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Fixing a Porsche:
The Cayenne Turnaround

May 15, 2013 by Matt

Porsche Cayenne White

The 2011-Present Cayenne

Porsche Cayenne White

…in which the German performance automaker shows that when it wants to, it can fix exactly what’s wrong, while augmenting what’s right.

Admittedly, I’ve never been a fan of the Cayenne. I’ve always seen it as something of a necessary evil, a cash cow for Porsche to milk for development capital to fund its more enthusiast-focused offerings like the 911, Boxster and its racing program. The first-generation car did absolutely nothing to dissuade that notion; it was massive (~5,000 lbs), barely functioned off-road and was breathtakingly ugly, cursed with awkward proportions, an array of lesion-like intakes on its nose and an anonymous, truck-like rear aspect. Sure, it was fast and its manufacturer did an amazing job of making such a juggernaut corner, accelerate and brake like a sports sedan, but at the end of the day, its looks were the real deal-breaker, to the point where Jeremy Clarkson famously refused to drive one home at the end of a Top Gear review, but simply left it in the middle of a field (Series 3, Episode 7).

Porsche Cayenne Turbo Gray

The 2004-2010 Cayenne

Porsche Cayenne Turbo Gray

Porsche certainly seems to have taken the criticism to heart. The 2011-present, 2nd-generation car has leapfrogged all others to become the best-looking SUV on the market; more importantly, its revised nose, tail and overall proportions actually make it look like a proper Porsche, like it belongs in the same stable as the 911, Cayman and Boxster, among others. Sure, it still weighs north of two tons, but instead of looking like a girthy automotive cinder block for status-minded country club denizens, the refreshed car looks exactly as an SUV from Porsche should look: An automotive capsule, an all-terrain bolide, ferrying its occupants anywhere in a cocoon of speed. And it manages to bend the laws of physics in delivering startling performance for something so tall and heavy, same as its predecessor.

Well done, Stuttgart. Now perform the same feat on the Panamera.

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Filed under: Aesthetics, Porsche

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