What is it?
This is the third-generation Porsche Cayenne, which you have probably surmised already given that it looks quite similar to the second-generation car. Which wasn’t a million miles away from the original. However, with 770,000 Cayennes sold since 2002, Porsche is understandably wary of meddling with a style that works so well. Gradual evolution hasn’t done the Porsche 911 any harm now, has it?
Underneath, the changes are much more drastic, with this Cayenne based on the MLB platform that also sees service in the Bentley Bentayga, plus a host of driver-focused chassis technology: rear-wheel steering is an option, along with the electromechanical anti-roll system first seen on the Audi SQ7, and updated air suspension too. Add to those new engines and a thoroughly overhauled interior and it’s plain that there’s far more to this Cayenne than first meets the eye.
What's it like?
Fairly tremendous actually, at a great many things. Buyers will make their own minds up about the looks, although it’s probably fair to say that those never previously sold on the largest Porsche SUV won't find much to change their mind here.
There can be no complaints about this new Cayenne’s interior however. Both the Cayenne and the Porsche Macan have been recognised for their dynamic acumen, though it’s seldom – if ever – that they’re complimented for a sense of luxury. That changes here, this new Cayenne taking up where the Porsche Panamera left off with a stunning interior comprised of sumptuous materials, seamlessly integrated technology and considerable style. It’s difficult to imagine wanting more from an interior in a car costing comfortably less than £100,000: impeccably appointed, intuitive and as connected as any buyer will currently need, the Cayenne’s cabin is a triumph. Oh yes, and there’s now an extra 100 litres of boot space.
The Cayenne S uses a 2.9-litre twin-turbo V6 and an eight-speed automatic gearbox, a broadly similar powertrain to that in the Audi RS5, albeit with marginally less power at 434bhp. Crucially, this powertrain feels a better fit here than in the sports coupé, the generous spread of torque – 405lb ft from 1800-5500rpm – arguably more befitting of a 2020kg SUV (yes, not much weight has been lost) than BMW an M3-chasing two door. It lends the Cayenne S a fair turn of speed, certainly enough to make the 164mph claimed top speed seem eminently achievable on our brief drive. With minimal lag and a swift-acting automatic gearbox, the turbocharged V6 will provide all the performance most buyers will require.