Each week our team of experienced senior road testers pick out a new model from the world of innovative, premium and performance badges, and put it through its paces. This week, it’s the Porsche Cayenne Coupé.
It used to be a case of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”, but endless tinkering with the traditional, popular SUV model has resulted in more and more successful (in terms of profit) niches for performance-based manufacturers in the last five years. And so here is the Cayenne Coupé, out there fighting its corner against the BMW X6, Mercedes GLE Coupé and so on.
It's a new variant to market. The Cayenne has been with us since 2002 – that’s almost 20 years, which is mind boggling. Obviously brand purists hated its arrival, and many continue to sneer, but Porsche’s SUV family, now including the smaller Macan, sells many more units than the sports car range ever has. There’s a powertrain for every SUV fan out there now – petrol, diesel, hybrid and turbo versions, and the Cayenne Coupé adds a touch of glamour to a boxy range.
Our test car came in lava orange – not a colour for wallflowers but a fantastic hue in our opinion. The sloping roof line has a top spoiler and active rear spoiler, black sports exhaust system and tinted LED taillights. Standard features inside include a central analogue rev counter, instrument cluster comprised of two digital displays, powered tailgate, four cup holders, panoramic sun roof, Apple CarPlay, 10-speaker sound system, two USB charging ports up front and two in the rear, reversing camera and front parking sensors, cruise control and brake assist. Options on our car included adaptive air suspension, rear-axle steering, 22-inch wheels, head-up display, seat heating wheel and an Alcantara roof lining.
Under the bonnet is a 3.0-litre, twin-turbo V6 petrol engine producing 340 horsepower and 450Nm torque, mated to Porsche's Tiptronic S eight-speed auto. The 0-62mph sprint finishes in six seconds. Acceleration is creamy rather than urgent, which suits the SUV nature of the beast, but with that more dynamic rear styling you get lulled into a sense of sportiness that doesn’t really exist. Still, this is a fine premium experience in a practical family car – the Cayenne always feels generous in space inside, and has that hard-nosed, pinned-down drive shared by all Porsches, no matter the model.
Go large or go home when it comes to luxury SUVs, in our opinion, and the Cayenne Coupé fulfils that sense of passionate abandon known to Porsche enthusiasts everywhere. It’s a great, great looking thing that delivers almost the entire Porsche experience bar the overt acceleration of a 911 or Taycan, but the rest – well weighted steering, firm chassis, quality engineering – is all there in spades. For those who don't believe the arrival of four seats means the end of spirited driving, this is a great choice.