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    Acura MDX/Cayenne

    This is more of a comment than anything, and maybe irrelevant. If so, forgive please.

    I drive a 2001 turbo every day, and have had (and raced) numerous hot Porsches over years (904, Carrera RS 3.0, 1976 turbo, and assorted 911s and 356s). I have been watching the Cayenne for a long time, and like it more and more. Even bought the Turbo Cayenne 1/18 scale model to admire. I am going to the Detroit Auto Show and will see it for the first time in early January.

    Despite my interest in hot cars and in the Cayenne, however, I just picked up a new 2003 Acura MDX. It is loaded with kid and adult friendly options (DVD screen in the back, for example), has a third set of seats, and is well put together like all Acuras. Of course it drives like a floating cloud, and there is absolutely no performance sound (although the car is pretty quick). It is not a performance SUV, but it is no slouch, the design is fine, and it costs all of $40,000, absolutely loaded.

    Is a Turbo worth $50,000 more dollars to me, or a Cayenne S $30,000 more? I guess for now they are not--at least until I see the Porsches in person and am again tempted to revert to my extravagant habits...

    Re: Acura MDX/Cayenne

    It is interesting and relavent to me. I had a deposit on the MDX before it came out. It looked great on paper (still does). When it finally arrived and I test drove it I was disappointed, as was my wife (it was to be her car). I can't be too specific about my disappointment because objectively the vehicle has few faults. It didn't corner very well, as you suggested, and it just felt a little lightweight.

    I hate to say it but Americans, in general, are looking for a heavyweight when they buy an SUV. We were also looking at the Lexus RX-300 and the X-5. We looked at the ML but, besides being uninspired (sorry RC), I was a little worried about their quality control. We finally ended up with the X-5 (w/sport suspension) and have never regretted it. The X-5 3.0 equipped like an MDX is about $55k. It is worth the $15k difference easily. I thought it was a close call at the time we purchased it, but not now. The X-5 is a great car. It feels substantial (and is) and the difference in handling is phenomenal. It took a while to really appreciate it. Not everyone would like it, I guess, but we both like firm riding, crisp handling vehicles that give a lot of road feedback.

    But, the X-5 is not an off-road vehicle at all. We were in a strip mall jungle recently and found ourselves needing to get from one parking lot to another with no connecting roadways. Others obviously had been presented with the same dilemma because there was a worn connecting trail across the turf. So, being in an SUV, we thought it safe to jump the curb and go cross-country. Nope. Not in an X-5. The thing bottomed out on the curb! Off-road? I don't think so! It can barely cope with the irregularities that urban driving presents!

    So, what would an SUV be worth that handled like an X-5 but could also go off-road. Yes, I believe the Cayenne, equipped like your MDX, will run about $70k and $30k is a lot of money. In the X-5 the value is there for the extra $15k. Not that it is worth that to everyone, but, I believe the value is there. The question is, will the Cayenne have $30k of added value over something like the MDX that, on paper, will look very similar to many buyers. I don't think we know yet and probably won't for a while. I'll let you know what I think though when mine comes in.

    Re: Acura MDX/X5/Cayenne

    I think you're right. It boils down to roughly 3 alternatives.

    The MDX is a great car, it has a 3rd set of seats, it's very nicely assembled and it's a quick car BUT not a fast one. It's also way cheaper than the Cayenne S.

    The X5 wasn't conceived to go off-road. BMW said when they presented it it was a all-road vehicle. It's style is the most attractive of the bunch but the trunk is quite small. It drives like a sedan which is really reassuring.

    The Cayenne S is a different beast. It's clearly not a photogenic vehicle according to Porsche's director of styling !!! but people like it when they see it. It was the case for me. I was skeptic after they released the pictures in March at the Geneva Motor Show and then I was pleasantly surprised when I saw it in Paris. It's a serious off-roader and a great car on the road. From all the articles I read on the car, it's a fantastic machine.

    Is it worth the money? This is really a personal point. The MDX is much cheaper (Fortish) while the X5 3.0l is more fifty five-ish and the Cayenne S plus some "mandatory" goodies will be between 65 and 70 (incl taxes). I think it's worth the money because of its exclusivity, its character, it will hold it's resale value very well (I hope) and after all it's a Porsche.

    I'll go for the Cayenne S .... it's may be irrational but you only live once...

    Re: Acura MDX/X5/Cayenne

    Thanks Eric and GM. I am anxious to read your impressions of the S when you get it. I have worked a deal with my Acura pal/salesman to trade my car back at a good rate if I ultimately go with the Cayenne. Acuras hold their value very well, and the 2003 is really in demand now.

    I will say that my wife is crazy about the MDX, and she is a tough negotiator. Any new Cayenne may have to include some jewelry as an exclusive option.

    Either of you guys going with the two tone interior? What color exterior?

    Cayenne Turbo

    The Cayenne Turbo is worth it's money, no doubt about it.
    After driving this SUV today, I'm even a stronger supporter of modern high power SUVs. Sorry Stephen (Fixedwing) but you don't know what you're missing. Doing 110 mph in a pretty narrow curve with 235s winter tires didn't even let the PSM come on. Impressive.

    No, the Cayenne Turbo is no real sportscar but I'm sure it can easily outrun (handling-wise) almost any sporty high power limousine out there. I'll give a detailled driving report this weekend, unfortunately I caught a little cold and my throat is burning like hell. Have to rest a bit.

    Re: Cayenne Turbo

    I can't believe at 180km/h (sorry 179 according to the onboard computer) the engine is just reving at about 4000 rpm....

    So the "cruising speed" is between 180km/h and 200km/h, pretty impressive.....

    Re: Cayenne Turbo

    You're right, perfect cruising speed is around 180 kph, maybe slightly more. Well, of course where this is legal.

    Re: Cayenne Turbo

    Intresting comment conerning performance vs a sport sedan. My wife actual sees the Cayenne as a possible replacement for her S-Class.

    Re: Cayenne Turbo

    Here in the US if you're caught above 100 mph (160 km/h) at least in Florida, you go straight to jail !!!!!

    There is no way whatsoever you can "cruise" at 110-115 mph without being arrested in the next 5 minutes !!!!

    This being said, I must admit from time to time I reach top speed with my 911 and it's great fun ....



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