Porsche Cayenne Coupe review

Category: Sports SUV

Section: Performance & drive

Available fuel types:hybrid, petrol
Available colours:
Porsche Cayenne Coupe rear
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RRP from£64,359

Performance & drive

What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is

Engine, 0-60mph and gearbox

The engine line-up mirrors the regular Cayenne's, with no noticeable difference in performance between the two body styles. And all versions are quick: even the entry-level turbocharged 3.0-litre V6 petrol engine produces 335bhp and accelerates from 0-62-mph in six seconds. That said, it’s worth upgrading to the Cayenne S if it’s within budget; its V6 may be slightly smaller (2.9 litres), but an extra turbo pushes it to 434bhp, so it pulls harder from low revs and is a second quicker to 62mph.

The Cayenne E-Hybrid is even faster. It bolsters the 3.0-litre V6 petrol from the standard Cayenne with added zip from an electric motor. In fact, it's one of the fastest plug-in hybrid SUVs on sale, bettering the pace of rivals such as the Range Rover Sport P400e and Volvo XC90 T8, while managing a real-world, electric-only range – on a fully juiced-up battery – of around 18 miles.

Then there’s the Cayenne Coupe GTS, which straddles the fine line between sensible SUV and bonkers sports SUV. It uses a 454bhp 4.0-litre twin-turbocharged V8 petrol that’s more than powerful enough to beat most rivals away from the traffic lights. If you want the full-fat sports SUV experience, though, the Turbo models are the ones to look at.

The regular Turbo's even more powerful V8 produces the kind of performance that would have been the preserve of supercars a few short years ago. There’s enough pace to overtake in the blink of an eye, but try to keep the other eye focused on your speed; it'll reach any legal limit far faster than you might expect. The Turbo S E-Hybrid is quicker still, but boasts environmental credentials such as an electric-only range that's similar to the E-Hybrid.  

Suspension and ride comfort

Most Cayenne Coupes come with adaptive suspension as standard (Porsche calls this PASM if you're about to decode the brochure). In its most compliant mode it's softer than you might expect, but that doesn’t prevent the car from thumping over potholes and expansion joints. We wouldn’t go as far as to say it's uncomfortable, but it lacks the plush pliancy that other expensive SUVs provide – the Range Rover Velar or Audi Q8, for instance.

Therefore, we recommend the optional air suspension (standard on the range-topping Turbo and Turbo S E-Hybrid models). The ride still isn't the best in class, but it never crashes or jars. In fact, you'll hear the impacts more than you'll feel them – a common trait of air suspension.

Another advantage of choosing air suspension is that you don't experience as much float or wallow, even at high speeds. Any undulations are dealt with quickly and without the excess body movements that you so often find in tall SUVs.

Porsche Cayenne Coupe rear

Handling

All of the Cayenne Coupes steer sweetly, but the lighter V6 models, plus the V8 GTS and Turbo models, steer the best. Their steering weights up beautifully through turns and feels perfectly geared, gifting the Cayenne Coupe a precision and fluidity that belies its bulk.

That said, you should consider adding the air suspension (standard on the Turbo and Turbo S E-Hybrid) to maximise the car's agility. Even in Comfort mode it keeps body movements tight, and there are sportier modes to choose from if you wish, which make this a far better driver's car than any Range Rover Sport or Velar. There’s always loads of grip, but ultimately you’ll feel it run wide at the front first. You can neutralise this by adding a bit more power, and it’s even possible to make the rear tyres slide playfully if you’re feeling fully committed.

For the nimblest Cayenne Coupe avoid the E-Hybrid and Turbo S E-Hybrid models – their extra weight (mainly from the batteries), compared with our favourite V6 S or even the Turbo, makes them feel way more cumbersome. You might also want to consider adding four-wheel steering, which brings even greater agility in low-speed corners and improves high-speed stability.

Noise and vibration

All the engines are smooth under normal use, including the creamy V6's found in the entry-level model, the E-Hybrid (when its petrol engine is running) and the S. The S is a little louder, but in an appealingly sporty way, while the GTS, Turbo and Turbo S E-Hybrid deliver a smile-inducing, purposeful V8 rumble. In the case of the V8 engine, equally as impressive as its ability to deliver grin-inducing performance is its ability to settle into a near-silent background hum when you’re cruising.

Unsurprisingly, both hybrids are all but silent when running in electric-only mode, but their brakes disappoint. They stop you effectively, but in the process of them recouping energy – by recharging the battery pack as you press them to slow down – the pedal action feels inconsistent and horribly grabby, especially in slow-moving traffic. There are no such issue in the regular models, which offer a very progressive middle pedal that you can meter perfectly.

All models come with an eight-speed automatic gearbox that glides between ratios. Wind noise is well contained, but the typically big tyres fitted to the Cayenne Coupe generate a bit of road noise compared with its quietest rivals, such as the Audi Q8.

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