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Review: Porsche Mk.1 Cayenne (2003-10)

Review: Porsche 955 Cayenne (2003-06)

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Released in June 2003, the Porsche Type 955 Cayenne was a five-seat, four-wheel drive wagon. Manufactured in Leipzig, Germany, the Porsche 955 Cayenne range initially consisted of the S and Turbo variants, but was expanded in 2006 with the Turbo S. Although sharing its platform with the Volkswagen Touareg, the Cayenne was powered by unique engines – the Cayenne S had a naturally aspirated 4.5-litre V8 petrol engine, while the Turbo and Turbo S variants had a twin-turbocharged unit.


The 4.5-litre V8 petrol engine had double overhead camshafts (per cylinder bank), four valves per cylinder, Porsche’s VarioCam variable intake valve timing system, dry-sump lubrication and cast-aluminium pistons. The engines for the Turbo and Turbo S variants were fitted with parallel turbochargers, high termperature-resistant aluminium alloy cylinder heads and forged pistons with oil-injection cooling jets.


The Porsche Mk.1 Cayenne shared its platform with the Volkswagen 7L Touareg and Audi 4L Q7, but had unique styling, tuning and engines. Compared to the 7L Touareg, the Cayenne was 28 mm longer (at 4782 mm) and 26 mm lower (1699 mm), but width (1928 mm) and wheelbase length (2855 mm) were unchanged.


The Cayenne had double wishbone front suspension (mounted on its own subframe) and multi-link rear suspension; while steel springs were fitted as standard, Turbo variants were fitted with adjustable air springs.
Porsche 955 Cayenne specifications
Variant Engine Trans. Years Peak power Peak torque
S 4.5-litre M48.00 petrol V8 6sp auto 2003-06 250 kW at 6000 rpm 420 Nm at 2500-5500 rpm
6sp man. 2004-06
Turbo 4.5-litre M48.50 twin-turbo petrol V8 6sp auto 2003-06 331 kW at 6000 rpm 620 Nm at 2250-4750 rpm
Turbo S 4.5-litre M48.50 twin-turbo petrol V8 6sp auto 2006 383 kW at 5500 rpm 720 Nm at 2750-3750 rpm

4WD system

The Porsche Mk.1 Cayenne had a permanent four-wheel drive system which, in normal conditions, provided a 38:62 front:rear torque split. However, an electronically controlled multiple-plate clutch enabled all of the engine's torque to be directed to either axle if required. The Cayenne was also equipped with a low range gear ratio (2.7:1), longitudinal differential lock for off-road use and an automatic brake differential which, if the drive wheels began to spin, would brake the wheel with the higher level of slip.

Safety equipment

Standard safety equipment for the Porsche 955 Cayenne included dual front airbags, front side airbags, full-length curtain airbags, ABS, electronic stability control, traction control ('Porsche Traction Management'), front and outer rear seatbelt pretensioners and front seatbelt load limiters.


The Porsche Cayenne had 350 mm by 34 mm inner-vented front brake discs with six-piston aluminium monobloc calipers and 330 mm by 28 mm inner-vented rear discs with four-piston monobloc calipers (with pad wear sensors). The Turbo S, however, was fitted with larger 380 mm front and 358 mm rear discs.


Standard features for the Porsche Cayenne S included 18-inch alloy, a fourteen speaker Bose sound system with CD player, four-zone climate control air conditioning, a satellite navigation system, power adjustable front seats, leather upholstery, cruise control, rain-sensing wipers, 60/40 split and folding rear seats, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, remote central locking, power windows and heated mirrors, a height and reach adjustable steering wheel, trip computer, roof rails, a motion-sensing alarm and an immobiliser.

The Porsche Cayenne Turbo was further equipped with bi-xenon headlights with washers, heated front and rear seats, front and rear parking sensors, car phone, power adjustable steering column, memory settings (front seats, mirrors and steering wheel) and a power sunroof; from October 2005, the Turbo was also fitted with tyre pressure monitoring. However, the Turbo variant was also fitted with:
  • an air suspension system with a self-levelling feature and six adjustable ride heights, and,
  • Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM): an electronically variable damping system which provided continual adjustment of damper forces according to road conditions and driver behaviour. The system also included selectable Comfort, Normal and Sports settings.

