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Long-term review

Porsche Cayenne S - long-term review

£88,100 base / as tested £113,484 / PCM £1,057
Published: 01 Apr 2024

How does the Porsche Cayenne S cope on a long distance roadtrip?

Achtung! When rigging a Porsche Cayenne S Coupe for camera tracking duties, beware the adaptive rear wing. Given you can’t see said wing when the car’s stationary, it’s an easy mistake to make as this natty actuated aero flap is hidden away until you breach 56mph, extending by 135mm to increase downforce on the rear axle, perfect for when you’re hooning about the track with your kids in tow. Or peacocking around town… if you extend it with a press of a button in the touchscreen.

I’d borrowed Rowan’s Cayenne to assist on a photo and video shoot, and it was only some last-minute quick thinking that saved videographer Jordan’s kit from turning from a camera into an insurance claim in an instant. But the shoot was a great all-round test for the Cayenne given it involved a round trip of just shy of 1,000 miles from my south west London home to Scotland.

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That pesky wing isn’t something you have to worry about with the regular shaped Cayenne, which makes do without a secondary wing in favour of a boxier shape, more cabin space and a bigger boot. And when you have a videographer and photographer plus all their kit in in tow, that extra 144 litres luggage space (554 plays 698 litres Coupe versus SUV) would’ve undoubtedly come in handy.

That aside, our Cayenne proved supremely capable at munching away motorway miles and a comfortable place to whittle away the hours, for both front and rear passengers. Indeed, Porsche has lowered the back seats by 30mm to compensate for the 20mm lower roofline to maximise headroom, and there were no complaints from our six-foot passengers. There are few better than Porsche when it comes to cabin fundamentals in my mind, but it’s not perfect...

Take the secondary infotainment display, introduced as part of the mid-life facelift, that sits in front of the passenger. Nice idea, but does anyone actually use it? We certainly didn’t. In fact, Rowan reports he’s had a few passengers demand to turn it off as it makes them feel sick. Then there’s the glossy centre panel, which looks smart, but is very susceptible to dust, fingerprints and glare. The sliding central armrest is annoying too, given its tendency to slide into any coffees/teas/other beverages in the cupholders. Better keep a cloth handy is all we can say.  Oh, and we’ve just clicked over 4k miles and the driver’s seat side bolster is already starting to wear. Hmm.

However, there’s one big reason above all else that for a long-distance trip like this, the Cayenne S is very much not the best car for the job. Boy oh boy is its 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 thirsty, with the trip computer averaging 26.5mpg, and our fuel costs totalling nearly £350. And that’s avoiding the obscenely expensive motorway service stations, too. Over the course of 4,000 miles our average MPG is a paltry 20. It gets worse around town, where you can see numbers as low as 11mpg.

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Compare that to the Cayenne E-Hybrid (priced from £81,900 in Coupe guise), which pairs a 3.0-litre turbocharged V6 and electric motor for a healthy 464bhp and up to 46 miles of e-range, and in my experience returned 60mpg without even trying. On a once in a blue moon trip like this you’re looking at over half the fuel cost, and for most day-to-day trips likely significantly more if you keep the battery topped up. What’s to tempt buyers here?

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