In-depth reviews

Porsche Cayenne review – engine, gearbox and technical highlights

Porsche’s engine range includes impressive V6 or V8 turbocharged petrol engines with and without plug-in hybrid modules

Evo rating
  • Best large SUV to drive this side of an Aston Martin DBX; does have a Porsche ‘feel’; beautifully built
  • Hybrid models feel cumbersome and heavy; coupe model adds nothing to the package

There are a total of three different engines available across the Porsche Cayenne range, two of which are available with or without plug-in hybrid assistance. The standard Cayenne and Cayenne e-hybrid make use of a 3-litre V6 petrol engine assisted by a single turbocharger. Rather than being a Porsche-developed engine it’s instead borrowed from Audi, and is also found in a spread of models across the Volkswagen Group. The two Cayenne models make 333bhp and 455bhp respectively.

Next up is the Cayenne S, which swaps the standard Cayenne’s 3-litre engine for a 2.9-litre twin-turbo V6 petrol that is Porsche’s own unit (despite also being found in a couple of Audi RS models). In this form the Cayenne S produces 444bhp (as in those Audis) and does so with a compact and energy-dense turbocharger layout. The two turbos are situated within the engine’s cylinder banks to shorten the turbos’ plumbing, and therefore increase response. 

The GTS and Turbo share the same 4-litre twin-turbo V8 engine in 454bhp and 542bhp outputs. The unit also features a hot-V turbocharger layout, and despite the 88bhp variation in power, are pretty much identical in terms of hardware, with the ECU being the modulating factor. The top-spec Turbo S e-hybrid combines the Turbo’s 542bhp version of this same V8 with a similar plug-in hybrid module to that used by the standard e-hybrid, adding a further 129bhp to the power total via an electric motor integrated into the driveline. This adds up to a 671bhp total, with 664lb ft of torque. 

All Cayennes feature an eight-speed torque-converter style automatic transmission rather than the dual-clutch gearbox found in the Panamera – all-wheel drive is also standard fit. When it comes to chassis hardware there’s a big variation within each model, helping distinguish each beyond just the differing engine. All V6-powered Cayennes and the GTS ride on steel coil springs, with adaptive dampers standard on all-but the entry-level model (air is optional). Turbo and Turbo S e-hybrid models pick up standard three-chamber air suspension, with the latter also featuring an active anti-roll system. 

The optional Sport Chrono package (standard on GTS and Turbo S) adds a further mode to the dampers regardless of model, while the staggered wheel sizes range from 19-inches up to 22-inches. Rear-wheel steering is optional on all models, so too a variable steering rack, torque-vectoring rear differential and sports exhaust system.

Cayenne S and GTS models share a slightly upsized brake package from the standard and e-hybrid models, while the Turbo utilises Porsche’s silicone-carbide coated brakes denoted by white calipers (PSCB). Turbo S models are fitted with the full carbon ceramics (PCCB) as standard. Both hybrid models also have a regenerative braking facility, and both the PSCB. PCCB braking packages are optional on lesser models too. 

With such a varied range, kerb weights are just as diverse, with a basic Cayenne slipping just below 2 tons at 1985kg and the top-spec Turbo S e-hybrid getting over 500kg heavier at 2490kg. Coupe models are identical in setup, although the rear track is 40mm wider. They’re also around 45kg heavier than the equivalent wagon version, thanks to that extra width, the standard-fit glass roof and more complex tailgate that incorporates an active rear wing. That makes the Cayenne Coupe Turbo S e-Hybrid a quite staggering 2535kg on the road.

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