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Porsche Cayenne Mk1: Buying guide and review (2002-2010)

Porsche Cayenne Mk1: Buying guide and review (2002-2010) Classic and Performance Car
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With Porsche having introduced some controversial but necessary company-saving changes to its line-up in the form of the Boxster and water-cooled 996 during the late ‘90s, its core followers were perhaps understandably shaken when in 2002 the Cayenne SUV arrived on the scene. Listening to the critics’ early views, one would think the automotive world was coming to an end. Once the dust had settled though, it was clear that the first generation Cayenne was still pure Porsche underneath – and it was to become the company’s biggest selling model ever. Performance, handling and off-road ability were all at or near the best in class.  Looks may be subjective but there is no denying that this new Porsche SUV, especially in V8 guise was as close to a sports car as the laws of physics would allow.
The first gen cars can offer some serious value to those looking for a Porsche clothed in a family friendly body style. From the efficient diesels to the stonking Turbo V8s there is wide range to choose from, so read on to see what to look for when buying used.

Which Porsche Cayenne to buy?

The first cars in the UK were the 335bhp 4.5-litre V8s. While powerful some did have engine bore issues, so approach with caution. The turbocharged versions followed soon after, providing 165mph performance from a class leading 450bhp. The base 250bhp 3.2-litre V6 was introduced to round off the range (285bhp 3.6l from 2007-on) and Porsche’s customers were treated to another first as they released their first ever diesel offering in 2007. Both petrol and diesel V6 models provide adequate performance and are relatively fuel efficient (especially the diesel) but for those who want to get their kids to school first, only the Turbo models will do. Starting off with 450bhp with the first 4.5-litre cars, the final Turbo S had 550bhp and acceleration to match all but the fastest 911s. 
2007 saw the majority of the range receiving upgraded engines as well as interior and exterior trim. We would recommend this year as a starting point if your budget allows it. The sporty GTS released in 2008 fills in the middle ground, fitted with the upgraded 4.8-litre V8 pumped up to produce 399bhp and possibly the best exhaust note of the entire Cayenne range. The Tiptronic gearbox works well and the majority of Cayennes are fitted with it. Six-speed manuals were available on the non-Turbo cars, but finding one will be tough. Specification levels are high throughout although try to avoid large diameter aftermarket rims as they can spoil the ride quality, and are sometimes weaker than the original. 
In the looks department the Cayenne is definitely an acquired taste, the mid-life facelift helped matters somewhat and it looks its best in GTS spec. Aftermarket body kits from specialists such as Techart can really transform the look of the Cayenne but may not be too all tastes, second hand values can also suffer as a result. For serious performance with serious running costs the Turbo models are still breathtakingly capable, while the naturally aspirated V8s provide a decent slug of power and retain that Porsche feel that the smaller V6 models perhaps lack. 

Performance and specs

Porsche Cayenne S 
Engine 4511cc, 32 valve DOHC V8 
Power 335bhp @ 6000rpm 
Torque 310lb ft @ 2500-5500rpm
Top speed 150mph 
0-62mph 7.2sec 
Fuel consumption 19mpg 
Gearbox Six-speed Tiptronic

Dimensions and weight

Wheelbase 2855mm
Length 4782mm
Width 1928mm
Height 1699mm
Kerb weight 2320kg

Common problems

• 4.8-litre V8s, Turbos and V6 models tend to generally be trouble free although some owners have experienced individual coil pack failures. The early 4.5-litre V8s in the Cayenne S can be a bit more problematic, the Lokasil coating on the cylinder walls can fail leading to a destroyed engine, heavy oil consumption and engine knocking are the early warning signs.

• The majority of cars will have been optioned with the six-speed auto-boxes and these are generally reliable units, one thing to watch out for is intermittent loss of power under acceleration which could indicate a blocked valve in the transmission.

• These cars weigh well over two tonnes, and thanks to the performance at hand, the suspension bushes, brakes and tyres can take a real pounding. Budget for replacing tyres and brakes at least every 15,000 miles. Air suspension systems can develop leaks and pumps tend to get weaker over time. 

• At this stage rust should not be an issue; if any bubbling or peeling is evident it may be a sign of a botched repair job – or a badly fitted bodykit.

• Check for blocked drainage holes as overflowing water can damage the fuse box ECU and ABS controller unit which can lead to extremely costly electrical issues.

