• Fri. May 19th, 2023

Porsche Cayenne Turbo: price, specifications, drive impressions

ByGurinderbir Singh

May 16, 2023

This is a better Cayenne, but it’s not a new one.

In a business-as-usual world an all-new version is what Porsche would be revealing about now. Instead, the company is extending the shelf-life of the Cayenne that first went into production in 2017.

Michael Schätzle, the executive in charge of the Cayenne product line, says it’s “one of the most extensive product upgrades in Porsche’s history”. While changes to the big SUV’s exterior design are minimal, there are big improvements elsewhere.

As well as a thoroughly redesigned interior, there are major upgrades to the Cayenne’s suspension and the electric tech of the plug-in hybrid models, while the non-hybrid models make gains in both power and performance.

What’s behind Porsche’s refreshment-instead-of-replacement strategy? It’s simple. There’s no point spending big on a model that is, to be blunt about it, doomed.

This updated Cayenne will only last long enough to be replaced by the truly all-new Cayenne EV that will arrive in about 2025. From that time, until as late as 2030 in some markets, Porsche will sell both models side-by-side.

This explains why the only panels that change in the Cayenne update are the bonnet and front wings of both the SUV and SUV coupe-body styles, plus the tailgate of the SUV. The massive tools needed to stamp new panels are very costly.

The most changed model in the updated Cayenne line-up, for the moment at least, is the S. This mid-range variant moves to a twin-turbo 4.0-litre V8 instead of a twin-turbo 2.9-litre V6.

The Cayenne S will be priced from $181,000 when it arrives in Australia in about September, along with the cheapest Cayenne and Cayenne E-Hybrid plug-in hybrid. All three will be offered in both SUV and coupe body styles and all are more costly than before, by roughly $10,000.

Lovers of the sound of a great V8 will find a lot to like about the exhaust pipe tunes played by the updated Cayenne S.

The example road tested at Porsche’s international presentation of the updated Cayenne in the Austrian Alps sounded magnificent. It was equipped with an optional sports exhaust system, along with pretty much every other available option.

The beefy bass soundtrack is loudest in Sports Plus driving mode, which opens extra valves in the mufflers full-time, and sharpens the shifting of the all-wheel-drive Cayenne S’s eight-speed auto.

In go-fast mode, the S feels quick and eager. Sports Plus also firms the suspension, making this high and heavy Porsche truly agile. This was always a Cayenne trademark.

Porsche’s upgrades to the suspension include new shock absorbers, with separate valves to control the way they compress and extend. These are fitted in combination with both the steel-spring and air-spring suspension set ups.

The big benefit is felt in everyday-driving Normal mode. Ride comfort is better than before. The way the Cayenne S irons bumps flat is truly impressive.

This is a change customers wanted. “We are always placed as the sporty SUV, but our customers don’t necessarily want to drive sporty all day,” says Cayenne product manager Pascal Ackermann. “There is also a demand for a comfortable ride.”

With a stubby gear lever sprouting from its dashboard, the updated Cayenne’s new interior mimics the layout of the company’s Taycan EV. Shifting the selector has also created space in the centre tunnel, and Porsche’s designers have used it well.

There’s now an easy-to-get-at phone tray with 15W inductive charging power ahead of the heating and ventilation controls on the centre console. Previously, the phone charger was buried at the bottom of the lidded compartment between the Cayenne’s front seats.

Other dash redesign highlights are a very crisp digital instrument display and the option of an extra 10.9-inch screen in front of the passenger. It’s covered by a special film that obscures it from the driver, so the passenger can stream video on the go.

The value of the changes made to the Cayenne S add up. It’s more comfortable, yet doesn’t sacrifice its handling prowess. The interior is more user-friendly than ever. There’s more performance, plus a stirring soundtrack.

Though not truly new, the updated Cayenne definitely is better in ways that customers will appreciate.


PRICE $181,000

ENGINE 4.0-litre V8 biturbo; 349kW and 600Nm

THIRST 13.4L/100km

0-100KM/H 4.7 secs

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