The first-generation Porsche Cayenne proved that it is doable to seamlessly inject a complete lot of sports-car components right into a utility automobile. It wasn’t the primary sporty luxurious SUV to hit the market, but it surely instantly rose to the highest of its discipline.Now, in its third era, Porsche has had time to hone the Cayenne even additional, and the middle-child Cayenne S is a superb illustration of the German automaker’s potential to make a household automobile enjoyable. It may go a bit of too arduous within the paint at instances, however on the entire, the newest iteration of Cayenne is handily the automaker’s greatest.Simple appears to be like outdoors, usable area insideThe Cayenne follows a reasonably easy aesthetic method: Take a sport utility automobile and make it appear to be a Porsche. The third-generation Cayenne S is mighty modern, bringing its look nearer in keeping with different new P-cars just like the refreshed Macan and the 992-generation 911. What I like essentially the most is that it is not a try-hard: It’s not riddled with advanced traces or flashy protrusions. The new taillights are most likely my favourite half, stretching throughout the liftgate, encompassing the Porsche emblem inside.
My tester’s solely deviation from the usual Cayenne S is a $3,830 set of 21-inch alloy wheels, that are required to cowl the upgraded brakes I’ll speak about in a bit, and so they fill the wheel wells properly with out forcing the 285/40ZR21 Pirelli P-Zero summer time tires to scale back the sidewalls right down to rubber bands, though they’re nonetheless fairly skinny.
The inside introduces a bit of extra visible complexity, but it surely’s not overwrought. The dashboard is devoid of pointless contours, and due to my tester’s $3,750 leather-based inside choice, each place my hand lands is tender and expensive-feeling. The dashboard stays low, which is sweet, as a result of the seating place is equally low, borrowing from the sports-car playbook right here. Yet, even feeling a bit of extra tucked-in than normal behind the wheel of the Cayenne, the tall glass on each facet gives appropriate visibility, together with blind-spot protection.Nice and refined.
The normal seats are supportive with out being so tight that it makes some occupants uncomfortable, and within the second row, there’s loads of each legroom and headroom, even for taller passengers. The Cayenne’s cargo area is on the low finish of the spectrum, with its 21.7-cubic-foot storage space lagging behind the newest BMW X5 (33.9 cubic toes) and Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class (29.1 cubic toes), but it surely’s greater than ample for a weekend household getaway — or, in my case, a few dozen luggage of mulch.My favourite a part of the inside is the middle console, but it surely’s additionally the half I’ve the most important gripe with. While hiding all of the operate buttons behind a single pane of glass undoubtedly appears to be like cool, the issues you do not pay for are nonetheless below there, and so they’re very obvious with a little bit of direct mild. Only Porsche might determine a method to poor-shame individuals shopping for an $80,000 automotive. The glass additionally picks up smudges, however that is a difficulty with most screens in most automobiles nowadays. I additionally appreciated the middle console’s further buttons for shortly leaping to numerous corners of the Porsche Communication Management infotainment system.Bona fide hustlerEvery four-door S mannequin Porsche makes wields the identical engine: a 2.9-liter, twin-turbocharged V6. In the Cayenne S, it is good for 434 horsepower and 406 pound-feet of torque. I’m a giant fan of this engine, as there’s loads of out there torque at decrease rpms and it has no drawback screaming its method to redline time and again. Well, it does not actually scream — it is really on the quiet facet — however that is nothing Porsche’s optionally available sports activities exhaust cannot treatment, for a worth.The eight-speed automated transmission is mostly fault-free, working its method up by means of the gears with little drama within the cabin. It is, nevertheless, a bit of janky when the automobile slows to a cease, leaping a bit of bit on downshifts between third, second and first gears.
Stopping easily is an issue for me on this tester, and never simply due to the transmission. This Cayenne comes outfitted with the $3,490 Porsche Surface Coated Brake choice, which acts as a form of center floor between normal iron brakes and carbon-ceramics. The tungsten carbide coating on the rotors produces a novel (and funky) mirror end as they put on in, however they’re grippy, making modulation of the brake pedal surprisingly tough. If you ever have to cease in a rush, these boys will get the job completed, however for those who prioritize smoothness, I feel you are higher off with the usual iron setup.Most SUVs are fast to tout their excessive seating place, however not the Cayenne.
The the rest of the automotive’s driving traits may be summed up as sporty, however not annoyingly so. My tester rocks normal adaptive dampers, and whereas air suspension is an choice, I discovered the de facto equipment greater than advantageous, despite the fact that it remained on the stiff facet, little doubt helped by the not-too-thick tires. Potholes are a small concern, however a lot of the tough stuff stayed outdoors the cabin. The steering was advantageous, feeling responsive though missing suggestions.
