2018 Porsche Cayenne Review

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2018 Porsche Cayenne Overview

It seems like all the premium luxury and performance automakers are building an SUV these days, and you can thank the success of the Porsche Cayenne for that. The model has been a huge hit for Porsche since it debuted 15 years ago and brought the company the much-needed funds that allow it to keep building the GT3s and 911 Rs enthusiasts love so much. The current second-generation Cayenne has been around since the 2011 model year, and 2018 may very well be the last year before a big redesign, but Porsche has kept the Cayenne up to date with cutting-edge technology and even a hybrid model. The 2018 Cayenne is available in Base, S, GTS, S E-Hybrid, Turbo, and Turbo S trims, and while the Cayenne technically starts at a bit over 60 grand, it’s easy to spend well over six figures on one.

The Cayenne is an SUV, but it wouldn’t be a Porsche without being sporty, and with the right engine the Cayenne is faster in a straight line than many proper sports cars and muscle cars. Even the base model gets a 300-hp 3.6-liter V6, and while 0-60 mph in 7.3 seconds isn’t impressive by Porsche standards, it’s objectively quick for this type of vehicle. Stepping up to the Cayenne S gets you a turbocharged version of the 3.6-liter V6 with 420 hp and 406 lb-ft of torque, and its 0-60 time drops to 5.1 seconds. The GTS model adds an extra 20 hp. The Cayenne S E-Hybrid, meanwhile, takes a 3.0-liter supercharged V6 and combines it with a battery and electric motors for a combined system output of 416 hp and 435 lb-ft of torque. On electric power alone, the hybrid Cayenne can travel up to 78 mph and for up to 14 miles. It will also do 0-60 mph just a third of a second slower than the GTS model.

Stepping up to a Cayenne Turbo model gets you into serious performance territory. Both Turbo and Turbo S models get a 4.8-liter V8, but the Turbo puts out 520 hp, while the Turbo S puts out 570. They will both do 0-60 in about 4 seconds. All Cayenne models come with an 8-speed automatic and all-wheel drive (AWD). As for fuel economy, those numbers aren’t as impressive. Normally aspirated models barely crack 20 mpg combined, while Cayenne Turbo models get just 14 mpg city/21 highway/17 combined. Even the Cayenne S E-Hybrid gets just 22 combined.

Depending on how you look at it, the Cayenne’s handling may or may not be surprising. For a fairly big SUV, it’s surprisingly sharp and responsive, but it all makes sense when you remember that this is a Porsche and that of course this is going to be an agile automobile, even if most Cayenne buyers never drive anywhere near the limit. The Cayenne comes with Porsche’s Dynamic Chassis Control system, which has active anti-roll bars on each axle, and a brake-based torque vectoring system further improves handling. Most Cayenne drivers are just as unlikely to go off-roading as they are to do power slides, but the Porsche Traction Management system features driving modes for snow, sand, mud, and rocks. An air suspension is an optional extra that can raise or lower the car slightly as well as provide a generally smoother ride.

Inside the Cayenne, one of the more striking things (especially at night) is the abundance of lights and buttons, which some may find cool and others may find off-putting. Standard features include power front seats, a power rear hatch, dual-zone climate control, a 7.0-inch touchscreen, and leather seats. Sport seats are optional on all models but standard on the GTS and Turbo/Turbo S. Extras include a sunroof, backseat entertainment system, and premium audio. Many of the interior surfaces can also be trimmed in leather. Porsche’s popular Sport Chrono package is also available on the Cayenne. More often seen on Porsche’s more properly sporty models, the Sport Chrono package comes with a dash-mounted clock, launch control, and performance info pages on the display screen. Another option is the Porsche Connect Plus package, which adds a navigation system and Apple CarPlay compatibility.

The Cayenne hasn’t been crash tested given its relatively high price, but available safety equipment includes forward-collision warning, lane-departure warning, adaptive cruise control, adaptive headlights, a surround-view camera, and hill-descent control.

Updated

Since 2012, Andrew Newton has been writing about cars both old and new. Andrew has been an associate editor at Sport Car Digest as well as a contributor to sites like BoldRide and JamesEdition. He was also the Education Manager at the Larz Anderson Auto Museum in Brookline, MA before becoming the Auction Editor at Hagerty Classic Car Insurance. He currently splits his time behind the wheel between his NA Miata, 1994 Corvette, and Triumph TR6.

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