After being revealed in 2002, the Porsche Cayenne has caused a stir in the SUV market – with over 770,000 sales in those 15 years. Those figures make it the brand’s most popular vehicle.
With the release of the third generation, Porsche has given the sporty SUV even more performance and better technology to move it in line with the rest of the line-up – making it even more desirable for customers.
Available in three versions – Cayenne, S and Turbo – there is a lot on offer with all models as Porsche hasn’t scrimped on equipment and options to help keep this dynamic model as one of the most in-demand on the market.
When tested, we got our hands on the middle of the pack Cayenne S, which features a sizeable 434bhp punch thanks to the bi-turbo, 2.9-litre V6 engine. It produces 550Nm of torque also, which is sent through all four wheels. With the help of an eight-speed automatic transmission the Cayenne S can sprint to 60mph in 4.9 seconds – with the optional Sport Chrono Pack doing so 0.2 seconds quicker – and go on to a top speed of 164mph.
Only petrol engines are fitted to the new Cayenne models, but they all produce more than enough torque to get you up to speed and the right amount of performance in all situations. Even if the capacity is smaller than before, it goes just as well as its predecessors and even packs more power – showing that size isn’t everything.
Ride & Handling
The Cayenne S we tested came with a lot of added goodies, such as four-wheel steering, adaptive air suspension and Porsche’s latest dynamic chassis control, so that it felt that more engaging to drive. The chassis control system can be altered to offer a sportier feel if needed or it can set up to transform the car into a great cruiser, with the adaptive air suspension soaking up the bumps. Even though the new Cayenne is longer than the last version, it has the help of the four-wheel steering to make it feel much more manoeuvrable at slow speed and more stable at a higher pace.
With the help of active roll stabilisation, the rather tall SUV doesn’t do much rolling at all – which when you’re going at a fair lick down a twisty road can be very handy indeed. The steering is also well-weighted – as with every other Porsche – and it’s clear the Cayenne can handle itself well in most environments. When on the longer, straighter stretches of road it also goes well and is very comfortable.
Interior & Equipment
Porsche has streamlined the cabin to do away with a lot of the buttons that were in the last version and made it much simpler use. The centrepiece is the 12.3-inch infotainment display that controls pretty much everything in the car, and it is very clear to read and use. The buttons normally found around the gear lever have also been replaced by touch-sensitive alternatives, but there are still conventional controls in use – like the volume dial.
As it has grown slightly since the last version, space is not at a premium as it has a 100-litre capacity advantage in the boot – making 770 litres with the rear seats up. With the rear bench folded down, you get over 1,700 litres. Head and legroom is also excellent and everything comes in a premium leather trim for that extra level of comfort. All other materials used are of a very good quality.
In the Cayenne S, you do get what you pay for and that is an excellent level of specification. Parking sensors, cruise control, phone connectivity, a full speaker system from Bose or Burmester and a wide selection of safety systems – like lane change assist, lane keep assist, traffic jam assist and ParkAssist including surround view are available. You also get two seven-inch displays in the instrument binnacle that flank the central speedometer.
Prices for the Cayenne start from around £55,965 – which when compared to its rivals is rather good value considering what equipment you get – with the Cayenne S we tested having an initial price of £68,330. Considering what’s on offer, you will be hard-pressed to find an SUV that drives as well or comes as well equipped as the Cayenne S.
If you can afford to buy one of these, fuel costs won’t be the first thing that springs to mind, but with a combined mpg of around 30 being quoted by Porsche, it isn’t the most economical vehicle you can buy. But to be honest, that’s not why you buy this car, and when considering its performance and equipment, it more than lives up to the price tag.
Whatever you think of how it looks – we think this one looks rather handsome – the Cayenne continues to offer customers an excellent experience. It stands up to its rivals and, more importantly, its predecessor. Even if there isn’t a diesel power unit on offer, people who can afford it will flock to the Cayenne like before and this will remain as one of the best-selling premium SUVs on the market.