From £67,1289

Widely updated Cayenne gets a fresh interior and a wider array of plug-in hybrid powertrains, but retains its V8-engined mainstay models for those with more traditional tastes

Find Porsche Cayenne deals
Offers from our trusted partners on this car and its predecessors...
New car deals
From £67,128
Nearly-new car deals
From £65,990
Sell your car
In partnership with
Powered by

Where does the line between a heavy facelift and an all-new model start? In Stuttgart they can argue it both ways. Strictly speaking, the latest Porsche Cayenne is an updated version of the existing third generation (the ‘E3’) of what we all now regard as the original sporting SUV, est 2002. However, the scope of the changes is on par with what Porsche has, in the past, undertaken for full-generational model renewals.

It means that while the engine line-up still consists of V6 and V8 layouts, these units have been meaningfully overhauled, as has the suspension and, most noticeably, the interior, which takes its cues from the all-electric Porsche Taycan saloon. This is rather a different car from the Cayenne launched in 2018, so don’t be fooled by the subtle revisions to the exterior design. Those more squared-off intakes and sharper creases in the body are the least of it.

Why has Porsche gone so heavy on the updates without deeming this to be an all-new model?

It comes down to awkward timing. The Cayenne remains the firm’s best-seller, yet its future trajectory as an old-school, combustion-engined SUV with mechanically connected four-wheel drive is uncertain. An all-electric Macan is already upon us and an electric Cayenne is due in 2027, at the same time as an ambitious electric model codenamed K1, with off-road capability and seven-seat capacity, in a niche above the Cayenne. These cars are Porsche’s future.

Even so, the German company still expects to be selling plenty of petrol-engined Cayennes around the world towards the end of this decade. They will sit in showrooms alongside the new EVs. But will it sell enough to justify the expense of an all-new generation?

Back to top

In readying the E3 Cayenne for the long haul, Porsche’s implicit answer is ‘probably not’. It means we are perhaps looking at the final version of this divisive, desirable car as we’ve always known it.

So is it set to go out on a high note? So far, we've driven the standard base-level Cayenne, the V8 S and the GTS to seek to find out. Meanwhile, for more impressions of the plug-in hybrid models, see our review of the Cayenne Coupe.

The range at a glance

Models Power From
Cayenne 348bhp £70,400
E-Hybrid 464bhp £79,800
S 468bhp £84,400
S E-Hybrid 512bhp £87,100
GTS 493bhp £106,100
Turbo E-Hybrid 729bhp £130,200

The Cayenne range isn’t anything like as diverse as the 911’s but there’s still plenty of choice, with surely further derivatives to be added in the coming years.

All models have four-wheel drive, and both the V6 and V8 engines can be had with plug-in electrification. The Porsche Cayenne Coupé range is a mirror image, except that the Turbo E-Hybrid comes with the GT Package (titanium exhaust, aggressive aero addenda etc).

North American buyers will also have access to the 650bhp Turbo GT, which costs $196,300 (around £155,500) and is the Cayenne’s answer to the 911 GT3 but doesn’t meet EU emissions standards.


porsche cayenne gts review 2024 02

The facelifted Cayenne heralds the return of Porsche’s likeably beefcake V8 to more accessible derivatives than the Turbo or GTS, and this is cause for cheer.

It means that while the entry-level Cayenne uses a 348bhp 3.0-litre V6, the Cayenne S is now endowed with the Porsche-Audi 4.0-litre ‘EA825’ V8 and 468bhp, not to mention 443lb ft of torque.

It may not seem so at a glance but almost every panel is new. Of particular interest are the front wings, which have been given a more arching profile. Along with the flatter bonnet, the aim is to emphasise visual width

This engine made its debut seven years ago in the Panamera Turbo but for the latest Cayenne it receives new turbochargers and new electrically controlled wastegates to improve response. New intake cams can shift between high- and low-load profiles at ‘lightning speed’, with magnetoresistive camshaft sensors relaying the precise position of the cams to the control electronics.

This is all said to improve both performance and CO2 emissions. Optimised cooling and a piston ring carrier also add ‘robustness’.

The EA825 is not even mildly hybridised in the Cayenne S or GTS (which it also powers), but this doesn’t mean the Cayenne is off the pace in terms of electrification. Of the five variants offered at launch in the UK, three are plug-in hybrids (two V6 hybrids and one V8 hybrid in the form of the herculean, 729bhp Turbo E-Hybrid).

