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    Cayenne Report from Paris Autoshow

    After a 7 hour+ drive from my hometown in Germany, we finally arrived at Disneyland Paris. Driving in France is actually fun. They have a speed limit of 130 kph but as far as I can tell, nobody really seems to care. A speed of around 160-170 kph was more realistic and the two radar traps along my route were visible from half a mile. The ML55 AMG is a fine car and if somebody doesn't like SUVs, he should think again. On my trip through Germany and France, there was no one driving faster than I did. I even embarassed a Boxster S driver from England who gave up when we climbed a 5% hill and he couldn't pass me (thanks to the ML's V8 torque figure) up to a speed of almost 210 kph. He showed thumbs up and seemed to be impressed. Me too. I guess the Cayenne Turbo will even do better.

    After I arrived at Disneyland Paris, I remembered why I don't like staying at Disney Hotels:
    a. they're too expensive for what they offer
    b. they never heard of broadband access (using the phone line is awfully slow and expensive)
    Disney, did you hear me?

    After spending two days at Eurodisney, we decided to go to the Paris Autoshow. I had high hopes and couldn't wait to get there.
    Driving with your own car through Paris is horrible.
    It took us more than an hour to get from Disneyland Paris to Porte Versailles where the Paris Autoshow took place at the Paris Expo grounds. Getting back was even worse, it took us around 2 hours through Paris rush hour.
    When we arrived at the Expo grounds, we were looking almost one hour(!) for a free parking lot. No chance. All available parking lots were full or reserved. Only the press parking lot was pretty empty but my attempts to bribe the guard weren't very successful.
    A french police woman saw us passing by several times and stopped us. She saw our little girl in the rear and she showed us a place where we can park for maximum 2 hours til her shift was over. We were very happy to hear that and accepted her generous offer. My little one even said "merci" to her. It is a shame that they run an Autoshow but don't provide enough parking possibilities. Not very well organized.

    After entering Hall 1, I immediately headed for the Porsche stand. It was pretty full, people being sometimes very uncivilized and kicking you from all sides.
    When I arrived at the Porsche stand, I had my first disappointment. Pretty unspectacular, almost "sterile" presentation. People were gathering around the "fence" because only a few were allowed to enter the sacred grounds and actually see the cars from the near.
    I made it to the enterance and had to explain to a french hostess that I'm a german Porsche customers and that I would like to see the cars from the near. She didn't want to let me in, she spoke very badly English and my French didn't help much either. Happy me, a guy in a nice suite came around and he spoke English pretty well. I told him who I am and that I want to take some pictures of the cars. He asked for my Porsche car documents (lucky me I had them with me) and when he saw that I own a 996 Turbo and that I'm from Germany, he almost kissed my boots. Unbelievable how people can change from one second to the other.

    So...I was inside the sacred grounds and I was very very happy. It was almost impossible to take nice pictures from outside the closed territory. I took my time and made some pictures but I couldn't photograph all details because people didn't care much about my camera...they pushed me, they got in front of me and they did almost everything to make it impossible to take pictures. Lucky me, a very nice young french girl who worked for Porsche helped me to be able to take some pictures without any stranger interferring with them.
    So here they were: the Cayenne S and the Cayenne Turbo.
    I wasn't impressed at all. "That's IT?" I said to myself.
    The first minutes, I moved around and looked at the Cayenne S and Turbo very carefully. First love? Nope. No chance. Love at second sight? Nope again. I just couldn't get used to the sports car front and the boring rear. I really tried to like the Cayenne but I couldn't. In my opinion, it looked boring and even strange.
    Then, I started to look at the details, the finish, the quality of the materials used and the interior. The impression started to get much better.
    The interior on the Cayenne looks very nice, almost stylish. However the silver painted plastic parts look cheap. I hope that Porsche will correct that until the first cars go to customers. I'm also a bit disappointed with the leather quality. The leather on the seats looks almost like a leather imitation, can't explaint it further but it doesn't look very nice.
    Especially with a light interior color, the leather seats look cheap. Maybe just a false impression but I didn't like it.
    The climate control is also weird, way too small. You have that huge PCM system and then some tiny buttons and two miniature LCD displays below. This doesn't look nice and I can imagine that some people will have problems using the A/C.
    The multifunctional steering wheel looks very nice and I like it.
    The overall quality impression is good to very good, no doubt about it.
    Interior room is not that big as I expected. Somebody told me that there is more interior room than on the Mercedes ML-class but honestly, I don't believe that. I think it is pretty much the same and I think that was a mistake. Porsche should have made the Cayenne a bit larger to offer more interior room.
    The tires used on the Cayenne are Michelin and Yokohama.
    I didn't see any N-rating on them, so I suppose this is no issue. The Yokohama will surely perform very well on dry roads but I'm not sure this is a good choice for rainy streets. Time will tell.
    Back to the style department: I looked again at the Cayenne S and Turbo and I still had the same feeling: boredom.
    I tried hard to find something which would attract me and I finally found it: if you look at the Cayenne Turbo directly from the front, it looks nice. If you look at the Cayenne Turbo directly from the rear, it looks aggressive. But as soon as one can see the middle part too, the whole positive feeling is gone.
    I just couldn't hide the feeling that I'm looking at a Touareg with Porsche nose and a "I don't know what" rear.
    The similiarities between the Cayenne and the Touareg are clearly visible, no doubt about it. If someone tells me that they don't look almos the same, he must be blind or working for Porsche. And...the Cayenne IS in fact a Touareg with Porsche engines, no doubt about it. But is this a bad thing? Personally, I don't care if the Cayenne and Touareg are pretty much the same. But my personal problem is that the Touareg looks more attractive at first sight. Especially the rear but also the front look better in my opinion. Or to say it in a few short words: the Toureag looks like it was made of one piece of design, not out of three as the Cayenne. There is harmony with the Touareg's design but not with the Cayenne's design.
    Porsche seems to have tried hard to adapt the Touareg to the Porsche design but it didn't succeed pretty well.
    Maybe the Cayenne's design will be it's achilles heel.

