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2013’s The Good 12 – Porsche Cayenne S – $70,000-$80,000


The Porsche Cayenne S actually has a U.S. base price below $70,000 USD, a violation of GoodCarBadCar’s eligibility for this price segment. 

The Good 12 2013 logo

The $65,850 Cayenne S isn’t the Cayenne you want, though. It seems necessary to pay $790 for metallic paint, preferably the Umber or Meteor Grey. The $3140 Carmine Red is a bit much.

Then I feel it’s vital to upgrade the 18-inch Cayenne S III wheels to something like the 21-inch 911 Turbo II wheels. Those wheels will sting with a $5525 bite, but now that I have a Cayenne S I like, it costs $72,165.

It sure does look good, right, and proper. Maybe not good-looking like an Amaranth Red 911 Carrera S on 20-inch SportTechno wheels, but we can’t all drive 911s now can we? The mainstream automotive press is mostly over the conflicting ideology behind Porsche as we used to know it and the Porsche that builds SUVs. And it’s a good thing, because the Cayenne S is a fine luxury family vehicle, not just a fine luxury ess-you-vee.
Would I like to return to the days when, rather than a Porsche SUV, an Audi RS6 Avant could be honoured? Gladly. But that’s not the world in which we live. In this world, the one where my daily drive doesn’t involve a couple laps around the Nürburgring, the Cayenne’s ability to do it all – including loading up 23.7 cubic feet of Costco purchases with five aboard and driving home after a fresh snowfall – is more than welcome. 

As for the ‘Ring, the Cayenne has been known to perform rather well there, too, as this Sabine Schmitz-driven Turbo well and truly proves.


Engine: 400 horsepower, 369 lb-ft of torque from a 4.8L V8
Base USD/CAD Price: $72,165 / $81,520 (including metallic paint and 21-inch 911 Turbo II wheels)
City Fuel Economy: 16 miles per gallon
It’s Not Perfect: Compared with the $58,800 402-horsepower Mercedes-Benz ML550, 375-horsepower $60,895 Land Rover Range Rover Sport, and $64,200 400-horsepower BMW X5 xDrive50i, the Porsche Cayenne S appears to be rather expensive, no?
Sales Stats: 2011 was the Cayenne’s best U.S. sales year since 2005. Through eleven months, the Cayenne’s 2012 sales total was up 15%. In Canada, 2011 was the Cayenne’s best sales year ever, and in ten months, 2012 was already better than the whole of 2011.

Viable Alternatives: The modern automobile industry knows how to build a modern SUV, from BMW’s X5 to the Land Rover LR4, Audi Q7, and the diesel-powered version of this Cayenne.