All use a new battery 8.0kWh larger than that of pre-update Cayenne, at 25.9kWh. The drive motor integrated into the car’s gearbox is also new and considerably more powerful than before, as well as being claimed to have 30% more effective energy recuperation capability. It can also now slow the car down to walking pace, whereas before you would need to use the physical brakes to dip before 8mph or 9mph.

All variants continue to use Porsche’s eight-speed Tiptronic S torque-converter automatic, the shift times for which have been trimmed in Sport and Sport Plus modes. Meanwhile, in Normal mode, efficiency is prioritised more than ever, the software commanding the ’box to select the highest gear reasonably possible at a given moment.

Significant changes continue downstream of the drivetrain. For the first time, the Cayenne is offered with steel suspension springs with Porsche’s new double-valved adaptive dampers. This allows the chassis to isolate compression and rebound actions, which is instrumental in creating markedly different characteristics in ride quality and body control between the driving modes.

Plenty of Cayennes will come with two-chamber air springs, though. Porsche candidly says air outperforms steel where it matters and is particularly effective at low speeds. Both active anti-roll bars (PDCC) and an electronically controlled locking differential (PTV Plus) are optionally available on every variant.

Along with its almost entirely aluminium monocoque, the new Cayenne uses more aluminium body panels than ever. Nevertheless, the claimed 2160kg of the S is 140kg more than before (blame those extra cylinders), though it’s also 270kg less than a V8-equipped Range Rover Sport. On our scales, the S weighed 2256kg with its 90-litre fuel tank brimmed.

Meantime, for those with more traditional tastes who want an even faster Cayenne without any electrfication, there's the GTS. Porsche has liberated an extra 25bhp for this car over and above the V8-powered Cayenne S, and 40bhp more than the old Cayenne GTS had.

That extra bit of grunt isn’t all you’re getting with your GTS decals, either. Unlike the S, this car gets ‘PASM’ adaptive air suspension and ‘PTV Plus’ mechanical torque vectoring as standard, the former configured to cradle the car 10mm lower to the road than a Cayenne S sits. It also runs front axle hubs borrowed from the Turbo GT, which bring with them an extra half-a-degree of negative wheel camber to sharpen up lateral grip levels and mid-corner steering response.

The car’s steering and stability control systems are specially retuned, and lifewise the calibrations for the optional ‘PDCC’ active anti-roll bars and four-wheel steering systems if you have them, all with fast road driving - rather than mixed on- and off-road use - in mind. You also get a separate radiator for the car’s four-wheel drive system, rear diff and transfer case, to prevent them from overheating in more intensive use.


porsche cayenne s road test review 2024 43 interior

While it can be difficult to quickly identify a post-facelift Cayenne from the outside, it’s a different matter inside.

The lack of cowling for the new, curved and entirely digital instrument binnacle is straight from the Taycan playbook. Portrait-oriented air vents book-end the dashboard and, along with the trademark grab handles on the transmission tunnel, lend the cabin an urbane toughness that sits surprisingly well with the Cayenne’s new-found tech-heaviness, and of course the successfully executed general atmosphere of luxury the model has always strived for.

I like the new cabin air vent design. With a structural-looking centre spar, they have the look of engine cooling intakes. Very Porsche.

To that end, perceived quality is high – not just concerning the larger panels and copious stitching, but also the smaller elements, such as the volume dial (yes, it’s still physical) and the climate controls. It all feels expensive.

That said, cars without much optional kit certainly cut a more spartan figure than an equivalent Audi SQ7 or Mercedes GLE might. While the basic upholstery is passably soft and seats are supportive, we can understand why you might upgrade to full leather and 18-way Sport seats on your Cayenne S. In fact, we would recommend it.

Porsche also offers various wood trims and it wouldn’t take much effort to elevate the place to near-Bentley levels of material lavishness.

Ergonomically, the Cayenne is as strong as it ever was. A new design of multifunction steering wheel is perhaps the sweetest-feeling helm in the class; the geometry between your hips, knees and ankles strikes an excellent balance of sportiness and utility; and second-row leg room is comparable to that of the new Mercedes E-Class.

