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Porsche Cayenne Coupe review: is the ‘base-spec’ quick enough?

£62,129 when new

Car specifications

Budget
£62,129
Brake horsepower
340bhp
0–62 mph
6.00s
CO2
215g/km
Max speed
150Mph
Insurance Group
45E

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What’s this?

A contradiction. It’s the humblest Porsche Cayenne Coupe. Not the Cayenne S Coupe, nor the Cayenne Turbo S Coupe e-Hybrid Coupe S Turbo-ey-turbo S thingy.

Just Cayenne Coupe. Sportiest Cayenne bodystyle (20mm lower, 18mm wider at the rear, and £5,000 pricier), with the weediest powertrain.

So it’s all show and no go?

Is it even that showy? Sure, Lava Orange paintwork and 22-inch rims (both fitted to the test car at vast expense) don’t exactly melt the Cayenne into the scenery, but the raw bodywork handles the conversion from family SUV to needless, wannabe-coupe miles better than the risible BMW X6 or hideous Mercedes GLE Coupe. This just looks like a bigger Macan. Which is fine.

It’s not that much less practical either. The rear seats are slung lower than in the normal Cayenne, so there’s no notable headroom sacrifice. The boot’s shrunken, but flip the seats down and there’s still enough room for a full size mountain bike. With both wheels attached. I tried it, it fitted.

Porsche may have been tardy to the coupe-SUV trend – not that we’re complaining, take all the time you need – but it’s turned up late and built the least annoying one.

In fact, the only bugbear courtesy of the squatter bodywork is the letterbox rear window, and dreadful over-shoulder visibility. Inevitably, there are many cameras on the options list to help paper over that common-sense chasm.

You’ve avoided the question.

Getting there, promise. Anyway, the Cayenne Coupe starts at £62,129 and now Porsche is a diesel-free company, the basic engine is a 3.0-litre, single-turbo V6 petrol. As this is a car from the VW Empire, it’s an engine you can come across in the Panamera, and in the old (pre-diesel) Audi S4 and S5. Confusingly, it’s also in the smaller Macan S, with a bit more power.

Anyway, it eventually develops 335bhp if you’re prepared to rev it out to 5,300rpm, and it’ll carry on making 335bhp all the way to 6,400rpm.

If you can’t be bothered, maximum torque lands almost immediately after setting off: 1,340rpm, in fact, and hangs on in there until 5,300rpm. That’s a colossal torque band – without colossal torque. You make do with just 332lb ft.

Sounds perfectly healthy to me…

Hmm. 335bhp and 332lb ft is a decent wodge of poke (all technical terms) when you’re talking about, say, a modern hot hatch, or a small sports saloon.

But this car weighs, before options, 2050kg. I’m prepared to bet that the test car, with its super-deluxe electric seats, monster wheels, motorised soft close door latches and height-adjustable air suspension was a bit weightier still. And that flab smothers the power.

So it’s a quick-looking car that’s slow?

It’s not slow. That’d be harsh on a machine that, I do believe, can indeed achieve 0-62mph in 6.0 seconds, and go on to 150mph.

It’s just the sheer effort required to get the thing to hurry up. Until driving this Cayenne, I’d never found a reason for the Sport Chrono pack’s ‘Sport Response’ boost button to exist, beyond marketing codswallop. In this, it’s actually handy to prime the motor and gearbox for max-attack, just to make sliproads less dicey.

And there’s a noise issue. Sans a sports exhaust, this V6 sounds reedy. It’s not enjoying being worked hard.

So no, not ‘slow’. But it’ll get hot and bothered if you drive it with the gusto usually associated with the owners of expensive German coupe-esque SUVs. The Garys and Vinces of The Outside Lane will not be impressed if they get mugged by a Hyundai i30N.

Bet it’s rubbish at corners then?

Here’s the freakish thing – and what makes the underwhelming motor more of an anchor – it ain’t. It’s sensational. Sure, sporty 4x4s are nothing new now, but a Cayenne is still a bit of a palette cleaner when it comes to this odd little cul-de-sac of cars.

In an ideal world, we’d all drive a Ford Fiesta every month to remind ourselves how good a simple supermini can be, then a Lotus Elise to rediscover true balance and steering feel, and lastly a 2019 Porsche Cayenne to marvel at what clever Germans can do with two-tonne-plus SUVs. It’s incredible.

Does it feel more sorted than a normal Cayenne?

Don’t be ridiculous. The centre of gravity is minutely lower, the Coupe’s actually a touch heavier than a normal Cayenne and the track width is a smidge fatter. Anyone who claims they can tell the Coupe is a night-and-day, more-talented B-road blaster than a regular Cayenne needs to have a word with themselves.

That said, what a machine. I ran out of bravery before I discovered what cornering speeds the front axle isn’t game for. The test car did without 48-volt anti-roll bars and rear-wheel steering, and depending on Porsche’s air suspension for its handling sports, and cor blimey was it good enough. It’s mighty. It’d be a weapon with more power. It’s so agile – so much so I’d have put a fiver on the car being fitted with rear-wheel steering. And lost it.

It doesn’t roll, it doesn’t pitch, and even with donk rimz fitted, it rides better than an F-Pace on 20s. The wheel control is sublime. I know, nerdy comment. But it’s a nerdy car. Be nice to nerds. Only people with enormously powerful brains can dream up cars that hide their size and weight this well.

Until they’re going in a straight line, at least. Anything else?

The steering doesn’t need to be so heavy at town speed, but whether you’re mooching or marching on, the gearbox is sensational. Utterly world-class. The cabin feels more expensive than a Bentley Bentayga’s, because there’s less plastic on show. Whoops.

Definitely spec the 2+1 rear seat – it’s a no cost option that makes this bulky behemoth much easier to justify. And definitely talk yourself into the £74k Cayenne S Coupe. Not just because this base car only did 21mpg, so it’s hardly cheap’n’cheerful to run.

The ‘S’ means 434bhp and 406lb ft, and this car deserves it.

6/10

2995cc turbo V6, 332bhp, 335lb ft
8spd DCT, AWD
21.9mpg, 212g/km CO2
0-62mph in 6.0sec, 150mph
2050kg

What do you think?

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