UPDATE: The more powerful 2018 Porsche Cayenne Turbo has now also been revealed. Details here.
The new third-generation 2018 Porsche Cayenne has been given an official unveiling today, after it surfaced online earlier in the week.
The new SUV arrives seven years after its predecessor debuted at the 2010 Geneva motor show, and 15 years since Porsche first turned the concept of a sports-car brand upside down with the first Cayenne.
FLASHBACK: “ATLANTA, March 5, 2002 — Porsche Cars North America (PCNA) today revealed the first glimpse of its luxury sport utility vehicle, the Porsche Cayenne. Taking the Porsche experience to a new level, the Cayenne will create the perfect balance of performance and power, delivering outstanding on-pavement performance and very good off-pavement characteristics. The vehicle’s debut is slated for the last half of 2002. “
The look of the Cayenne has stuck to a clear theme since it first appeared, and while that first model threw the automotive world into a storm of polarised passion and fury, the big SUV has gone on to become an accepted member – for the most part – of the Porsche family.
The sleeker second generation helped the badge move beyond its ‘face only a mother could love’ image, and Porsche has wisely stuck with the ‘if it ain’t broke’ philosophy for this new third-gen model.
Identifying changes to the Cayenne’s design through the front and profile view is a job for trainspotters, but the rear is clear in its new-gen Panamera inspiration.
A large new 12.3-inch display dominates the dash, which also boasts a more elegant and luxury-focused look than the previous model.
The centre console still features large grab bars, but the thick-bezelled vertical vents of the outgoing generation’s dash have been replaced with subtle black-framed horizontal units.
Moving to the bones of the car, Porsche says its new Cayenne is the most dynamic yet, although we’d expect a brand to promise no less of its latest model.
The new Cayenne is built on the MLBevo platform that underpins Audi’s new Q7 and Bentley’s big Bentayga. The architecture features a liberal use of aluminium, cutting dry weight down to 1985kg in its standard form – compared to 2040kg for the outgoing model.
The new model measures in at 4918mm long and 1983mm wide, riding on a 2895mm wheelbase. These numbers mean the third-gen Cayenne is 63mm longer overall than its predecessor and 45mm wider, without any change to the wheelbase.
Space in the luggage compartment is listed at 770 litres with the rear seats up, marking a 100-litre increase in capacity. Seats-down figures have not been released, although the outgoing model claims 1780 litres.
Two engines will be offered at launch, both petrol.
At the entry end, there’s a 3.0-litre turbo V6 offering 250kW of power and 450Nm of torque. That mill claims promises to hurl the base Cayenne to 100km/h in 6.2 seconds, or 5.9 seconds with the Sport Chrono Package added.
Stepping up to the Cayenne S switches you to a newly-developed 2.9-litre twin-turbo V6, producing 324kW and 550Nm for a 0-100km/h claim of 5.2 seconds. Upgrade to Sport Chrono and you’ll slip below the five-second barrier with a 4.9-second claim.
In both models, Porsche’s new eight-speed Tiptronic S auto gearbox is featured, matched to all-wheel drive and the Porsche Traction Management system.
Maximum speeds are listed at 245km/h and 265km/h respectively, and fuel figures – on the NEDC cycle for Europe – are listed at 9.2 and 9.4L/100km respectively.
No surprise, Porsche says it took its cues from the 911 in developing the new Cayenne to ensure a sporting drive. To that end, electric rear-axle steering features for the first time, following in the footsteps of the 911 and Panamera.
Suspension up front is through a separated link design, and the rear gets a multi-link design. Porsche’s new three-chamber air suspension unit moves over from the Panamera to the Cayenne’s option list, too.
Porsche 4D Chassis Control is featured for real-time optimisation of handling characteristics, along with the active PASM damper system.
Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control roll stabilisation is available as an option on the base and standard on the S, switching from hydraulic to electric with a 48V system borrowed from the Q7 and Bentayga.
There’s also mixed tyre sizes, and 19 inches is as small as the wheels get, with 21-inch the biggest (without stopping in at Bob Jane on the way home from the dealer).
Behind those hoops, the new Porsche Surface Coated Brake option adds a tungsten-carbide layer on traditional steel discs, improving heat soak without the cost of carbon-ceramic discs. That said, Porsche hasn’t revealed what you’ll pay.
The new Cayenne will touch down in Australia from the middle of 2018, with pricing and local specs to be confirmed earlier in the year.
Watch this space.
Click through to the photo gallery for more images of the new Cayenne.