While many crossovers are rewarding to drive, very few take performance as seriously as the Cayenne. Even though it seats five in undisputed luxury, most buyers choose the Cayenne for its thrilling road manners and roster of powerful engines.

Equipment & Pricing

There's a separate trim level for each of the Cayenne's available engines:

  • Priced from $58,300, the Base model carries a 300-horsepower 3.6-liter V6. Standard equipment includes everything you would expect in a prestige crossover like a power tailgate, a heated steering wheel, navigation, a panoramic sunroof and a 10-speaker sound system with HD radio.
  • The $74,800 S gets a twin-turbo version of the V6 that produces 420 horsepower. You also get standard 19-inch wheels, speed-sensitive power steering and front and rear parking sensors.
  • The S E-Hybrid ($77,200) is powered by a supercharged 3-liter V6 and an electric motor that together develop 416 horsepower. The hybrid system features plug-in technology that allows it to run on electricity alone for the first 20 miles.
  • Buyers in search of more power can step up to the GTS for $95,550. The GTS carries a massaged version of the V6 turbo that achieves 440 horsepower, plus upgraded exhaust and suspension systems.
  • The Cayenne Turbo ($114,700) receives a turbocharged 4.8-liter V8 with 520 horsepower on tap. Other upgrades include and an adjustable air suspension, front and rear sport seats and a 14-speaker Bose surround-sound system.
  • The performance star of the line, the $157,300 Turbo S is blessed with a 570-horsepower version of the V8 turbo.

Many of the comfort and convenience features found on the Turbo models are optional elsewhere in the line. All models except the S E-Hybrid are eligible for a Sport Chrono package with launch control, a Sport Plus driving mode, and built-in stopwatches.

Performance Pros

Porsche Cayenne Sid

Every Cayenne comes equipped with an eight-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive with a terrain selector.

Performance highlights include:

  • Steering/Handling: The Cayenne might not be as nimble as the brand's two-seaters, but it comes commendably close. Few crossovers can hold the road and indulge your sporty side as convincingly as the Cayenne.
  • Acceleration: The Turbos are astonishingly fast. The regular Turbo hits 60 mph in 4.2 seconds, while the Turbo S does it in just 3.8 seconds. It's hard to believe that these times apply to a five-passenger crossover with all-wheel drive.
  • Fuel Efficiency: The S E-Hybrid delivers 22 mpg in combined city and highway driving when operating in hybrid mode. But remember that your first 20 miles or so are gas free (if you use the plug-in function), so you could do significantly better depending on your driving habits.

Performance Cons

  • Models equipped with the base V6 go from zero to 60 mph in 7.3 seconds. That might be fine for some other luxury crossover, but it's disappointing for a Porsche-branded vehicle.
  • We found the standard suspension setup too harsh for comfortable long-distance travel. You'll have to add the adjustable air suspension (standard on Turbos) to achieve a relaxing ride.

Interior Pros

Porsche Cayenne Interior
  • The Cayenne's cockpit would look right at home in a sports coupe, and the front seats are relatively low. After a few miles of driving, it's easy to forget you're behind the wheel of a crossover.
  • The rear compartment is more passenger-friendly than you might expect in a performance crossover. The seat's slide and recline functions offer a good deal of travel, and legroom is generous. The standard panoramic sunroof lends an open feel.

Interior Cons

  • With the rear seat in use, you're limited to 23.6 cubic feet of cargo space. That's slim pickens for a midsize crossover.
  • The seat doesn't fold completely flat, which means some cargo must rest at a precarious angle.

The Most Pleasant Surprise

The Cayenne can tow up to 7,716 pounds, which puts it in league with truck-based SUVs that handle like barges by comparison.

The Least Pleasant Surprise

Options are numerous and on the pricey side. It's easy to add $10,000 or more to the price with trim upgrades alone.

The Bottom Line

The Cayenne is proof that Porsche can build something besides sports cars without tarnishing its performance legacy.