The range-topping Cayenne Turbo S was differentiated by its 20-inch alloy wheels, embossed leather seats and tyre pressure monitoring.

Review: Porsche 957 Cayenne (2007-10)


Released in March 2007, the Type 957 Cayenne introduced a revised range, mechanical upgrades and a subtle facelift. Visually, the 957 Cayenne could be identified by its new bonnet, front guards, bumpers and head- and tail-lights; the Turbo variants also had a larger front airdam.

The 957 Cayenne range initially consisted of an entry-level variant with a 3.6-litre V6 petrol engine and the S and Turbo variants; the 4.5-litre V8 engines, however, were replaced with larger 4.8-litre units which also featured direct-injection and Porsche's VarioCam Plus variable valve control system. In 2008, the range was expanded by the GTS and Turbo S variants, with a Diesel variant following in 2009.
Porsche 957 Cayenne specifications
Variant Engine Years Trans. Peak power Peak torque
[N/A] 3.6-litre M55.01 petrol V6 2007-10 6sp auto 213 kW at 6200 rpm 385 Nm at 3000 rpm
Diesel 3.0-litre CAS turbo-diesel V6 2009-10 6sp auto 176 kW at 4000-4400 rpm 550 Nm at 2000-2250 rpm
S 4.8-litre M48.01 petrol V8 2007-10 6sp auto 283 kW at 6200 rpm 500 Nm at 3500 rpm
GTS 4.8-litre M48.01 petrol V8 2008-10 6sp auto 298 kW at 6500 rpm 500 Nm at 3500 rpm
Turbo 4.8-litre M48.51 twin-turbo petrol V8 2007-10 6sp auto 368 kW at 6200 rpm 700 Nm at 3000 rpm
Turbo S 4.8-litre M48.51 twin-turbo petrol V8 2008-10 6sp auto 404 kW at 6000 rpm 750 Nm at 2250-4500 rpm

Safety equipment

Compared to its 955 predecessor, standard safety equipment for the 957 Cayenne was improved with the addition of brake assist, electronic brake force distribution, trailer stability control, off-road ABS and rollover sensors (for the advance deployment of curtain airbags).


Standard features for the 957 Cayenne and Cayenne Diesel included 17-inch alloy wheels, a twelve speaker sound system with CD player and MP3-compatibility, dual-zone climate control air conditioning, leather upholstery, power adjustable front seats, cooled glovebox, front and rear parking sensors, rain-sensing wipers, 60/40 split and folding rear seats, remote central locking, power mirrors and windows, heated and folding mirrors, a tilt and reach adjustable steering column, 12 volt power outlets, rear privacy glass, trip computer, alarm and immobiliser.

The Cayenne S was further equipped with 18-inch alloy wheels, air suspension and PASM, a fourteen speaker Bose sound system with six-disc CD player, satellite navigation and cruise control. Beyond this, the GTS added 21-inch alloy wheels, contoured sports seats a power adjustable steering column, Alcantara headlining and a unique 'satin aluminium' center console.

The Cayenne Turbo was fitted with 18-inch alloy wheels, but also received four-zone climate control air conditioning, heated front and rear seats, directional bi-xenon headlights with washers, a power sunroof, proximity key and tyre pressure monitoring.

Finally, the range-topping Cayenne Turbo S was distinguished by its 21-inch alloy wheels, embossed leather seats, two-tone leather upholstery with Alcantara trim and Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control (PDCC), which utilised active anti-roll bars to respond to the steering angle and lateral acceleration to provide a stabilizing force which counteracted the swaying force of the chassis.

2009 Cayenne GTS Porsche Design Edition 3

In September 2009, a limited-run GTS Porsche Design Edition 3 model was released. Compared to the standard GTS, the Porsche Design Edition 3 featured black-trimmed power-adjustable sports seats with red stitching, Porsche-embossed head restraints and Alcantara seat facings and 'Lava Grey' metallic paint finish. The GTS Porsche Design Edition 3 was also sold with a Porsche Design Chronograph watch and four-piece luggage set.


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