Pepper and Adventure: Porsche and Land Rover wow the U.S.

Porche2008 Porsche Cayenne
For Porsche to go from sports cars to sports SUVs and still have success is quite impressive. With a top speed of 171 miles per hour, the 2008 Porsche Cayenne Turbo has the ability to leave runways on fire when it barrels by. Sonically and technically inventive, the trio of all-new Porsche SUVs?Cayenne, Cayenne S and Cayenne Turbo?offer great performance, comfort and social recognition. A Cayenne Hybrid will be coming out before the end of this decade.
To stay atop its successful run with the Cayenne, Porsche needed to achieve four objectives for the 2008 model: It had to have a new and more attractive design, offer powerful yet fuel-efficient engines and enhanced driving dynamics while endorsing even higher levels of active safety. To verify these claims, we headed to the Continental Tire Uvalde Proving Grounds in Texas to exercise the Cayenne through five acres of mettle-testing regimens. Routines included a rally cross, road course, slalom, wet road course and some track work.

Of course, power and performance was needed at every level. For 2008, Porsche offers the Cayenne with three new direct-fuel-injection engines. A very competent 3.6-liter, 290-horsepower V6 engine comes with the base Cayenne ($43,400). The $57,900 Cayenne S steps up to a 4.8-liter 385-horsepower V8. The $93,700 Cayenne Turbo gets going with a twin-turbo 4.8-liter ?CrazyHorse? 500-horsepower V8. Both V8 engines inherit Porsche?s ?VarioCam Plus? valve management system, a technology that allows the V8 to produce more power at lower speeds. Porsche also claims that fuel consumption is reduced by 15 percent for their 2008 Cayennes.? Go with either a six-speed manual or Tiptronic automatic as your transmission choices. A sports button changes the Cayenne?s shift pattern and allows it to take off in first gear.

Land Rover2008 Land Rover LR2
After attempting to create a more affordable vehicle, Land Rover introduced the Freelander to the U.S. market in 2005. Like the Red Coat?s, the Freelander?s journey to the States was not well received. Even with the Land Rover badge, there was nothing spectacular about this vehicle. Well, Land Rover heard U.S. voices and answered with a brand-new entry-level model, labeled the LR2. From a design and mechanical standpoint, the new LR2 should appease many Land Rover enthusiasts. Entering the ranks as a premium compact SUV, the LR2 has the luxury and off-road prowess of any other SUV in its class for $34,700.
From a glance at the exterior, the LR2 is certainly imbued with signature Land Rover attributes. A stepped roof, jewel-like wraparound headlamps and meshed side and front grilles inform everyone that you are driving a Land Rover. The LR2 is well-equipped with full-time four-wheel drive, leather seats, MP3 hookup and premium features like a soft-touch dash and metallic trim throughout the cabin. Under the hood lies a spunky 233-horsepower, inline six-cylinder engine that produces 234 pound-feet of torque and is capable of towing 4,409 pounds.

On- and off-road control features include a four-channel all-terrain anti-lock braking system, cornering brake control and a hill descent control. The LR2 rides on 18-inch aluminum alloy wheels and premium 235/60VR 18 tires. Driving the LR2 through California?s Transverse Range (Topatopa Mountains and Santa Ynez Mountains) was an exercise in several different driving conditions. From snowy mountains to icy terrain and slippery, muddy roads, the LR2 handled? like a trained professional.

Overall, the LR2 provides an exciting and adventurous ride. For all the bells and whistles, your price tag will be close to $40K.???

Kimatni D. Rawlins is the publisher of Automotive Rhythms and host of ?The Urban Automotive Experience.? Visit Virgil Moore and Nizam B. Ali contributed to this article.