(Los Angeles) Like the 911, the Porsche Cayenne evolves by pretending to remain the same.
The Cayenne weighs heavily on Porsche sales. Nearly one-third of this manufacturer’s registrations are attributable to this model alone. Therefore, it is easy to understand why the alterations that are made to it today are essentially aimed at supporting its competitiveness in the face of increasingly tough competition.
The revolution can still wait. Normally very discreet about its projects, the German brand does not hide the imminent arrival (2025) of a fully electric version of the Cayenne, which will be produced in Slovakia. However, don’t try to go into details. You will encounter a door as strong as the Deutsche Bank Vault.
The same opposition awaits you regarding the future of the Cayenne as we know it today. Presented as a novelty, the Cayenne is not strictly speaking a novelty. Rather, it is an evolution of a model that was last redesigned more than six years ago. This is probably why only fanatics of this model will be able, visually at least, to perceive the discreet remodeling of which it has been the subject.
Among these alterations, let’s note this more domed bonnet in its middle part, these more prominent gills to oxygenate the mechanical part or this more refined radiating strip which runs through the tailgate. Can’t see the differences? So maybe you’ll have more success with the rims which come in eight new designs this year?
In fact, you have to look the Cayenne straight in the “eyes” to find the essential element of this discreet exterior redesign. The light signature changes, as does the technology. With untold sophistication, these new headlights each have 32,000 pixels. With very high precision, these optics allow driving without the risk of dazzling other drivers. Indeed, the beam adapts automatically by switching off part of the diodes in order to exclude from the light field the vehicles which precede or arrive in front. A nice addition in both senses of the word since Porsche charges $2750 to get them (and more if you want a darker lens).
The main novelty of this partial redesign – the one that catches the eye – is behind the doors. Inspired by the all-electric Taycan, the Cayenne lines its dashboard with screens. Even the passenger is entitled to his own, as long as the corresponding option is checked ($1690). All configurations appear possible to inform, entertain and, alas, distract. The power of the central software is however faster than before and the navigation of the tree, more intelligible too.
By scanning the interior furniture, we notice that the speed selector has taken up residence there. And the ignition of the engine – still on the left – now takes place using a push button, and an additional branch is attached to the steering wheel to set the driving modes.
These feather dusters are intended to rejuvenate the cabin and not to increase the space on board which comfortably accommodates four people. Trunk space hasn’t been affected, nor has the – admittedly flawless – modularity of this full-size SUV.
The options are both numerous (and expensive), but the management of Porsche brushes aside this criticism. “Our customers like to stand out and that’s why we give them plenty to choose from. Therefore, be aware that the advertised price is only communicated as an indication.
Before getting to the heart of the matter, it is important to point out that the Cayenne has also undergone several technical transformations here. The most significant concerns the rechargeable hybrid version, the electric range of which now borders on 50 km. A feat obtained by increasing the density of the battery. This increases from 17.9 kWh to 25.9 kWh. In addition, refueling promises to be faster than before thanks to an 11 kW on-board charger. More efficient, therefore, but also more vigorous since the electric motor associated with this hardware is equipped with more efficient magnets, which have made it possible to increase the power to 176 hp. So much for the electrified part of this two-headed mechanism whose thermal partition is still provided by a 3L six-cylinder. By combining the two, we get 463 hp and 479 lb-ft of torque. Values practically identical to those of the S version and its supercharged 4L V8. The latter is not to be outdone and also benefits from the attention of engine manufacturers. These retouch here and there certain components in order to improve its performance, its sound level, but hardly its consumption.
For obvious environmental reasons, the hybrid version appears to be the most desirable of all. She is not. Once the battery is consumed, the V6 finds itself alone in moving a mass that greatly exceeds two tons. Overall performance suffers, consumption increases alarmingly. In addition, despite all the refinements made to this vehicle, we regret that the braking modulation remains – on the hybrid – finicky and the automatic cut-off device when stopped so harsh.
The running gear has also been reworked. To taste the pleasure of driving this Cayenne, it is imperative to opt for the four-wheel steering system (for an additional $1,470). This gives greater agility and maneuverability to this imposing SUV. And since your wallet is wide open, also opt for the air suspension ($2,720) which ensures superior comfort, especially on rough pavement. For best results, use 20” or 21” tires. You will save money (replacement costs and winter tires) and reduce (a little) the amount of the invoice.
From $89,800 to $218,300
10,9 L/100 km (E-Hybrid)
A more timid redesign than Porsche suggests
La Presse will soon publish the test of the following vehicles: Audi RS7, Buick Envista, Genesis GV70 and Toyota Highlander. If you own one of these vehicles or are considering one, we would love to hear from you.
It is said that, in its ultimate configuration, the future electric Cayenne will produce more than 1000 hp. Until then, the title of most powerful Cayenne goes to the Turbo GT. Its price may seem stratospheric, but you should know that this version compares favorably to vehicles that are sometimes even more expensive. With 650 hp under its right foot, this Turbo GT is not afraid to take on the Aston Martin DBX 707, BMW XM or even Mercedes GLE 63 S.
Like many of its competitors (BMW, Mercedes, Audi), Porsche offers a “coupé” version of its Cayenne. While the ‘A’ pillars describe a more convex arc than on the ‘standard’ Cayenne, getting in and out of the vehicle is truly no problem in the Coupé. On the other hand, the trunk space under the parcel shelf is narrower and the lowered roof reduces headroom for the occupants who will be staying in the rear, even if the seats are lower. And another annoyance, this variation also costs more.