First, it was a shock for the 911 fans. How could their favorite brand to launch a family SUV with the Porsche logo on it? Moreover, how could they do that by sharing the platform with a Volkswagen? Well, all that happened and it did happen to save the brand. And the first generation of the Cayenne was the best selling Porsche of all times until the end of its production. The first generation of Cayenne can generally be split into two models, the 955 and the 957. The 955 sold from 2003 until 2006 and includes the Cayenne, Cayenne S, Cayenne Turbo, and Cayenne Turbo S models. Enjoy the 30min docu

Many years have passed since this Porsche Cayenne S has been inside the showroom of a dealership, but lets see how well this vehicle is holding up ... The more I think about it the more convinced I become that the Cayenne will come to be regarded fondly in years to come. Grab a piece of history while you can. video

The 955/957 are built on the Volkswagen Group PL71 chassis, which it shares with the VW Touareg and Audi Q7. Porsche designates this as the 9PA chassis, and although the basic unibody construction and core chassis are the same as those used by VW and Audi, the majority of the engines, electronics, and interior components are all unique to the Cayenne. Thanks to these differences, as well as Porsche's ability to tune the suspension and the utilization of their cutting-edge technology, the driving experience behind the wheel of a Cayenne is quite different than a Touareg or Q7. video

Cayennes equipped with the active air suspension can be set to Comfort, Normal, or Sport modes. Additionally, the Porsche Stability Management control system is continuously monitoring the vehicle's speed, as well as inputs such as steering angle, throttle angle, engine load, and lateral acceleration. It makes adjustments to keep the truck as stable and flat as possible at speed or in the corners. As a result, despite its size and weight, the 955 and 957 Cayenne stay remarkably poised and are surprisingly agile. video

Another trick feature is that the Cayenne will lower its ride height as vehicle speeds increase. Inverse to that, the air suspension can also be raised to increase ground clearance for driving in deep snow or other more challenging off-road conditions.

The Cayenne possesses amazingly athletic capabilities, and thanks to the standard all-wheel-drive and Porsche Traction Management, these capabilities are not limited to paved roads. While many SUVs have an inherent tendency towards nose-heavy handling characteristics, Porsche engineers direct the majority of the V-8 engine’s torque (62 percent) to the rear wheels. The baseline torque split between the front and rear axles is 38/62, but it is variable depending on the conditions, and up to 100% of power can be sent either front or rear thanks to Porsche Traction Management (PTM). This provides all Cayenne models with handling dynamics more in line with Porsche’s rear-drive sports cars, setting it apart in the SUV marketplace. These traits are so sought after by enthusiast drivers that the Cayenne has become the best selling of all Porsche models. video

Despite not being a world-renowned sports car, the Porsche Cayenne is one of the most important vehicles that Porsche has ever produced. While the Cayenne brought much-needed profitability to the company as a whole, it also introduced the Porsche brand to an entirely new group of customers who otherwise might never have considered a car from the Stuttgart marque. video

Porsche ended up selling over 95,000 examples of the first-generation Cayenne over a span of seven years. No one really expected the Cayenne to do quite so well, except perhaps for Porsche, who knew just how much they had invested in building the world's most capable SUV.

The Porsche Cayenne is a full-size sports-luxury SUV that combines the very best of on and off-road performance, along with superb driving characteristics and a respectable towing capacity. The S is powered by a 4.5L V8 engine with a dry-sump lubrication system and variable valve timing. It produces 340 hp 420 N⋅m of torque. Acceleration from 0–100 km/h takes 6.9 seconds and the top speed is 241 km/h

Porsche Cayenne Generations Explained
With Porsche now on the third generation of Cayenne, what are the differences between the generations and the various models of each?

The Porsche Cayenne can be an exceptionally reliable SUV, provided that it receives proper servicing. There are many examples with well over 100,000 miles that are still running like new. Like any other high-performance German vehicle, regular maintenance with the best quality parts goes quite a long way to keeping your Cayenne running tip-top. Lack of service and deferred maintenance is the most common cause of the majority of Porsche Cayenne problems.

The Porsche Cayenne was a game-changing vehicle when it went on sale back in 2003, and thanks to the number of Cayennes sold, there are plenty to choose from on the used market. The Porsche Cayenne represents one of the best values that you can find in terms of features and performance in a luxury SUV. While it's important to keep in mind that a vehicle like the Cayenne that cost $60,000 to $100,000 or more when it was new will cost a bit more to maintain than your average compact sedan or hatchback, that doesn't mean you should cross them off your shopping list. For the informed buyer who doesn't mind getting their hands dirty every so often, the first generation 955 and 957 Cayenne models are hard to match when it comes to bang-for-the-buck.

Entering the competition model for the Transsyberia Rally in 2007, Porsche again proved the outstanding competitiveness of a production-based Cayenne S in heavy terrain, finishing the rally first, second and third.

We don’t always see Caynnes tearing up the off-road trails, but when we do, they make everyone wow. Obviously, taking a $100k brand new performance SUV off-road is not for everyone, but since the 1st, and 2nd gen Porsche Cayenne models became more affordable, some of the owners decided to actually use their underestimated off-road potential without the fear of scratching the shiny paint job.

With the capability of an SUV, the proven handling of a Porsche, and the benefit of a hybrid drivetrain, the 2011 Cayenne S Hybrid proves that when it comes to green motoring and high-riding SUV luxury, you CAN have your cake and eat it too. For now we went with a 955 and we might upgrade to a Hybrid at a later stage ...

Check out FCP Euro on fcpeuro.com/porschecayenne955

Used Porsche Cayenne Buyer’s Guide | eCarGuides
Is buying a used Porsche Cayenne a good idea? For most people, NO. To learn why and whether one is right for you, check out our Used Porsche Buyer’s Guide.