If you're willing to trade a bit of accessiblity for extra sporting flavour, the Cayenne GTS brings with it a set of sports front seats with bolstered cushions as standard (they're a little bit annoying when lifting your backside in and out of them, but great once you're in), and plenty of extra 'race-tex' suede around the interior for that tactile motorsport feel.

Porsche’s DNA necessitates the Cayenne's cabin feeling in some way cosseting – a Range Rover Sport is notably more lounge-like – but there is an optional panoramic roof that opens up the sense of space. One thing you can’t have is a third row of seats, as you can in the Audi Q7. 

Multimedia system

The Cayenne packs an awful lot of digital real estate into its dashboard (and even more if you option the £1061, 10.9in passenger-side touchscreen – very Ferrari) but it wears it all quite naturally.

Certainly, you never feel as though you’re staring down a wall of pixels, as you can in, say, the Mercedes GLE. Perhaps that’s because the central 12.3in display remains embedded in the dashboard, well below one’s eyeline.

Whatever the reason, wherever you look, the resolution is fantastically crisp and there’s a customisable home menu with easily navigable icons that are usefully large but not childishly so.

Apple CarPlay and Android Auto come standard, though you can remain on Porsche’s OS and sign into Spotify or Apple Music via a QR code. Inside the covered cubby at the base of the dashboard, you will find two USB-C ports (there are two more in back) and the wireless phone-charging tray, which is cooled.


porsche cayenne s road test review 2024 53 v8 engine

Does it feel good to have V8 power back, and represented more broadly throughout the Cayenne model range than it used to be? It sure does.

In the Cayenne S, the 4.0-litre unit isn’t especially bombastic or raucous, exhibiting more of an old-school, sat-back character than many other modern V8s, and is all the better for it. It has a reserved personality and an organic feel that make it enjoyable company whatever the assignment and it goes about its business in a way that’s unlikely to draw any scowls from onlookers. But in the GTS, the engine's much more vocal and enticing, especially with the car's switchable sports exhaust set to noisy. So you can have a little demure, or a lot less so, as you prefer.

Porsche’s V8 has swapped its twin-scroll turbos for a single-scroll design. On paper, that should result in more boosty delivery, but it also means higher exhaust gas temps and better fuel economy when you’re cracking on a bit. Well done to any owners who clock the jump from 11 to 12mpg!

The five seconds it took the Cayenne S to reach 60mph (in wet test conditions) when rigged up with our data logger wasn't slow, but neither did it feel uncomfortably quick. In fact, it feels just right for a car like this. Likewise, the 30-70mph in fourth gear that we use to assess mid-range grunt and easy-overtaking ability was dispatched in an unspectacular but very creditable 6.3sec.

Admittedly, this is hardly comparing apples with apples, but a manual BMW M2 takes 8.0sec to cover the same metric, and Porsche’s 911 GT3 RS is only half a second quicker than the Cayenne S. Closer to home, the mad, pre-facelift Cayenne Turbo GT shaves only 1.1sec off our test car’s time.

A GTS is only a couple of tenths quicker still, according to Porsche's claims; but that amounts to a Cayenne with abundant real-world accelerating and overtaking clout, especially through the lower half of the range of intermediate gears. You'd only really want a quicker Cayenne than this if you had regular - and really very fast - destricted autobahn running in mind. Porsche’s Zuffenhausen-built V8 is responsive and torquey at lower revs and spins freely at high crankspeeds, and it sounds genuine, rich and unadulterated. It’s precisely the kind of engine that you’d expect a Cayenne to have.

Flexibility is its defining strength, really. The relatively high 6800rpm redline is matched by the 2000rpm depths at which it begins to deliver peak torque. You can take manual control of the gearbox via paddles, but unless you’re teeing up an overtake, there’s really never any need to. Even then, the gearbox control module generally has a fine sense of exactly how much go you would like based on the position of the accelerator pedal.

Also worth noting is the new electric brake booster fitted to the Cayenne S and E-Hybrid. In both cars, it can take tyre temperature into account and adjust the ABS intervention accordingly, and in the PHEV model it allegedly ensures a smooth handover between regenerative and friction braking. In practice, the system feels good, being wholly progressive. But be wary of Porsche's optional carbon-ceramic brakes if you're looking for really smooth and linear brake pedal progression; the 'PCCB' carbon stoppers have a slightly grabby initial bite, and can annoy a little at low speeds.

