5.5 lakhs option) sounds way too good, even to the extent of been better than some of the other reputed names in the business. There is an array of buttons in the center console but then they are all of the high quality. The flick of some of the switches is with such a precision that we found ourselves flicking them often for no reason. The white faced centrally placed rev counter reminded us of dare we say, the TVS Apache RTR’s dials.

The rear seat is also very comfortable and the absence of a middle hump makes life easier for the middle passenger. These seats, everyone unanimously agreed that are the best ones in the business with enough of support for everything that is been plonked into them.  Boot space? we don’t think that the buyers in this segment would ever fully load their SUV and go for a drive. Still for the facts, it is approximately 425 liters. The PR wasn’t too keen to give out that detail for reasons best known to him.

Handling and ride quality

There are three chassis modes for this SUV and those are Normal, Comfort and Sports. Since this was an optional piece, it also had Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM). Another unanimous decision by all of our staffers was that this SUV was a sweet combination of raw engine power, ride quality as well as handling. To put words into perspective, the 2011 Porsche Cayenne S in India has an awesome ride quality. Just slot it into the Normal or Comfort mode and the SUV is all the more happy tending the roads for you and protecting you from the bumps. At the same time, slot the setting to Sports mode and the SUV tauts itself to carving the corner ahead at unimaginable speeds. This may be the closest one can get to a high sitting SUC or Sports Utility Car.

The steering is also one of the highlights of this car since it just ensures that it will do your bidding each and every time you turn it. The chassis of this SUV is shared with the Audi Q7 as well as the Volkswagen Touareg but then both of these SUVs cannot hold a candle to the engineering done in the Porsche’s chassis. Porsche also offers Porsche Torque Vectoring System or PTV in this SUV. The benefit of this is that the torque can be varied based on requirement.

Engine, performance and fuel efficiency

The 2011 Porsche Cayenne in India is offered with 5 engine options. The one that we test drove was the 4806 cc 32 valve DOHC V8 engine which has an output of 400 Bhp @ 6500 rpm and maximum torque of 500 NM @ 3500 rpm. This engine is mated with a non PDK 8 speed auto transmission. Terrific is what can describe the performance of this car. It moves from 0-100 kmph in only 7 seconds. One more classic thing about this SUV is that there are two engine modes in it wherein one is Normal and the other is Sport. Pushing the Sport mode throws open a valve in the exhaust system which transforms the car from an all quiet one to a rumbling one. It gets that throaty exhaust roar that one expects from a V8. The top speed of this car as per the PR person was 268 kmph and we had no reasons to doubt this.

Brakes of this car are simply superb and ours been the optional carbon ceramic ones, had immense stopping power. Assisted by numerous Porsche electronic nannies, the brakes ensure that one has a safe experience while driving this car. Safety as in all German cars is also stellar however since the PR person was even reluctant to comment on this, we cannot elaborate on it. Expect at least 6 airbags and the usual stuff of pretensioners and seat belts.

The only point that he(the PR person) was most eager to talk about was the fuel efficiency of this car. Fuel efficiency of a Porsche, are you kidding me? He claimed that this car was 23% more fuel efficient than the outgoing car. But he was actually right. During the short time that we had the SUV with us, it gave us 9.8 kmpl in the city usage whereas the highway figure was 12.1 kmpl. Amazing for a V8  engine. This can be partly attributed to the stop start system that has been enabled for this car. At traffic conditions, with a delay of 10 seconds, the motor shuts down and immediately the moment you prod the accelerator pedal, the car comes to life.

Verdict

Satisfaction guaranteed is what we could the experience from the 2011 Porsche Cayenne S in India. It has got everything that you would want from an expensive SUV and more so the added bonus of been fuel efficient. Come to think of it, if this car is so immensely powerful, how would the Turbo version of this car behave. Insane. All we can say is that whomsoever is looking to buy a Porsche Cayenne or any Porsche for that matter, they better have deep pockets. The 2011 Porsche Cayenne S price in India is Rs 78.87 lakhs (ex- showroom, Delhi).

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