Porsche Cayenne Coupe vs Jaguar F-Pace SVR vs Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio

  • Three fast and furious premium SUVs
  • All excel in different areas
  • But which should you buy?

Can you successfully mix large, premium SUVs with sports car-baiting performance? Judging by the sheer amount of this type of car becoming available in recent years, car manufacturers certainly think so.

Porsche kicked off this trend when the first Cayenne arrived in the early 2000s, using the firm’s long and illustrious history in making fantastic sports cars and transplanting that into a high-riding off-roader.

Now, the Cayenne is in its third generation and there’s now a coupe version to boost its appeal even further. That's proof right there that the recipe is a good one for success. It just so happens that the Cayenne is also one of Porsche's most popular models. 

It no longer has such a monopoly on the class, though. Audi, BMW and Mercedes all have fast SUVs of their own (several, in fact) while cheaper brands are getting involved as well, just look at the Cupra Ateca and Volkswagen T-Roc R.

We’ve got a varied line-up here though, with the Cayenne Coupe tested in Turbo form taking on the burly Jaguar F-Pace SVR and exotic, precise Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio. They all need to excite on the road, but they also still need to be good SUVs. Read on to find out which is best.

Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio

Blue 2018 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio rear

Of this trio, it’s the Alfa that’s most likely to get some kind of emotional response out of a potential buyer, even if it’s not a ‘true’ Alfa – purely because it’s an SUV.

Don’t discount it because of that. It sits at the pinnacle of the Stelvio range with a Ferrari-derived 510hp 2.9-litre twin-turbo V6 engine matched with a slick-shifting automatic gearbox. If the promise of that engine alone doesn’t whet your appetite, we don’t know what will. The regular Stelvio is a good starting point, being one of the sharpest SUVs to drive among a raft of impressive competition.

Its sleek body has been beefed up with bigger wheels and a body kit, while the interior is much the same aside from some optional carbon sports seats (they’re very firm). Inside it’s actually a bit of a letdown, its fit and finish not really doing much to justify the high price. It’s fairly spacious, though, and packed with a decent amount of kit. The infotainment system is a big disappointment especially next to the Porsche's, but you’ll want to be listening to the engine more than the radio.

Jaguar F-Pace SVR

Blue 2019 Jaguar F-Pace SVR front driving

The F-Pace has been around a little while, but the addition of an SVR model ramps up the fun factor. Like the Porsche, it has a 550hp V8, but it sounds far more aggressive, while on the outside it looks rather subtle next to the Alfa. Some details add aggression, but it too looks a refined SUV like the Porsche. A nice combination.

Inside, the dash is logically laid out, but just doesn’t feel as special as its German rival thanks to some iffy materials, and missing out on some of Jaguar’s latest technology such as the dual touchscreens you'll find on an XE or a Range Rover Velar. The sports seats are fabulous, though, and it’s easily the most family-friendly with enough space for five and a big boot. It also feels the airiest inside.

It isn’t the most comfortable, though, so you’ll need to make sure you can live with the heavy controls, bumpy ride (most of the time) and hard seats every day. That said, you could forgive it as soon as you start it up – it sounds fantastic.

Porsche Cayenne Coupe

White 2019 Porsche Cayenne Turbo Coupe front

The transformation to a coupe is one of the more successful out there, and the Cayenne doesn’t sacrifice too much in the way of practicality for it. Inside there’s a good amount of space with a choice of four or five seats, a fabulous dashboard layout that’s packed with modern kit, big screens and a lot of personalisation in terms of how it all looks and feels and what you want to prioritise. Just be prepared to take some time to learn where everything is and how it all works first.

The general Cayenne range is broad with two plug-in hybrid options as well as the usual petrols, but this Turbo is arguably at the more thrilling end of it thanks to a 550hp 4.0-litre V8 engine beneath the bonnet, and a 3.9-second 0-62mph time. It feels leap years ahead of the other two in terms of technology and fit and finish inside, and it switches between exciting sports car and refined SUV very easily indeed thanks to its broad selection of drive modes.

On the road

2018 Alfa Stelvio and Jaguar F-Pace SVR rear driving

This is where these cars really demonstrate their differences. The Jaguar’s thunderous V8 catapults you forwards with a lot of drama and a big thrill – but you need to work hard to keep it in check on a twisty road. The controls are heavy and it can easily get a bit out of shape, whether you want it to or not. It doesn't take long to tame the big cat though, and its big V8 will happily trundle around calmly with no more than a subtle burble. The ride can feel a little harsh though, but only on rougher roads. It's worth noting though, that the Jag feels the biggest car here on any road. 

The Alfa, on the other hand, is incredibly precise. The steering is very quick and direct, and the lack of body roll for such a big car is remarkable. By far it feels the smallest car here, thanks in large part to that steering that's so quick to respond. At first it takes some getting used to, but then it quickly becomes second-nature and you'll revel in the Alfa's agility. The twin-turbo V6 doesn’t sound that exciting until you really rev it out, at which point it totally transforms and becomes every inch the Italian supercar - it's infectious.

2019 Porsche Cayenne Coupe and 2018 Alfa Stelvio Quadrifoglio driving

Then there’s the Porsche, balancing various bits of the other two cars. It’s super-composed in the bends with beautifully-weighted steering, next-to-no bodyroll and a blistering engine that’s always ready to go. Driving modes help tweak the experience in all three, but they’re easier to hone in the Porsche, and it’s this car that you’ll want to settle down in for a relaxed drive home (when the time comes). The differences in how the car performs between modes is very pronounced, making it very versatile and easy to adapt to the road. The V8 howl isn't as aggressive as the Jag's, but it's certainly there and contributes to the Porsche's overall feel of just being a jacked-up sports car.

The Parkers Verdict

Alfa, Porsche or Jaguar - best fast SUVs

It is genuinely difficult to split these cars, as while they all offer a thrilling drive, they all do it so differently. However it’s the Porsche that just manages to push ahead of the Alfa and Jaguar thanks to its wider breadth of talents. It’s exciting on a twisty road with hugely impressively cornering abilities, but it can also do the sensible thing of just being a classy and refined premium SUV.

Go for the Alfa and you’ll get an exciting precision machine – the twin-turbo V6 sounds fantastic when you really rev it, and its quick steering and composed handling make it seriously engaging. However its firm ride and cheaper-feeling interior stop it from taking the win - it's hard to justify its price when you take those things into account. Especially if it's a car to be used every day. 

The Jaguar is level-pegging with the Alfa. That’s because it offers a very different experience – the V8 is more of a sledgehammer of power and torque and everything feels heavy. You really have to put the work in on a twisty road, but it’s rewarding for that. It’s also the most family-friendly inside, but it too has a slightly cheap-feeling interior next to the Porsche.

The Cayenne Coupe is a real jack-of-all-trades that’s packed with modern technology that's light years ahead of the other two, plus the kind of Porsche DNA you’d hope for, so it takes the win here. 

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