Price from £55,965 Release date April 2018
Nobody likes being upstaged by a younger sibling, but that has been the fate of the Porsche Cayenne SUV ever since the smaller and better-looking Macan was introduced in 2014.
Now, though, Porsche has revealed a new Cayenne. And while the styling is an evolution of what we're familiar with, it clothes a car that combines improved performance, practicality and efficiency with a host of new technology designed to enhance the driving experience and connectivity.
2018 Porsche Cayenne engines
Initially, there are two newly developed V6 petrol engines to choose from: a 335bhp 3.0-litre with a single turbocharger and a twin-turbo 2.9-litre that produces 434bhp. The first model is simply badged as the Cayenne, while the second is the Cayenne S. Both are more powerful than their predecessors – by 39bhp and 20bhp respectively.
When equipped with the optional Sport Chrono Package, which includes a form of launch control that helps you accelerate as quickly as possible from a standing start, the regular Cayenne can reach 0-62mph in 5.9sec (compared with 6.2sec without it). The Cayenne S, meanwhile, can hit 62mph in 4.9sec when fitted with the Sport Chrono Package or 5.2sec if you don't tick this box on the options list.
Also helping performance is a new eight-speed automatic gearbox that shifts more quickly than the old auto 'box and has sportier ratios in the lower gears. At the same time, a taller top gear keeps the revs down on the motorway and boosts fuel consumption and refinement.
Numerous additional Cayenne variants will be introduced later, including replacements for the current S Diesel, S E-Hybrid and Turbo models.
2018 Porsche Cayenne technology
As before, every Cayenne is equipped with four-wheel drive, but this is now combined with four off-road driving modes designed to help you tackle different conditions: mud, gravel, sand and rocks.
LED headlights are also standard across the range, while the optional Porsche Dynamic Light System Plus brings 84 individually activated light-emitting diodes to allow cornering lights, a high beam that doesn't dazzle oncoming traffic and adaptive road sign glare control.
Other options available include rear-wheel steering to improve high-speed agility and the turning circle, and cast-iron brake discs coated with a tungsten-carbide layer that increases friction – and therefore stopping power – while reducing wear.
The suspension has been redesigned, too, and versions with 19in wheels or above now have wider rear tyres than fronts, much like the 911 sports car, to improve cornering stability.
2018 Porsche Cayenne interior
Move inside and the new Cayenne is similar to the latest Panamera luxury car, which means Porsche has moved many of the controls to a touch-sensitive panel between the front seats. This set-up looks great but, in the Panamera, it can prove problematic to use while driving, because you often have to look down to see what you’re prodding.
The touchscreen infotainment system is far more impressive, with large icons that you can hit accurately even on the move. The screen has a high resolution, too, and is free from lag; it’s one of the best touchscreen systems out there.
The systems that can be accessed through the screen include satellite navigation with real-time traffic information and Porsche Connect Plus, which allows access to online services and the internet. Meanwhile, options include Night Vision Assist with a thermal imaging camera.
The new Cayenne is unlikely to feel much more spacious than its predecessor, because the distance between the front and rear axles is unchanged. However, the overall length of the car has grown, which has helped give the car a 770-litre boot – the same as our 2017 Luxury SUV of the Year, the Audi Q7, and 100 litres up on the outgoing Cayenne's.
2018 Porsche Cayenne pricing
A regular Cayenne with no options will cost you £55,965, while the Cayenne S is priced from £68,330 – a £3791 increase on the outgoing model. But then you do get more standard equipment, including larger wheels, front and rear parking sensors, an LTE telephone connection with Wi-fi hotspot and automatic emergency braking with anticipatory pedestrian protection.
The order books are open now, although UK deliveries won't begin until next April.
The best luxury SUVs on sale today
The new Porsche Cayenne is entering a crowded marketplace, where the best models combine their elevated driving positions and rugged looks with a cosseting ride, punchy performance and the sort of refinement that makes long journeys effortless. So, what are the top 10 luxury SUVs currently on sale – and which models are best avoided?
10. Lexus RX
Our favourite RX combines a V6 petrol engine with electric motors for low emissions, so it makes a lot of sense as a company car. Plus, it's comfortable and easy to drive. Just don't expect it to be as quiet or practical as the very best luxury SUVs.
Our pick: 450h Luxury
The outgoing Cayenne is the sort of car you buy with your heart, because it's great to drive. Several rivals are more practical and better equipped, but it remains a hugely desirable option.
Our pick: Diesel S
8. BMW X5
BMW's original X5 was one of the first road-focused 4x4s and this third-generation model sticks closely to that car's winning formula. It offers space for the family and a commanding driving position, and it's one of the best-handling cars of its kind.
Our pick: xDrive25d SE
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