As for the overhauled base-level Cayenne V6: on the road this engine certainly feels torquier than it used to – little freer-revving at the top of the rev range, but very refined, and well capable of a turn of pace that feels assured rather than especially fast.

Off-road notes

If you plan on taking your Cayenne down lightish trails or muddy lanes, we would advise ticking the box for air suspension. The ability to raise the ride height at the touch of a button makes a meaningful difference to the car’s off-road geometry, which is reasonably impressive for something so assiduously honed for on-road dynamism, if still no threat to that of the Range Rover Sport.

You can also add PTV+, which can lock the rear differential. All models get Porsche Traction Management and Off-Road mode. Our car was also equipped with the Off-road pack, which adds reinforced underbody protection, a compass display on the dash and a tilt/incline/steering angle readout in the PCM.

The steep, rocky perimeter road of the off-road course at Millbrook Proving Ground posed no problems whatsoever for our test car, which surely ranks as one of the most broad-batted cars we have ever tested at the facility.


porsche cayenne s road test review 2024 56 cornering rear

Delve into the official literature and you will find a quietly amusing line describing the Cayenne’s yaw response as remaining ‘at the usual high level’.

In fairness, Porsche has earned the right to indulge in a little wry humour regarding this car’s improbable ability to adopt a slither of angle. In its 22 years, the Cayenne has been the benchmark for SUVs with sporting handling dynamics, and only in recent years have alternatives such as the Lamborghini Urus and the extraordinarily expensive Ferrari Purosangue pseudo-SUV threatened its superiority. 

Fruitier Cayennes are given away by their four full-bore exhaust tips, while the entry-level, non-hybrid V6 gets a pair of rectangular pieces. If you see a set of four squared-off tips, you know you’re looking at the Turbo E-Hybrid

In £100,000 ballpark, it remains all but untouched. While its chief rival, the Range Rover Sport, perhaps has greater elegance to its handling, in non-SVR guise it has never had the Porsche’s body control or agility – its saloon-style cornering, in a nutshell.

This updated car continues that legacy. We've tested a V6 Cayenne on steel springs; a Cayenne S with optional rear-axle steering and air suspension; and a GTS with the same four-wheel steering system and active anti-roll bars, as well as Porsche's special GTS suspension and steering ingredients and tuning. And in every guise and trim, the car has struck us as a true class act.

The sense of sheer composure and inherent rightness with which it tackles good A- and B-roads is striking. While your hip point remains high, the car somehow shrinks the distance between driver and road compared with other SUVs.

It has a connected feel and natural weight in the steering that makes barrelling into corners an intuitive act. In sportier modes, it rolls just enough to communicate useful information about your speeds and trajectory, but no more. Pop the Cayenne S into Sport Plus mode and it would probably just about hang on to the coat-tails of a well-driven basic 911 Carrera - and a GTS, with its even lower suspension and strong performance, certainly would. In this Cayenne, handling response and mid-corner agility, handling adjustability, and all-round feedback take further steps on, and really do hit rare heights for a car like this.

However, it’s often almost as enjoyable to leave the car in Normal and flow it along on a wave of V8 torque. Where most SUVs have none at all, the Cayenne possesses a faint throttle adjustability that makes easy progress a pleasure.

Comfort and Isolation

Hugely adaptable air suspension or not, there is inevitably a trade-off to be made between handling dynamism and rolling refinement.

The Cayenne has plenty of the former and a commendable degree of the latter, but the ‘connected’ feel that makes it a true Porsche comes with a slight yet definite reactivity underwheel that means the car doesn’t match the very best in class for outright ride quality.

Neither, with the updated Cayenne’s larger combined wheel and tyre diameter, does it insulate from road roar quite as well as we would like, especially on rougher surfaces. Our Cayenne S recorded noise readings of 63dBA and 66dBA at speeds of 50mph and 70mph respectively, versus 62dBA and 64dBA for a 2019-model-year BMW X5 30d.

The most recent Range Rover Sport subjected to the test mic – a D300 – managed a comparatively whisper-quiet 60dBA at 50mph, though this rose to 66dBA at 70mph.

These criticisms need to be put into context, mind. The Cayenne S remains a fine motorway companion, and in Normal mode it breathes with the road. Visibility is good, ergonomic comfort is excellent, and Porsche knowingly tilts the Cayenne towards the leaner, more beady-eyed end of the luxury SUV spectrum, as it absolutely should.

