On approach to the 2020 Porsche Cayenne Coupe Turbo, there’s an undeniable sense of familiarity.
It could almost be a 911, especially from the rear three-quarter view. If a 911 were taller, wider, longer... You get the idea. Still, of all of Porsche’s expanding portfolio of products, this is – somehow – the one most like the icon.
That’s really where the similarity ends, of course. As you enter the cabin you step up, not down, and survey an interior that spreads out around you instead of wrapping you up.
Porsche is a little late to the party with its coupe SUV. The Cayenne nameplate has been around since 2003, but the Cayenne Coupe was only added in 2019. Better late than never, though, and for buyers seeking the balance of high-riding visibility and cargo space flexibility, but with a more raked and toned aesthetic, Porsche really delivers.
Oh, and for what it’s worth, Porsche doesn’t call this (or the regular Cayenne) an SUV, it’s a five-door sports car.
The Cayenne Coupe Turbo is priced from $259,000 plus on-road costs. A regular Cayenne Turbo would be $13,000 less, while the Cayenne Coupe range itself stretches from $133,700 for the starter Cayenne Coupe up to $297,900 for the Cayenne Coupe Turbo S E-Hybrid.
The existence of the Turbo S E-Hybrid is, perhaps, a little baffling. As it stands, the Turbo’s 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 lays down 3.9-second 0–100km/h sprints backed up by 404kW and 770Nm.
Adding the ‘S E-Hybrid’ appendage to the title shaves one-tenth of a second off, brings combined outputs up to 500kW and 800Nm, and provides plug-in electric petrol-free commuting, if you’re so inclined.
|2020 Porsche Cayenne Coupe Turbo|
|Engine||4.0-litre (3996cc) twin-turbo petrol V8|
|Power and torque||404kW at 5750–6000rpm, 770Nm at 2000–4500rpm|
|Transmission||Eight-speed torque converter automatic|
|Drive type||Permanent all-wheel drive|
|Fuel claim, combined||12.3L/100km|
|Fuel use on test||14.3L/100km|
|Boot volume (rear seats up / down)||600L / 1510L|
|Turning circle||12.1m (std), 11.5m (with rear axle steering)|
|ANCAP safety rating||Unrated|
|Warranty (years / km)||3 years / unlimited km|
|Main competitors||BMW X6, Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupe, Audi RS Q8|
|Price as tested (excl. on road-costs)||$280,830|
Honestly, though, it’s hard to see how the Cayenne just-Turbo needs to be quicker. It’s also just 0.1-sec slower than something like a BMW X6 M, but without the brittle ride and compromised seating position, as well as looking (obnoxious Lava Orange paint aside) more graceful and grown-up.
In typical Porsche fashion, the end product can be uniquely yours with a huge list of personalisation options. Some of the big-ticket items on this car include its paint ($5000), sports exhaust ($5970), rear axle steering ($4300), Torque Vectoring Plus ($3120), plus carbon interior ($1800), head-up display ($3070), dynamic matrix headlights ($2220), carbon interior ($1800), and tinted tail-lights ($1750).
Probably best not to umm and ahh over the options too long, though, even if it is somewhat absurd that adaptive cruise control should be a cost-option on a $250K+ car, and wireless charging for your phone is nowhere to be seen.
Standard inclusions are reasonable, and then some: Four-zone climate control, panoramic glass roof, 18-way electric front seats, front and rear seat heating, colour-selectable interior ambient lighting, front and rear exterior LED lighting with ‘dynamic’ front lights, active rear spoiler, gloss-black exterior package, and five seats standard, but four as a no-cost option.
Enter vehicle, turn key (well, starter paddle), and exhale. The 4.0-litre bi-turbo V8, although shared between a number of Porsche and Audi products, feels and sounds different here. No doubt thanks to that optional sports exhaust, but there’s a fantastically old-fashioned loping idle and just a hint of the engine rocking on its mounts. Audi V8s don’t do that.
As you slip onto the road and join traffic, the engine has a languorous ease to it. Feeling effortless but unflappable, ladling waves of torque onto the roadway through the soft-shifting eight-speed automatic and adaptive all-wheel drive.
That’s just its sensible side. Pin the accelerator to the carpet and the Cayenne Turbo’s tacho needle runs to the redline in the blink of an eye. The exhaust roars with absolute ferocity, and the once-docile transmission shifts with absolute speed and precision.
Plenty of near 2.3-tonne SUVs pack in supercar-spec engines, so Porsche isn’t alone here, but few can convincingly deliver their dual talents as a luxuriant daily drive and a bristling thrill ride quite so well.