Model history

2002: 335bhp 4.5 V8 Porsche Cayenne S launched in UK. Cayenne Turbo introduced with 443bhp
2003: 250bhp 3.2 V6 Cayenne introduced
2006: Cayenne Turbo S with 521bhp becomes available
2007: Cayenne S gets new 4.8 V8 now with 379bhp. Cayenne engine upgraded to 285bhp 3.6 V6 and Cayenne Diesel introduced with 240bhp – the first diesel Porsche ever
2008: Turbo S receives 4.8 V8, with power up to 550bhp. Cayenne GTS introduced with Turbo style body kit and 399bhp 
2009: 399bhp 4.8l V8 Transsyberia limited edition model built – 600 units worldwide
2010: GTS Design Edition 3 built – 1000 units worldwide. First generation Cayenne production comes to an end shortly after

Owners clubs, forums and websites

• www.porscheclubgb.com – UK Porsche owners club
• www.cayenneforums.com – Cayenne forum site

Summary and prices

Starting at £4500, the early V6s offer the best value. While the first V8s may be similarly priced, avoid the S models unless they have had replacement engines (with the upgraded bore lining). Turbos start at £9000 for the early cars right up to £45,000 for run out models. Well maintained, they can be a real performance bargain. For a great all-rounder look to the GTS models, low mileage 2009 models can be found for £25,000 and earlier higher mileage ones are as low as £15,000. Super rare manual versions could be a bit of fun too. 
Running costs are predictably high thanks to heavy fuel consumption and pricey parts so don’t forget to budget for this. Choose wisely though and a first generation Cayenne can be a great family friendly Porsche with a well balanced mix of performance and practicality.
Words: John Tallodi
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Last updated: 26th Sep 2016
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Porsche Cayenne
6000 84000 GBP

    £24,888 £24,888

    Type: Used Year: 2010 Make: PORSCHE Model: CAYENNE Trim: 3.0 HYBRID S Body: Station Wagon Trans: Manual Mileage: 78000 Engine Size: 5461 Ext Color: White

    • Mileage: 78000 mi
    • Engine size: 5461
    For sale
    £24,888 £24,888
    Premier Autos
    01282882623 View contact number
  • Porsche Cayenne

    £31,900 £31,900

    Variant name:Diesel Estate ,Variant: Diesel 245 Tiptronic S, 21 Inch 911 Turbo II Alloy Wheels with Wheel Arch Extensions, PCM Satellite Navigation, Air suspension with PASM, Servotronic Power Steering, Electric Glass Sunroof, Front and Rear Park Assist, DAB Radio, BOSE Surround Multi award-winning prestige car dealership John Holland is delighted to offer for sale this outstanding Porsche Cayenne Diesel. This cherished vehicle has an outstanding upgraded specification with all the must have factory optional extras and is in our opinion the best example of its kind on the market in the UK today. Presented in unmarked White Gloss complemented with Extended Black Full Leather Upholstery with Monochrome and Black High Gloss Interior Inlays. Specification includes 21" 911 Turbo II Alloy Wheels with Wheel Arch Extensions, PCM Satellite Navigation, Air suspension with Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM), Servotronic Power Steering, Electric Tilt / Slide Glass Sunroof, Front and Rear Park Assist, Roof Rails in Matt Aluminium, DAB Radio with BOSE Surround Sound, Heated 3 Spoke Multi-Function Steering Wheel, Bluetooth Telephone Module with Audio Streaming, Power Tailgate, Heated Windscreen, Comfort Lighting Package, Privacy Glass, Wheel Centres in Full Colour with Porsche Crests, Electric Front Seats, Heated Front Seats, Cruise Control, Xenon Headlights, Electric Folding Exterior Door Mirrors, LED Running Lights plus much more. This Stunning vehicle also benefits from a Full Porsche Service History completed on 27/08/14 at 14728 Miles and again on 04/11/14 at 19618 Miles by Porsche Northamptonshire, 15/02/16 at 32155 Miles and finally on 12/10/16 at 39307 Miles by Porsche Surrey. Supplied with 2 keys and all original owners manuals and wallet. John Holland Sales has been established for over 40 years supplying a premium level of service in the sale of sports, prestige and collectors cars. We have a team of experienced buyers who hand pick our cars from all parts of the uk so you can buy with confidence all vehicles are HPI Clear and prepared to the highest standard, full dealer facilities available call the sales team for further information.

    • Year: 2013
    • Mileage: 40980 mi
    • Engine size: 3
    For sale
    £31,900 £31,900
  • PORSCHE CAYENNE 3.0 TD V6 Tiptronic S AWD 5dr 2013

    £28,993 £28,993

    RAC INSPECTED AND APPROVED. Top Brand Cars Are Delighted To Offer This Absolutely Stunning Porsche Cayenne V6 Tiptronic, Presented In Rare Metallic Red This Cayenne Is Complimented With Full Porsche Service History And Has 6 Stamps In The Book, Last Service Carried Out On 04/10/2017 @ Porsche Centre Colchester - 58,521 Miles, Specification Includes: Electric Tailgate, Phone Module, Satellite Navigation, Heated Seats, Electric Seats With Memory Function, 7 Inch Touchscreen Display, Electric Folding Mirrors, Automatic Lights, VIEWINGS ARE BY APPOINTMENT ONLY, Full Dealer Facilities, Credit/Debit Cards Accepted, Part Exchange Welcome, Indoor Showroom Available, Please Call For More Information, WE ARE FSA APPROVED AND CAN OFFER NO DEPOSIT AND LOW RATE FINANCE, HP/PCP/LEASE PURCHASE.

    • Mileage: 61000 mi
    • Engine size: 2.967
    For sale
    £28,993 £28,993