The new third-generation SUV looks similar to the earlier ones – but it really isn’t
You might look at this latest Cayenne and then look at the sales figures – Porsche has sold 770,000 of these big SUVs. Then you’d nod, accepting that the broadly similar exterior means the company has been careful not to change too much of a winning formula. But actually Porsche has been brave here, because underneath there are considerable changes. Is change here for the better or the other thing?
While the exterior is broadly similar – which to some will be good and to others bad – the cabin ambience has moved forward a considerable distance. Although the cabin has always been technically smart it’s never exuded this sense of class and luxury before. The quality of materials, design, fit and everything else is a surprise and a delight, and of course there is masses of integrated technology.
Porsche Cayenne S
Engine: 2.9-litre, V8, twin-turbocharged petrol
Torque: 405lb ft
Gearbox: 8-spd automatic
Top speed: 164mph
Fuel economy: 30.1mpg
CO2 rating/BIK 213g/km, 37%
This is really a stunning interior, and looks worth the asking price alone. Oh, and the boot has grown by a further 100 litres if we can to be all practical.
But the asking price of £68,330 – let’s face it, most will end up costing a lot more than that – does include more than a cabin and a big boot. Porsche includes an engine as well. It’s similar to the one in Audi’s RS5, and is a twin-turbo 2.9-litre V8 giving 434bhp.
Although this big SUV still weighs over two tonnes, that’s enough clout to drive it forward with ample acceleration and speed. Even better, there’s 405lb ft of torque, so the eight-speed slick auto doesn’t need to work that hard to propel you forward with enormous thrust. The engine seems perfectly balanced for the vehicle.
And that balance continues underneath because the new Cayenne S uses the MLB platform that is very similar to the one used under the Bentley Bentayga. It’s a superb basis for the machine, and in our test vehicle – note the qualification – it handled really quite like a hot hatch, which is a remarkable achievement in such a big, tall vehicle. It really is remarkably good, and comfortable with it.
But it must be noted that our test vehicle had all the bells and whistles. These included carbon ceramic brakes – not essential – adaptive air suspension, rear axle steering and big 21-inch wheels. How would this vehicle feel without all those? It’s genuinely hard to say but with them it’s a perfect peach.
Overall this is a truly outstanding SUV. If you want the ultimate driver’s SUV, this is it. You’ll love being in the cabin, and will enjoy driving this most sumptuously appointed vehicle, which still offers good practicality and space. And it also offers reasonable value, even if that is a lot of money still. Consider, it’s cheaper than the cost Land Rover is demanding for its Discovery First Edition diesel. We’re running out of boxes to tick.