Seven years after the model was first introduced, Porsche has redesigned and arguably reinvented its popular Cayenne SUV with its latest generation. This new model is considerably lighter than the outgoing model, yet is actually more spacious, more sporty, more powerful and even more fuel efficient.

The exterior of the new Cayenne follows in Porsches philosophy of evolutionary design, but the latest model does feature a much sleeker appearance than the outgoing Cayenne, thanks to more organic body lines.

With a redesigned interior, following Panamera cues, the new Cayenne sports a new and longer center console and a repositioned shift-knob. Overall, nearly everything has been freshened and tweaked, including placement of the center air vents, sportier gauges and a new steering wheel.

Thanks to the extra 1.6 inches in the wheelbase, interior dimensions have also grown. Rear-seats now enjoy 6.3 inches of fore-and-aft sliding, as well as an adjustable backrest.

Other interior features include Bluetooth, Bose surround sound and a Burmester high-end surround sound system.

The SUV boasts five separate trim levels with gas, diesel and hybrid drivetrains for Europe, while the U.S. will see four variants and no diesel.

The Cayenne range starts out in base Cayenne form, featuring a 300 horsepower 3.6-liter V6. This engine is capable of a zero-to-60 sprint of 7.1 seconds with the manual transmission, or 7.4 seconds with the Tiptronic S automatic. Top speed is limited to 142 mph, regardless of transmission.

One step up in the Cayenne S, packing the Panameras 400 horsepower 4.8-liter V8 engine. The Cayenne Turbo sits atop the Cayenne hierarchy, receiving its power via a 500 horsepower twin-turbocharged 4.8-liter V8.

Those wanting performance and excellent fuel economy in the U.S. will have one other choice within the Cayenne range the Cayenne S Hybrid.

Power for the Cayenne S Hybrid comes from Audis supercharged 3.0-liter V6 producing 333-horsepower, connected to a three-phase synchronous electric motor which receives power from a 38 kW NiMH battery that resides in the spare tire well. The electric motor adds another 47 horsepower.

The Cayenne S Hybrid is capable of traveling up to 40mph on all electric power, with the system allowing for the complete disengagement of the gas engine from the driveline at speeds up to 97mph. The disengagement allows for a coasting featuring, which reduces drag and improves overall efficiency.

Although fuel economy has never been a strong suit for the Cayenne, Porsche has vastly improved fuel consumption across the range for the new generation. The base Cayenne now achieves 15 mpg city, 22 highway with a six-speed manual, and 16 city, 23 highway with the eight-speed Tiptronic S automatic.

From a handling standpoint, the latest Cayenne (except Turbo) comes standard with a steel suspension, but have for the first time available Porsche Active Suspension Management, or PASM. PASM is an advanced suspension system that provides for infinite damper control for both the front and rear axles, and a choice of three settings: Comfort, Normal and Sport.

The base-level Porsche Cayenne hits the U.S. market with an MSRP of $46,700. Moving up to the mid-level Cayenne S will set buyers back $63,700, with the fuel-efficient Cayenne S Hybrid listing from $67,700. The range-topping Cayenne Turbo model is set to carry an MSRP of $104,800.

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