Third-generation Porsche Cayenne SUV moves the game on
- Performance in spades
- Fantastic steering
- Modern, techy interior
- Lots of space inside
- Harsh, sporty ride
- Feels big on the road
- Still not a looker
- Not cheap to run
This is the third-generation Porsche Cayenne SUV, the German brand’s larger high-rise performance car.
Porsche pompously calls the Cayenne the epitome of the sporty SUV, but people have bought into that idea since the first car was launched in 2003, to the tune of around 770,000 being sold around the world since the first-generation’s launch.
This third-generation version is longer and lower than its predecessor while, the body is around 35kg lighter, which should help both performance and emissions.
It still looks like a Cayenne, though, which some buyers may be put off by – it’s not exactly a pretty car, but Porsche has refined the design and carried across some key styling from the Panamera sports-saloon-cum-five-door-coupe.
Several punchy power variants
At launch, there was a trio of Cayennes to choose from. The standard Cayenne features a 3.0-litre turbocharged V6 producing 340hp, the Cayenne S employs a 440hp 2.9-litre twin-turbo V6, while the hot Cayenne Turbo has a 550hp 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8.
The Turbo’s V8 has power reserves available that could worry some sports cars and boasts a very muscular noise. The performance is addictive, but naturally will be the least friendly on your wallet.
Added to the range shortly after launch is the Cayenne E-Hybrid, a plug-in hybrid model that uses the 3.0-litre V6 from the standard Cayenne, in combination with an electric motor.
All Cayenne models are great to drive and the car has one of the best cabins in the business. All versions will tow 3.5 tonnes and work impressively well off-road, too.
Interior design shared with Panamera
Porsche’s near buttonless interior from the Panamera also features inside the Cayenne. That means a huge HD central screen dominates your attention, along with a raised centre console with a chunky gear selector and a clean, touch-sensitive set of switchgear.
The instrument cluster has an analogue rev counter set in the middle of two digital screens that you can configure to show up everything from the navigation, through what’s playing on the radio to performance statistics.
The huge multimedia screen looks daunting at first to use but is quick to get to grips with.
The Parkers Verdict
The first Cayenne was the car that changed Porsche’s fortunes, accounting for a massive amount of sales and effectively rescuing it from a sad demise.
This third-generation model is arguably more generic than ever, but at the same time will appeal to even more buyers – especially when the engine range is fleshed out to include some cheaper-to-run options.
The previous car was still among the class-leaders, and this Cayenne pushes the envelope further still.