Performance & drive
What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is
Engine, 0-60mph and gearbox
There’s no such thing as a slow Porsche Cayenne. Even the entry-level version, with its 335bhp turbocharged 3.0-litre V6 engine, accelerates from 0-62mph in just 6.2sec and pulls strongly from low engine speeds. It begins to feel a little strained at the top of the rev range, though, so we'd step up to the Cayenne S. Its engine may be slightly smaller, at 2.9 litres, but its extra turbo gives it more grunt, making it a second quicker to 60mph, while also making it more flexible and happier to be revved.
The Cayenne E-Hybrid is quicker even than the S – and most hot hatchbacks, for that matter – because it combines the 3.0-litre petrol V6 of the standard Cayenne with the added zip of an electric motor. It's one of the quickest plug-in hybrid SUVs on sale, bettering the pace of premium rivals such as the Volvo XC90 T8 and Range Rover Sport P400e, while managing a real-world electric-only range – on a fully juiced-up battery – of around 18 miles.
Suspension and ride comfort
The standard Cayenne, E-Hybrid, GTS and S models have steel springs as standard. We wouldn’t go as far as to say it's uncomfortable, but potholes and expansion joints are tackled with a noticeable thump and it lacks the pliancy of the closely related Audi Q7.
We’d recommend ordering the optional air suspension, which is standard on the range-topping Turbo and Turbo S E-Hybrid. In Comfort mode the ride remains relatively firm but never crashes or bangs like the standard steel set-up does. In fact, you’ll hear the impacts more than you feel them – a common trait of most air suspension set-ups. Any undulations are dealt with quickly and without the excess body movement that you so often find in tall SUVs.
Whichever Cayenne you choose, cornering grip levels are very high. When pushing really hard you’ll feel the nose slip first, you can neutralise this with a bit of added power. If you’re really committed, you can even make the rear tyres slide. All Cayennes should manage most off-roading that’s asked of them, too, but if you’re planning to venture farther off the black stuff, buy a Range Rover Sport instead.