The Porsche Cayenne is all-new this year with a choice of four powertrains, including a hybrid. This isn’t an SUV that simply pretends to be a performance vehicle. This is a Porsche, so they mean it when they say it’s designed to provide the same kind of exhilarating performance you’ll find in a sports car.
The base engine in the Cayenne is a 3.0-liter turbocharged V6 with 335 horsepower and 332 lb-ft of torque while the Cayenne S gets a 2.9-liter twin-turbo V6 with 434 horsepower and 405 lb-ft of torque. Not enough power for you? Porsche has you covered.
The Cayenne Turbo sits at the top of the lineup. It has a 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 with 541 horsepower and 567 lb-ft of torque. That should be more than enough to keep even the most hardcore performance driver happy.
Those who want a more fuel-efficient option have the Cayenne E-Hybrid. This is a plug-in hybrid that adds an electric motor to the 3.0-liter engine for a combined 455 system horsepower and 516 lb-ft of torque. No matter which Cayenne you decide to park in your driveway, it packs plenty of performance.
A few new fancy features let you take full advantage of the Cayenne’s performance chops. These include Porsche Surface Coated Brakes (PSCB), which make their world premiere on the Cayenne. They have a cast-iron disc and a tungsten-carbide coating to increase friction and reduce break dust and wear.
Also new to the Cayenne is rear-axle steering, something already used in both the 911 and Panamera. At low speeds, the rear wheels steer in the opposite direction of the front wheels, which creates a smaller turning radius. This makes it easier to manage city streets and tight parking lots.
At high speeds, the rear wheels are steered in the same direction as the front wheels. This provides better handling for high speed maneuvering. Add in the optional air suspension to adjust the ride height to a variety of road conditions and the Cayenne is ready to handle whatever you throw at it with ease.
We had the chance to drive the base Cayenne equipped with the 3.0-liter engine. Despite being the baby engine of the lot, it’s no slouch. Even a light foot on the accelerator yields instant results. Accelerating hard on highway on-ramps will have you getting up to the speed of traffic with plenty of time to spare.
Once you’re on the highway, the Cayenne continues to be a performance-focused SUV with no trouble finding extra power for passing. Although SUVs don’t have a reputation for handling particularly well, the Cayenne prides itself on handling like a sports car.
Steering is tight and crisp requiring only minor adjustments from the driver. Even rough road surfaces won’t jostle the Cayenne. It’s a controlled and responsive ride that lets the driver enjoy the trip rather than struggling to keep control.
Inside, it has all the comfort and quality of a luxury car, but without the overtly cushy ride you’ll get in other brands. Remember, this is a performance vehicle. Porsche hits something of a middle ground with seating that’s comfortable for longer trips while still providing enough support for more spirited driving endeavors.
The front seats have noticeable bolstering without being so aggressive that those with larger proportions will be uncomfortable. Even back seat passengers get a touch of sports car styling. Rather than the usual flat bench seat, the rear seats in the Cayenne, which split-fold 40/20/40, have moderate bolstering to hold passengers in place.
There’s plenty of room for five passengers in the Cayenne along with ample room for cargo. Keep the rear sets up and there’s up to 27.2 cubic feet of space or fold them down for up to 60.3 cubic feet of cargo room. Whether it’s people, cargo, or a combination of the two, the Cayenne is up to the task.
Interior amenities include several optional audio systems. There’s a 14-speaker Bose surround sound system with SoundTrue technology for improved audio quality on compressed audio like MP3 files. An even more premium experience comes from a Burmester 3D surround sound system with 21 speakers, woofers, and tweeters.
The 2019 Porsche Cayenne is a true performance SUV with a luxurious and comfortable interior and pricing that starts at $65,700. That’s not inexpensive, but it keeps the base model of the Cayenne within reach for those in the market for a luxury vehicle.
The Cayenne S takes the price up to $82,900 while the E-Hybrid falls in the middle at $79,900. Sitting at the top of the trim range, the Cayenne Turbo is priced at $124,600. That’s a price that puts the top model over the budget of most buyers, but there’s still plenty of power and plenty to like about the base Cayenne.
The all-new 2019 Porsche Cayenne is now available nationwide.