On the angry side, there’s surprisingly alert steering helped by the optional rear-wheel-steering system, which really does shrink the Cayenne Coupe’s bulk instead of merely shifting the back end around the way some four-wheel-steer systems can.
The brakes don't have the usual washy SUV feel either, with a pleasantly adjustable pedal stroke. Progressive and squeal-free around town, but authoritative when driving hard.
The hardware itself sounds almost comical: 10-piston aluminium monobloc calipers up front clamp 415mm Porsche Surface Coated Brake (PSCB) rotors. The side effect being almost complete elimination of brake dust. At the rear are four-piston calipers and 365mm discs.
Fire out of corners and the higher weight is noticeable, but the (also optional) torque vectoring sends power to where it's most useful, slinging the big SUV around like a much more nimble vehicle.
Once you’re off your favourite stretch of tarmac and back on the highway, the Cayenne Turbo settles into its more cultured side. The ride is never magic-carpet plush, despite the use of air-sprung dampers. Jiggling and jostling are fairly commonplace, even with the drive-mode selector set to Comfort.
Cabin ambience could be nicer, though. There’s plenty of roar from the big 285/35ZR22 front and 315/30ZR22 rear Pirelli P Zero tyres, and the suspension generates a thrashy noise as it dissipates fidgety imperfections.
Even with a tapered roof, the cabin is as big and spacious as it should be for a grand tourer. The rear seat (configured for two, though a three-seat bench is available) offers enough room to stretch out, and while it is closer, the roof is still high above the heads of most adult passengers.
The fixed panoramic glass roof does a brilliant job of cutting down interior heat, plus there’s a powered shade to filter the light on the brightest days. Surrounding upper trims are covered in Alcantara.
Most of the interior surfaces you can contact come leather-wrapped, or if not, leather-look, though surprisingly soft-touch surfaces aren't commonplace. Still, supple leather over a hard base is every bit as premium as a squidgy dash, if not more so.
That’s not to say the interior was vault-like. There were plenty of rattly and creaky plastics making themselves known. Hard not to think that if the suspension were just a touch more absorbent, most of those would never reveal themselves.
The infotainment screen is broad at 12.3 inches, and while the interface can appear a little busy at first, Porsche packs plenty in. Like the interior switch interface further down, it’s a little daunting, but soon makes sense with everything given its own dedicated space.
The graphics are incredibly crisp, and the match-up between the main screen, the head-up display, and the dual instrument displays either side of the tacho is on point. Still, it’s hard to know if the newer, single-surface switchgear of the Cayenne is better than the physical dedicated controls of the Macan range.
I’m not in love with the distant, thumpy haptic feedback and smudge-prone contact panel, which still shows the outlines of equipment that isn’t installed. To each their own, I suppose.
Arguably, the practicality of any Porsche is rarely a priority, yet beneath the powered tailgate there’s 600L of storage to the top of the rear seats, or a full 1510L up to the roof with the rear seats folded. Not bad, though the Cayenne wagon provides 745L and 1680L respectively.
Safety, too, while perhaps not a key focus, is still well represented with front and rear side airbags, curtain bags, knee airbags for both front seats, a pop-up pedestrian-protecting bonnet, forward-collision alert and collision-mitigation braking (AEB) with pedestrian detection, and blind-spot monitoring. ANCAP is yet to apply a rating to any Porsche model, though Euro NCAP rates all Cayenne variants with comparable five-star credentials and a 2017 time stamp.
Servicing falls every 12 months or 15,000km without a pre-paid or fixed-price program. The warranty covers three years with no kilometre limit – back of the pack in industry terms, though many prestige marques are holding firm on three-year terms.
Official fuel consumption is rated at 12.3L/100km, while on test we recorded 14.3L/100km. That's decent, but a word of warning for strictly urban users – around town, expect figures in the low to mid 20s easily.
Any drive, be it humble and well-intentioned or raucous and red-misted, is an occasion in the Cayenne Coupe Turbo. There’s still something not quite fully realised about the sporting nature of a vehicle of this size and weight.
This Cayenne, of course, isn’t the first Porsche with a taller-riding stance and hefty kerb weight, but it does manage to carry those burdens with resolute character and experience.
It’s still alluring, rapid, honed and hedonistic. Does the Cayenne need to be coupe-ified and bestowed a Turbo honour? Probably not, but that absolutely should not stop, and has not stopped, Porsche from delivering a grand family tourer to the best of its ability.