It was the slap heard round the automotive world. When the Cayenne was introduced in 2003, Porsche, perhaps the most iconic name in sports cars, raised many an eyebrow with the addition of an SUV to its vehicular line up. Porsche enthusiasts were stunned and some diehard fans were initially dismayed. That is, until they drove the Cayenne. Eight years later, the Porsche Cayenne drove home Motor Trend's SUV of the year award for 2011.

The Cayenne was redesigned and re-engineered for the 2011 model year. And though this is the first time it's received the esteemed honor from the preeminent car magazine, the award comes as no surprise to Rich Del Mazzio, ecommerce manager for New Country Porsche in Greenwich. When the Cayenne was first introduced, he says, "Porsche challenged the market with the idea that SUVs do not have to be slow, boring or truck-like." And after widespread acknowledgment by Porsche lovers -- and car lovers in general -- that the SUV was "one of the best SUVs on the planet, it was only a matter of time before Porsche got the formula just right."

The base Cayenne comes loaded with, among other goodies, 18-inch cast-aluminum wheels, self-leveling automatic headlamps, front and rear fog lamps, LED running lights, a power tailgate, automatic windshield wipers, dual-zone automatic climate control, eight-way power front seats, tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, sliding and reclining 40/20/40-split rear seat, leather upholstery, Bluetooth, touchscreen interface and a 10-speaker sound system with CD player and auxiliary audio jack.

And if that's not enough to tempt your Porsche palette, the Cayenne is simply stunning. Rich notes some of the vehicle's physical assets, which include graceful designs both inside and out. "The reshaped body lines," he says, "are more muscular and more aggressive-looking."

Rich points out some other attributes that he finds particularly appealing about the Cayenne, particularly in comparison with other vehicles. "Most SUVs have complicated controls such as multi-level menus for even the most basic operations. I was in a competitor's car not long ago and it was freezing outside and I wanted to turn on my heated seat." He notes with frustration that it took him quite some time to find the climate control menu and then more time to select the correct seat heater and the level at which to set it. "When there are two feet of snow on the ground and your rear end is freezing, minutes can feel like an eternity," he says. But it's a different story in the cockpit of a Cayenne. "All of the important vehicle operations are easily accessible via one button on the console. You just get in, find the button and press it. That's it," says Rich.

"The new Cayenne has a lot of wonderful traits that make it a winner," says Rich. And if you're still hankering for a sports car, you can always order your Porsche the old fashioned way -- with a six-speed manual transmission. You know you're driving a Porsche, but you might forget you're driving an SUV.

If you had your drothers, would you drive a Cayenne or a 911? Which Porsche has your name on it? Let me know here, or email me at jcurtis@mainstreetconnect.