Prospective owners who desire all-out refinement and care little for dynamic engagement need  only be aware of this philosophy. Audi’s SQ7 beckons.


porsche cayenne gts review 2024 01

Company car drivers will bolt for the PHEV versions of the Cayenne, but private buyers should first consider the V8s in our view: the Cayenne S and GTS.

For a car of such breadth, with an engine of deep character, the S's starting price of £84,400 strikes us as fair value. The equivalent BMW – the X5 M60i – starts at £92,455, with similar potential for options spend. The Audi SQ7 begins at £93,215, and if you want eight cylinders in your Range Rover Sport, you are well into six figures.

Those who need some electrical capability can drop down to the Cayenne E-Hybrid or spend a little extra to get the more powerful S E-Hybrid, though both use a V6.

The hybrids are worth considering, too, however. The touring economy of our Cayenne S test car, at 28.8mpg, was decent and equals an all-out motorway range of nearly 600 miles on a 90-litre tank. But everywhere else, this is a thirsty beast. Reckon on 22mpg or so in mixed driving, and close to half that if the mood takes you.

‘EAER combined’ electric range on both E-Hybrid models is between 40 and 50 miles, putting both into the 8% benefit-in-kind tax bracket for fleet users (although it’d be an unusual fleet to offer the Turbo E-Hybrid).

We’ve yet to get an indication of the real-world, extended-range fuel economy of any of the PHEVs - but a V6-powered base Cayenne returned about 28mpg (similar to the magnificently unstrained V8, interestingly) for us at a UK-typical motorway cruise, dropping into the low-20s during more spirited cross-country driving.


porsche cayenne s road test review 2024 62 static front

If Porsche’s intention with this comprehensive update was to keep the Cayenne in a holding pattern at the sharp end of the class until the latter part of this decade, it can congratulate itself on a job well done.

Design changes are light-touch but, 20 years into its existence, the big Porsche seems to have found an aesthetic that doesn’t automatically repel critics but that keeps patrons happy, so there was no reason to change anything dramatically.

Inside, meanwhile, there is the considered integration of technology that could show a touchscreen-heavy rival or two how it should be done; and then there is the Cayenne’s continued ergonomic excellence and high perceived quality. This is a complete product, meticulously honed.

Most of all, the driving experience still sets the bar. Certain luxury SUVs alternatives ride more sweetly than the Cayenne, but few are as appealing and interesting to drive to those with keener sporting tastes. The reappearance of an understated and effective V8 in the comparatively affordable S derivative should be applauded; and the way the GTS adds sporting flavour and dynamic edge to that car's recipe is very effective indeed.

If you have been waiting for an uncomplicated, relatively traditional but really enjoyable luxury SUV to go all in on and keep forever, this may be it.

Richard Lane

Richard Lane
Title: Deputy road test editor

Richard joined Autocar in 2017 and like all road testers is typically found either behind a keyboard or steering wheel.

As deputy road test editor he delivers in-depth road tests and performance benchmarking, plus feature-length comparison stories between rival cars. He can also be found presenting on Autocar's YouTube channel.

Mostly interested in how cars feel on the road – the sensations and emotions they can evoke – Richard drives around 150 newly launched makes and models every year. His job is then to put the reader firmly in the driver's seat. 

Matt Saunders

Matt Saunders Autocar
Title: Road test editor

As Autocar’s chief car tester and reviewer, it’s Matt’s job to ensure the quality, objectivity, relevance and rigour of the entirety of Autocar’s reviews output, as well contributing a great many detailed road tests, group tests and drive reviews himself.

Matt has been an Autocar staffer since the autumn of 2003, and has been lucky enough to work alongside some of the magazine’s best-known writers and contributors over that time. He served as staff writer, features editor, assistant editor and digital editor, before joining the road test desk in 2011.

Since then he’s driven, measured, lap-timed, figured, and reported on cars as varied as the Bugatti Veyron, Rolls-Royce PhantomTesla RoadsterAriel Hipercar, Tata Nano, McLaren SennaRenault Twizy and Toyota Mirai. Among his wider personal highlights of the job have been covering Sebastien Loeb’s record-breaking run at Pikes Peak in 2013; doing 190mph on derestricted German autobahn in a Brabus Rocket; and driving McLaren’s legendary ‘XP5’ F1 prototype. His own car is a trusty Mazda CX-5.

Porsche Cayenne First drives