    I left the Paris Autoshow pretty disappointed. It is no secret that I consider buying a Cayenne Turbo. But after seeing the Cayenne in reality, I have second thoughts about it. The Cayenne is no sports car and it might not be that important how it looks. But I'm not sure I would feel good to own a car from which I actually don't like how it looks.

    The 450 HP power figure and the overall very good quality impression still tell me to go for the Cayenne Turbo but if I'd buy this SUV, I'm sure it won't be the same Porsche Love I share with my 996 Turbo.

    The Cayenne is a fine SUV. Quality impression is very good and Porsche seems to have learned a lot from the mistakes other SUV manufacturers like Mercedes & BMW made. I'm also pretty sure that the Cayenne (especially the Turbo) will be a great performer and probably the fastest SUV on earth. But is that enough from a Porsche? Don't we want more from a Porsche...like some kind of emotional attachment? My wife also was pretty disappointed after she saw the Cayenne. "This is IT?" and "the ML looks better" were her words. And usually women are with the style department.

    No doubt, the Cayenne will sell. But I'm not sure anymore that the Cayenne will sell well. To many owners, the Cayenne Turbo will be a lifestyle car...a nice toy for rich people.
    The Cayenne S will probably be the car for those who want to drive a Porsche and don't care about power figures...or just for those who can't afford the Turbo.
    The REAL Cayenne who will sell will be the...Touareg V10 TDI.
    Especially in Europe, this powerful 313 HP diesel engine will have a lot of success, also with the "rich and beautiful".
    Porsche will definetely have to sell a Cayenne Diesel and this is something I really don't like. They got trapped in their own idea of a Porsche "sports car" SUV and I'm curious to see if Dr.Wiedeking and his marketing department are as clever as I think they are or if they just have been lucky so far. Time will tell.

    Some more pictures will follow shortly.
    If you have some questions, don't hesitate to ask.
    If you don't agree with what I said, please feel free to express your opinion...this is what keeps this forum alive.

    Re: Cayenne Report from Paris Autoshow

    I can't disagree with what you say but somehow I still like the vehicle and don't view it as negatively. The styling is certainly the issue. My view is (from photos) the front two thirds look great and the rear one third is inconsistent with the front and awkward. If you look at the sketches Porsche has released, the rear one third looks different. It is a coherent design. I think the sketch turned out to not have enough cargo area. I also have a big issue with the dark lower body molding on the S.

    Technically I think this vehicle is wonderful and fits how I anticipate I would use an SUV. So, I imagine Porsche will get my money for an S in the near future.

    BTW, I saw elsewhere anticipated production figures of 1,500 Turbos and 23,500 S's. Have you heard anything?