The Cayenne does include a number of driving modes, together with an Individual setting that permits you to choose and select from a couple of totally different parameters. Considering the automotive’s sort-of-anxious default state, I discover that leaving every thing in Normal is one of the simplest ways to go. Sometimes, I can get away with Sport or Sport+ on the road, however then the engine tends to hold at greater revs too usually for my style. If I might get a sportier powertrain setting the place the tachometer needle did not dwell at 3,000 rpm on the road, that might be nice. Using the shift paddles behind the wheels provides some extra character, however they’re tiring to make use of day in and time out.The EPA charges the Cayenne S at 18 miles per gallon metropolis and 23 mpg freeway. I discovered freeway gasoline financial system higher than anticipated at round 25 mpg, however my metropolis mileage was rather less scorching, hovering round 15 mpg.PCM will get higher and higherThe new Cayenne packs the newest era of the corporate’s PCM infotainment system. I’m an enormous fan of its responsiveness and the way shortly it boots after beginning the automotive. The house display is mighty succesful, providing a number of configurable multi-tile layouts to show essentially the most pertinent data a driver can conjure up.Some components of the system, just like the automobile menu, provide up so many submenus that it would seem dense, but it surely does not take lengthy to get used to it. There’s a everlasting navigation bar on the left facet, with some redundant buttons on the middle console for fast swaps between numerous pages. Apple CarPlay is right here, however Android Auto stays a notable omission. I do like the truth that the Cayenne S’ normal tools consists of two USB ports and one 12-volt outlet in every row.PCM’s configurable house display gives nearly each bit of knowledge a driver may want.
The onslaught of display works its method into the motive force’s speedy line of sight, thanks to 2 configurable shows flanking the final bodily gauge within the cluster. The left facet homes the speedometer, journey meter and thermometer, whereas the fitting facet can show a complete bunch of stuff from the infotainment system, together with a full-screen map, particular person tire pressures, common gasoline financial system and all that good things. The screens are very simple to govern, as they’re linked to 2 corresponding scroll wheels on both facet of the steering wheel.On the protection entrance, my Cayenne S tester comes outfitted with parking sensors and automated emergency braking, however that is the place the meal ticket ends. Every different little bit of security tech prices a non-negligible amount of cash to throw into the combination. Blind spot screens are $950. A surround-view digicam is $1,200. Lane-keep help is $1,300. Adaptive cruise management is $2,000. Porsche’s InnoDrive, which mixes lane-keep help and adaptive cruise management for single-lane holding on the freeway, a la Nissan ProPilot Assist, is $3,610, however no less than you do not have to choice the person bits alongside it.As a matter of reality, the nickel-and-diming is type of Porsche’s weakest swimsuit in the intervening time. Not solely do you get shamed by seeing choices that you just did not equip, the choices you probably did equip ought to most likely come normal at this worth level. $530 for entrance heated seats? $490 for an auto-dimming rearview mirror? What is that this, 2003?
How I’d spec itThe sheer variety of methods to configure each Porsche is mind-boggling, so that is going to be a dense train. The Cayenne S carries a base worth of $82,900. A pleasant metallic paint coloration tacks on an additional $800. For the sake of journey high quality, I’ll persist with the inventory wheels and the marginally thicker tires that include ’em. The $3,750 leather-based inside is good, but it surely calls for seat heating for both the entrance ($530) or each rows ($1,060).Thankfully, the seat-heating improve is already constructed into the $7,300 Premium Package Plus I’d equip, which additionally provides four-zone local weather management, front-row seat air flow, LED headlights, auto-dimming mirrors, keyless entry, a Bose surround-sound audio system, blind spot screens and 14-way adjustable energy entrance seats. I’ll drop one other $3,220 for the lively exhaust, as a result of I’m a noise junkie. For the sake of not having to promote the farm, I’ll skip the protection stuff, which places me at $99,250 after the $1,250 obligatory vacation spot cost. These issues get much more costly in a rush.Down to brass tacksIf you prioritize sport above all else, it would be arduous to decide on some other SUV within the phase. The BMW X5 and Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class err extra towards refinement than enjoyable, until you begin throwing gobs of cash to improve the engine, which you can even do on the Cayenne. The Audi Q7 sports activities a regular third row that you just may not want, however you may bypass that by choosing the costlier Audi Q8, which additionally packs the most effective infotainment system I’ve skilled in years.The 2019 Porsche Cayenne S shouldn’t be a tough SUV to suggest. It drives like a tall Porsche ought to, it appears to be like similar to the remainder of its household and it is greater than accommodating to passengers in each rows. The tech is sweet, however choices can get costly in a rush. If you are not precisely able to abandon a want for sport in an effort to discover a appropriate household automotive, it is arduous to go improper with the Cayenne.
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