The Cayenne’s one of the best-handling SUVs on the market but you’ll have to fork out for the upgraded suspension if you want it to be as relaxing as it is rapid
You can get the Cayenne with a range of petrol and diesel engines and even as a fairly frugal hybrid.
Pick an S model with a 3.6-litre V6 petrol engine if you spend most time pottering around town. It’s smoother and quieter than the diesel models and won’t be quite as thirsty as the high-performance GTS or Turbo versions. Porsche claims it’ll return 28.8mpg but you can expect it to return around 20mpg in normal driving. Put your foot down, however, and it’ll sprint from 0-62mph in just 5.5 seconds.
Pick a diesel version if you do lots of motorway miles. The entry-level standard diesel will return around 30mpg in the real world – compared to Porsche’s claimed 41.5mpg – while the faster S Diesel loses out by around 5mpg. Both are reasonably quiet at slow speeds (if not quite as hushed as the petrols), have enough poke to easily overtake slow-moving traffic and settle into a comfortable motorway cruise.
Few SUVs can leap off the line like a Cayenne Turbo S – it’s as quick as a 911 Carrera GTS but has space for you to bring four friends along for the ride
At the top of the Cayenne tree you’ll find Turbo and Turbo S models – perfect if you’re looking for a fast SUV that’ll blow the doors off some sports cars. Range-topping Turbo S cars accelerate from 0-62mph in just 4.1 seconds and produce a guttural exhaust note that sounds like a vintage fighter plane.
There’s even an E-Hybrid model – perfect if you’ve got green fingers rather than lead feet. It’s considerably more expensive to buy than either the basic petrol or diesel models but it can drive in in near-silent electric-only mode for as far as 22 miles. As a result, it’s exempt from the London congestion charge – ideal if you regularly travel into the capital.
Despite its large size, the Cayenne’s reasonably easy to drive around town. Its high seating position gives you a good view out over the road ahead and its large rear windows make it easy to check over your shoulder before changing lanes. Unfortunately, the large door mirrors and thick rear pillars produce a few awkward blind spots that’ll make parking a tad nerve-wracking.
Thankfully, front and rear parking sensors come as standard on all models and you can get a reversing camera for £464 for a little extra peace of mind. All models come with cruise control as standard too – to help make long journeys as stress-free as possible – and a smooth eight-speed automatic gearbox to take the effort out of endless traffic jams.
The Cayenne’s standard suspension can highlight small bumps in the road and make it feel slightly unsettled at slow speeds. It’s by no means uncomfortable, but the optional £2,475 air suspension does a much better job of smoothing out monster potholes.
Pick the slightly firmer £1,094 adaptive suspension if you’re looking for a sportier driving experience. It’s not quite as silky smooth as the more expensive air suspension option but it helps stops the Cayenne’s body leaning in tight corners. As a result it drives more like a sports car than a high-riding SUV and will help put a much bigger smile on your face than either a BMW X5M or Audi SQ7.
Unfortunately, the Cayenne produces a little more wind and tyre noise than the Audi Q7 at motorway speeds – especially with the large 21-inch alloy wheels fitted. You’ll feel a few more vibrations through your seat than in a Range Rover, too – even with the optional suspension upgrades.
Euro NCAP hasn’t crash-tested the Porsche Cayenne but it comes with a wide range of safety equipment as standard that’ll help keep you safe in the event of a collision. You can also get adaptive cruise control for £1,338 that’ll brake when traffic slows in front – and even perform an emergency stop – if it detects an obstacle in your path.