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Car Review

Porsche Cayenne Coupe review

£70,300 - £154,000
710
Published: 22 May 2024
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Driving

What is it like to drive?

While the Coupe gets a wider track and different aero over a standard Cayenne, it also weighs a bit more, so any changes over its more practical sibling are probably only made clear by driving them both back-to-back. And very enthusiastically, at that. In short, this feels just like a Cayenne always has, which is to say a freakishly deft car for its size and easily one of the most driver-appeasing SUVs on sale.

With a big caveat. Quite a lot of the crucial tech that Porsche has deployed to tease such agility out of an oversized car is optional, with rear-wheel steering a frankly rude £1,325 extra. Without it, the Cayenne feels every bit of its two tonnes and enormous girth, but the way it tucks into turns and resists understeer with the RWS options box ticked is staggering.

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If you’re driving one of the quicker ones keenly you’ll need the much pricier carbon ceramic brakes, too. Without them you’ll be far too aware of each and every one of this car’s numerous kilos after only a few corners.

Which engine is best?

If you want to fully dig into the Cayenne Coupe’s lavish excess, you’ll need the top-spec Turbo E-Hybrid. A V8 just sounds and feels correct in a car of this heft and its heroic levels of torque (700lb ft from barely above tickover thanks to the e-boost) plus the overlaying of muscle car rumble is joyously childish in a car so broad-shouldered. If you want to experience the thuggish, occasionally oversteery nature the very best performance SUVs exhibit, the Turbo is undoubtedly the one to have.

Yep, it really will oversteer, but it’s a well-balanced, progressive car driven quickly and only begins to shake its hips if you go looking for it. Whether pottering along or pretending it’s a 959 Paris-Dakar, however, it remains the bona fide performance SUV when it comes to handling, even when carrying the 2.5-tonne timber of its hybrid system. So much so, we reckon the optional GT package is superfluous.

That’s probably the point: the riotous excess of answering a question no sensible person posed in the first place. Trying the Turbo with and without the pack, on road and track, we preferred the smoother reactions and broader remit of the ‘stock’ car, but there’s undeniable appeal to the sheer madness of the GT setup. It doesn’t exhibit the sheer character of its Turbo GT predecessor, and Porsche’s engineers admit they’re not directly replacing a car now killed off by European emissions regs; merely sharpening the hybrid that must play its role instead.

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And if I want something less crazed?

Of course, most buyers will shop further down the range. If you’re not a business user and can’t plug in at home then the Cayenne S – now back to a V8 with this facelift – offers a real sweet spot in the range. Otherwise the S E-Hybrid offers as much pace as you could ever realistically require while offering plush air suspension and the 39g/km CO2 emissions that’ll add up nicely as a company car.

Not least because its 56 miles of emissions-free driving is more useful than a number of rivals; the somewhat flawed Mercedes-AMG GLC63 offers just seven miles. It’s all thanks to an improved battery (up from 17.9 to 25.9kWh) and motor (up from 134 to 172bhp) with the Mk3’s facelift.

The 130kg battery isn’t actually any larger physically – the Cayenne remains on its existing platform – but more efficient cells have yielded a more useable fully electric range in the real world. It’ll now charge faster, too; under two and a half hours from flat to full on an 11kW charger. Allow an extra hour on a 7kW home wall box.

It's good, then?

It is. Across the engine range, the love that Porsche lavishes on every one of its cars is evident. The steering is absurdly communicative for a car of such scale. The brakes too are progressive and communicative in a way many owners may never fully appreciate, the pedal telling you so much about the grip underfoot as you heave into a turn. It’s especially impressive given the hybrids can now recuperate energy for longer, gaining regen right down to 1.2mph (where they previously stopped just shy of 9mph).

Alright, a purely ICE version will have sharper pedal response. And the brakes wilted with inadvertent speed when Porsche let us out on track, even in a carbon-ceramic equipped GT. But neither issue will be writ large during the real-world pottering that most SUVs succumb to.

Highlights from the range

the fastest

Turbo E-Hybrid 5dr Tiptronic S [GT Package]
  • 0-623.6s
  • CO2
  • BHP729.5
  • MPG
  • Price£154,000

the cheapest

5dr Tiptronic S [5 Seat]
  • 0-625.7s
  • CO2
  • BHP348.7
  • MPG
  • Price£70,300

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