    Re: Cayenne Report from Paris Autoshow

    I agree, the design is the achilles heel. And I agree that from a technical standpoint of view, the Cayenne is a great SUV.
    But is that enough for a Porsche? Or is that enough for an SUV? Why not going for the Touareg instead (check out the picture)? The Cayenne S will certainly not be a lot faster than the Touareg V10 TDi with 313 HP and it certainly can't cope with the upcoming Touareg W12 with at least 400 HP.
    Another huge advantage of the Touareg's V10: because it is turbo-charged, it can be easily tuned to at least 400 HP and more. Not much chance on doing that on the Cayenne S.

    I don't have any precise production figures but over here in Germany, there is no much waiting time for both, the Cayenne S and Turbo. This might change with the official presentation at dealers over here on the 8th december.

    Pictures

    I'm no professional photographer, so please don't argue on how the pictures look.
























































    Re: Cayenne Report from Paris Autoshow

    I did seriously consider the VW and it is still an option. To me the Touareg is not as attractive, especially from the front. I agree that the design has a more consistent theme but I just don't like the theme that much. I do very much like the front of the Cayenne and I guess I can accept the incongruities elsewhere.

    I think the assumption is that the Touareg will be much less expensive but I'm not sure that will be the case. VW is trying to go upscale and may think a large differential will hurt their image. There will also be more of a delay in the US to get a Touareg and the really cool model (the deisel) may not show up here at all! If it does show here I feel certain it is at least a year away. If you look at the VW site they quote a US spec on the 6 cylinder but not for the diesel.

    They look great RC!

    No need to apologize. You will get no argument from me. I can't place this one photo yet. Where is this A/C vent?


    Re: Pictures

    RC,
    I ordered a cayenne but I still have the possibility to decide if S or turbo and also i have to choose the color, probably black with savanah interior...I would like to know from you, your impression on the black cayenne and the silver one...i tought that being the car quite big was better a dark color but I'd like to know from someone who has seen them in real.
    I know that the color choice is very personal but I'll appreciate your comments.
    thank you

    Real nice Pics RC, NT


    Re: They look great RC!

    I believe is located in the B pillar for the back seat right behind the driver.

    Rc, please correct me if I'm wrong.

    Re: They look great RC!

    To GM Austin: yes, Ron is right with the picture.

    To art.italy: the silver exterior color looks very nice because it shows the Cayenne's proportions much better than a dark color. Personally, I'd have to go for a darker color because of "understatement". I don't want my customers to recognize the Porsche SUV at first sight.
    For the interior, I'd like a lighter color much more. I'm fed up with black and I think I'd go for this combo:



    BTW: sorry guys about the long loading time. I had no other possibility to publish all pictures. If one has no broadband access, it might be the time to get one.

    Re: Cayenne Report from Paris Autoshow

    Great story RC. Since my wife left me alone with the baby yesterday for half a day , I finally got to read the whole thing last night. as to the following:
    In reply to:
    Somebody told me that there is more interior room than on the Mercedes ML-class



    I think that was me and that's what I thought according to the picture but I'm surprised that the cargo is prestty much the same size as in the ML series. It looked way bigger in the picture or may be suitcases were smaller than they seemed .

    After reading what your take was on the Cayenne and since I value your honest opinion I think I personally am still leaning toward X5 4.6is. But as to our ML, my wife doesn't want to give it up. However I'm considering a E55 AMG for myself as a more conducive vehicle than a two seater sports car.

    RC did you get to see the new E55 AMG in person at the show? if yes what was your take on it?

    Ron...

    I was happy to be able to see the Porsche, Ferrari and the VW stand. The Mercedes stand was on the left in the same hall but my little daughter got nervous and my wife too.

    Yes, the E55 AMG is a very interesting product and a very fast one. One of my favorite limousines and not as expensive as the S600 or S55.

    BTW: did you hear this rumor? AMG plans to build a CLK 55 AMG special edition with the SL55's V8 supercharged engine.
    It won't be cheap though and very limited.

    Interesting, very interesting (NT)


    Re: Cayenne Report from Paris Autoshow

    RC,
    you really bring it to the point -- an excellent report. i have nothing to add, you confirmed all my feelings about this car.
    cheers; zzboba

    Re: Exact same thing

    my girlfriend said after seeing the Cayenne pictures

    Her exact quote, "The Cayenne look abit weird, front is too long. Your X5 looks much better "

    Well, I guess every new design we have to give it sometime to get use to it. I didn't like the 360 when it first came out compare to the 355. But one car I will never like is the 7 series.. YUCK

     
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