Cayenne Sets New Standards In Performance Technology | Part Two

Pneumatic Suspension With Self-Levelling And Adjustable Ride Height

Pneumatic suspension not only guarantees extra ground clearance on rough terrain and, thanks to self-levelling, a consistent position of the vehicle regardless of the load it is carrying, but also ensures maximum driving pleasure and active safety by automatically lowering the Cayenne as a function of increasing road speed.

Incorporating six different ride height levels, the pneumatic suspension adjusts over a wide range of 116mm or 4.57"

  • In normal trim, ground clearance is 217 millimetres (8.54") according to the DIN unladen standard
  • · In load trim the Cayenne moves down 60 millimetres or 2.26" from its standard position to a loading level of 157 millimetres or 6.18". This level is only available when the vehicle is not moving and facilitates loading and unloading. Then, when setting off, the system automatically returns to its normal level
  • In low trim, the Cayenne moves down 27 millimetres or 1.06" beneath its standard trim and is comparable to a vehicle with fully-fledged sports suspension. In practice this means that the suspension is firmer and air resistance lower, making the Cayenne even more stable and dynamic at high speeds. This reduction of the suspension level from a higher position to the low-speed setting starts at a road speed of 125 km/h or 78 mph
  • · At speeds exceeding 210 km/h or 130 mph, the Cayenne automatically moves down to its extra-low ride level 11mm or 0.43" beneath the "regular" low sitting
  • When driving off-road the Cayenne can be set to the higher off-road level up by 26 millimetres or 1.02" over the standard ride height in order to cope with particularly difficult terrain. This higher level is, however, only available at speeds up to 80 km/h or 50 mph
  • · The special off-road level is for the most extreme off-road driving conditions, raising the Cayenne another 30 millimetres or 1.18" to a ground clearance of 273 millimetres or 10.75". This extra-high level is only available at speeds of up to 30 km/h or 19 mph

Active Damper Control

Porsche offers pneumatic suspension in combination with Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM), a brand-new variable damping system. Operated electronically, PASM adjusts damper forces infinitely as a function of surface conditions and the driver's style of motoring. A typical example of PASM intervention is when driving very dynamically with powerful application of the accelerator and /or brake pedal or when driving on particularly rough terrain, where PASM serves to steady any sway and dive motion of the body. This function is ensured by five accelerometers monitoring body movement. As soon as the motion of the Cayenne's body exceeds a certain limit depending on specific driving conditions, PASM will intervene, stabilising the vehicle by acting on individual dampers.

PASM also gives the Cayenne driver the opportunity to choose his very own, personal damper setting while driving - with a choice of Comfort, Normal and Sports positions. Consistently operating in the background, PASM always maintains its active control function, comparing the driver's style of motoring with the programme currently in use. Whenever the driver has chosen a particularly comfortable damper setting but is driving in a more sporting and dynamic style, the system automatically switches over to the sports mode and makes the dampers firmer.

A Real Champion On Rough Terrain

The Cayenne's outstanding performance on the road does not come at the expense of its off-road capabilities. On the contrary - the Cayenne is a real off-road champion, even in its basic trim. Benefiting from intelligent four-wheel drive, the Cayenne is able to handle minor off-road conditions without requiring any modification of the traction systems. When driving on rough terrain, in turn, the Cayenne uses the Porsche Traction System integrated as a standard feature in the power divider: this reduction gearbox comes with a gear ratio of 2.7:1 for even the most extreme offroad driving manoeuvres. Activation of the low range mode by a toggle switch on the centre console automatically prepares several control systems for off-road requirements: PTM switches over to the appropriate gear ratio for off-road driving and activates a special off-road control map for the differential locks, PSM switches on the traction-oriented off-road ABS and ABD system, and the pneumatic suspension in the Cayenne Turbo automatically changes to the off-road ride level. Porsche is indeed the first car maker to offer this combination of systems, masterminded by a central off-road switch and thus reducing the risk of control errors when driving on rough terrain.

Even these outstanding off-road driving characteristics offered by the Cayenne as standard can be enhanced to an even higher level: should the terrain become so demanding that individual wheels lose road contact, direct, rigid connection of the four-wheel-drive system will still keep you on the move. The 100 per cent front-to-rear differential lock, for example, is activated by operating the off-road switch a second time, and the Cayenne Turbo is assisted even more effectively when climbing by its pneumatic suspension featured as standard. In the special off-road mode with 273 millimetres or 10.75" ride height, the inclination angle is up to 32° at the front and 27° at the rear, enabling the Cayenne to handle even steep ramps. Even extreme crests when driving from one gradient to another are no real obstacle, the ramp angle of 25° preventing the body from touching the ground prematurely between the axles. Both models are perfectly equipped for crossing rivers, etc up to half a metre deep (and up to 556 millimetres or 22" when set to the special terrain level). This is ensured by a special sealing concept as well as a high-rising intake funnel, the elevated transmission purge opening and full encapsulation of the side-sills.

Safe Traction Even On The Roughest Terrain

As an option Porsche offers yet another highlight for the most extreme off-road requirements: the Advanced Offroad Technology Package. Apart from special side protection and a steel plate underfloor panel around the radiator, this package includes a fully controllable (up to 100 per cent) differential lock on the rear axle. To activate the lock 100 per cent, all the driver has to do is operate the central off-road switch a third time. The fully controlled rear axle lock, in turn, ensures better traction when setting off on slippery surfaces with varying frictional coefficients and in bends.

A further enormous advantage of this special Offroad Technology Package is the use of anti-roll bars on the front and rear axle, hydraulically activated and deactivated by a switch in the centre console. This increases axle lock both front and rear by 70 millimetres or 2.76", in the process not only improving ride comfort thanks to the minimisation of body sway but also enhancing off-road driving qualities and traction when driving over rocks, tree-trunks or very bumpy surfaces.

To ensure the sporting driving qualities of the Cayenne on the road, in turn, the anti-roll bars can be disconnected only in the low range mode. As soon as the Cayenne, with its anti-roll bars disconnected, returns from rough terrain to the road, an additional safety feature guarantees the driving stability required and the anti-roll bars are automatically connected again when the vehicle exceeds a speed of 50km/h or 31mph.

continues... | Part Three
Published 10 June 2002 Melanie Carter

The information contained this Porsche Cayenne news article may have changed since publication on the 10 June 2002. Our car specifications, reviews, and prices may only apply to the UK market. You may wish to check with the manufacturer or your local Porsche dealer, before making a purchasing decision. E.&.O.E. You may NOT reproduce our car news in full or part, in any format without our written permission. © 2018