Certified Benz & Beemer Compares 2011 Porsche CAYENNE VS 2011 BMW X5 Near Scottsdale, AZ

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2011 Porsche CAYENNE

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2011 BMW X5

Safety Comparison

For enhanced safety, the front and rear seat shoulder belts of the Porsche Cayenne have pretensioners to tighten the seatbelts and eliminate dangerous slack in the event of a collision and force limiters to limit the pressure the belts will exert on the passengers. The BMW X5 doesn’t offer pretensioners for the rear seat belts.

For enhanced safety, the front seat shoulder belts of the Porsche Cayenne are height-adjustable to accommodate a wide variety of driver and passenger heights. A better fit can prevent injuries and the increased comfort also encourages passengers to buckle up. The BMW X5 doesn’t offer height-adjustable seat belts.

The Cayenne offers an optional collision warning system, which detects an impending crash through forward mounted sensors and flashes a bright light and sounds a loud, distinctive tone to warn the driver to brake or maneuver immediately to avoid a collision. The system also pre-charges the brakes to begin deceleration more quickly. The X5 doesn't offer a collision warning system.

The Cayenne’s optional blind spot warning system uses digital cameras monitored by computer to alert the driver to moving objects in the vehicle’s blind spots where the side view mirrors don’t reveal them. The X5 doesn’t offer a system to reveal objects in the driver's blind spots.

Both the Cayenne and the X5 have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, head airbags, plastic fuel tanks, four wheel antilock brakes, all wheel drive, traction control and electronic stability systems to prevent skidding.

Reliability Comparison

To reliably power the ignition and other systems and to recharge the battery, the Cayenne has a standard 220 amp alternator. The X5’s standard 210 amp alternator isn’t as powerful.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2010 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Porsche vehicles are better in initial quality than BMW vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Porsche first in initial quality, above the industry average. With 30 more problems per 100 vehicles, BMW is ranked 16th, below the industry average.

J.D. Power and Associates’ surveys of the owners of three-year-old cars provide the long-term dependability statistics that show that Porsche vehicles are more reliable than BMW vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Porsche first in reliability. With 55 more problems per 100 vehicles, BMW is ranked 17th.

Engine Comparison

The Cayenne has more powerful engines than the X5:



Cayenne Hybrid 3.6 DOHC V6

380 HP

427 lbs.-ft.

Cayenne S 4.8 DOHC V8

400 HP

369 lbs.-ft.

Cayenne Turbo 4.8 turbo V8

500 HP

516 lbs.-ft.

X5 xDrive35i 3.0 turbo 6 cyl.

300 HP

300 lbs.-ft.

X5 xDrive50i 4.4 turbo V8

400 HP

450 lbs.-ft.

As tested in Motor Trend the Cayenne is faster than the X5 xDrive35i (automatics tested):

Cayenne S

Cayenne Turbo


Zero to 60 MPH

5.9 sec

4.3 sec

6.1 sec

Quarter Mile

14.4 sec

12.8 sec

14.6 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

98.7 MPH

108.9 MPH

92.5 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range Comparison

On the EPA test cycle the Cayenne Hybrid gets better fuel mileage than the X5 xDrive35d (21 city/25 hwy vs. 19 city/26 hwy).

The Cayenne’s optional fuel tank has 3.9 gallons more fuel capacity than the X5 (26.4 vs. 22.5 gallons).

Brakes and Stopping Comparison

For better stopping power the Cayenne Turbo’s brake rotors are larger than those on the X5:


Cayenne Turbo

X5 xDrive35

X5 xDrive50i

Front Rotors

13.8 inches

16.14 inches

13.7 inches

15.2 inches

Rear Rotors

13 inches

14.57 inches

12.6 inches

13.6 inches

The Cayenne offers optional heat-treated ceramic brake rotors, which last ten to twenty times as long as conventional cast iron rotors, don’t rust, don’t fade during repeated high speed braking, and their lighter weight contribute to better braking, handling and acceleration. The X5 doesn’t offer ceramic brake rotors.

The Cayenne stops much shorter than the X5:



60 to 0 MPH

107 feet

128 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels Comparison

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Cayenne offers optional 21 inch wheels. The X5’s largest wheels are only 20 inches.

Suspension and Handling Comparison

The Cayenne (except Hybrid) offers active sway bars, which help keep it flat and controlled during cornering, but disconnect at lower speeds to smooth the ride and offer greater off-road suspension articulation. This helps keep the tires glued to the road on-road and off. The X5 doesn’t offer an active sway bar system.

The Cayenne offers an available adjustable active suspension system, which counteracts cornering forces actively, limiting body roll and improving handling and stability. BMW doesn’t offer an active suspension on the X5.

The Cayenne Turbo handles at .95 G’s, while the X5 xDrive35d pulls only .81 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The Cayenne Turbo executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 3.5 seconds quicker than the X5 xDrive35i (24.8 seconds @ .81 average G’s vs. 28.3 seconds @ .59 average G’s).

For better maneuverability, the Cayenne’s turning circle is 2.9 feet tighter than the X5’s (39.1 feet vs. 42 feet).

For greater off-road capability the Cayenne Turbo has a 2.05 inches greater minimum ground clearance than the X5 (10.75 vs. 8.7 inches), allowing the Cayenne to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged.

Chassis Comparison

The Porsche Cayenne may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 450 to 550 pounds less than the BMW X5.

Passenger Space Comparison

The Cayenne has .4 inches more front headroom and .6 inches more front legroom than the X5.

Cargo Capacity Comparison

A low lift-over cargo hatch design makes loading and unloading the Cayenne easier. The Cayenne’s cargo hatch lift-over height is 25.5 inches, while the X5’s liftover is 30 inches.

A standard locking glovebox (which can’t be accessed with the valet key) keeps your small valuables safer in the Cayenne. The X5 doesn’t offer locking storage for small valuables.

The Cayenne’s liftgate lifts up in one piece, completely out of the way of loading and unloading, while sheltering the cargo loading area. The X5’s tailgate’s top part raises up, but the bottom part lowers, getting in the way of loading and making an uneven surface for sliding cargo.

Ergonomics Comparison

Unlike the driver-only memory system in the X5, the Cayenne offers an optional driver and passenger memory, so that when drivers switch, the memory setting adjusts the driver’s seat, steering wheel position and outside mirror angle and the front passenger seat also adjusts to the new passenger’s preset preferences.

The Cayenne’s instruments include an oil pressure gauge and a temperature gauge – which could save your engine! Often ‘idiot lights’ don’t warn you until damage has been done. The X5 has neither an oil pressure gauge nor a temperature gauge.

To better shield the driver and front passenger’s vision, the Cayenne has standard dual-element sun visors that can block glare from two directions simultaneously. The X5 doesn’t offer secondary sun visors.

To shield the driver’s vision over a larger portion of the windshield and side window, the Cayenne has a standard extendable sun visor. The X5 doesn’t offer extendable visors.

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