No car can defy the laws of physics and with even the lightest Cayenne (the 4.8-litre V8 S petrol, not the 3-litre diesel) weighing 2065kg and the heaviest (the Hybrid, not the Turbo) tipping the scales at 2315kg, not even Porsche can disguise the fact that this is a high and heavy SUV. But it’s had a damn good go.
To understand the Cayenne’s performance in this category, you have to exclude the Hybrid whose excessive avoirdupois and unpleasant electric steering is no kind of advert for Porsche handling at all. It’s just not a very nice car to drive, which is not something we’d say about any other Porsche on sale right now.
So with the unpleasantness dealt with, the good news is that every other Cayenne offers fine body control, accurate and well weighted steering and surprising grip. Even the diesel is a fluent and pleasant companion on a decent road, though you’d stop some distance short of calling it actively fun to drive.
All Cayennes are better in fast constant radius bends where they can settle on their suspension than tight hairpins which tend to induce understeer, and will offer some tightening of line according to throttle setting. The GTS on its bespoke settings is hilarious, summoning monster grip and liking nothing more than to be lobbed into a curve on a trailing throttle whereupon it’ll adopt a neutral to mildly oversteering stance until you hit the gas and thereby instruct the Porsche Traction Management all-wheel drive system to haul you straight.