Porsche Cayenne S

The storied Porsche brand is synonymous with elegant beauty, exhilarating speed and flawless roadability. And to most admirers, Porsche also means Sportscar.

However, today the Cayenne SUV and four-door Panamera account for almost three quarters of the company’s annual sales. With the new small format Macan SUV arriving in 2013, purists fear the shift away from the classic two-seater sportscar will irrevocably change the iconic Porsche identity.

Add to the mix raging battles involving $5 billion in law-suits alleging stock option manipulation –ensuing the 2008 move by Porsche to takeover its larger corporate cousin Volkswagen — and the soaring crescendo of a Wagnerian opera is weak by comparison!

And yet, Porsche continues to produce vehicles of such preternatural quality that it renders this tempestuous back-story irrelevant to drivers and customers.

Recent seat-time in the redesigned sales leading $110,000 Cayenne S mid-sized SUV underscores this reality! Sporting a more athletically sculpted exterior — including a new chiseled front hood and a lower sprinter’s stance — the Cayenne S makes the most of its 4.8 liter 400 horsepower V8.

While earlier Cayenne editions tended to be a less enjoyable ride for passengers than Porsche-fever afflicted drivers, the new design, handling and suspension affords civility to entire passenger compartment.