With a bulky SUV body style and a spacious cargo area, one would assume that the Porsche Cayenne wouldn't be able to provide exhilarating performance. The Cayenne has been in Porsche's lineup for 15 years and the automaker has made it better every year. With multiple performance levels to choose from, the Cayenne is an all-weather capable performance vehicle that offers sports-car-like capability.
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2018 Porsche Cayenne Overview
What's New for 2018
The Cayenne enters 2018 with no significant changes. The SUV, though, has been redesigned for the 2019 model year.
Choosing Your Porsche Cayenne
The most attractive aspect of the Cayenne is the SUV's incredible performance. The base model is powered by a 3.6-liter V6 engine that generates 300 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque. The engine is paired to an eight-speed automatic transmission as standard, while power is routed through an all-wheel-drive system.
On the other end of the spectrum, the Cayenne Turbo S offers the same performance as a high-end sports car. The high-performance SUV features a twin-turbocharged 4.8-liter V8 engine that generates 570 hp and 590 lb-ft of torque. With that kind of power, the Turbo S model is capable of getting up to 60 mph in just 3.8 seconds.
While the Cayenne is catered toward performance, the SUV can handle rough terrain. The vehicle comes with Porsche Traction Management (PTM) – an intelligent active all-wheel-drive system. When properly equipped, the SUV features three off-roading modes that can alter the vehicle's ride height and the way the Cayenne puts its power down. Porsche Torque Vectoring Plus (PTV Plus) includes an electronically controlled rear-locking differential that distributes torque to the rear wheels.
As an SUV, the Cayenne offers a good amount of cargo capacity. With the vehicle full of passengers, the SUV has enough space to carry 23.6 cubic feet of cargo. With the split-folding rear seats down, the cargo capacity for the vehicle opens up to 62.9 cu. ft.
The Cayenne is available in six different trims:
Prices can quickly get out of hand with the Cayenne, especially as Porsche offers things like a ski bag and a compass as options. The Cayenne S is reasonably priced and brings a good amount of luxury and performance features as standard. Consumers looking for an even sportier SUV can opt for the GTS model. While outrageously powerful, the Turbo and Turbo S models are also incredibly expensive.
2018 Porsche Cayenne Review
When it comes to luxury SUVs, some like it hot. The 2018 Porsche Cayenne pushes all the right buttons in terms of looks, performance, and interior amenities. On the flip side, prices can shoot up quickly, making this SUV easily one of the most expensive models of its kind.
The 2018 Porsche Cayenne is a mid-size luxury SUV offering room for five with standard all-wheel drive. You'll find a family of strong gasoline engines and a hybrid drivetrain – sorry, there's no diesel in the mix. Porsche offers six trims: base, Platinum, S, GTS, Turbo, and Turbo S. The E-Hybrid model comes in S and Platinum editions.
The base model doesn’t offer quite the level of amenities you’d expect in a luxury SUV. Choosing the Cayenne S brings in a twin-turbocharged engine, electric power steering, and front and rear parking sensors. You also get 19-inch wheels, a sunroof, and driver seat memory. We added several options that upgraded this model’s appearance inside and out as well as its overall performance. Here's how we'd build ours:
- Model: 2018 Porsche Cayenne S
- Engine: 3.6-liter twin-turbo V6
- Output: 420 hp / 406 lb-ft
- Transmission: Eight-speed automatic
- Drivetrain: All-wheel drive
- Fuel Economy: 17 City / 24 Hwy
- Options: Sport Package ($5,990, analog and digital stopwatch, air suspension, Porsche Active Suspension Management [PASM], sports exhaust system, two dual-tube aluminum polished tailpipes, a performance display), Carrara White Metallic paint ($800), 14-Way Power Seats with Memory Package ($1,510), leather seat trim with leather interior ($3,660).
- Base Price: $78,450 (including the $1,050 destination charge)
- Best Value Price: $90,410
Even the base Cayenne is fast, but the 2018 Porsche Cayenne S offers a nice middle ground between the base and top trims. This one is powered by a 3.6-liter twin-turbo V6 engine that generates 420 horsepower and 406 pound-feet of torque, good for a zero-to-60 mph time of 5.1 seconds. Porsche marries this engine to an eight-speed automatic transmission.
It helps that the Cayenne has an excellent steering rack and a robust suspension system to go with it. In the handling department, this SUV benefits from a torque vectoring system that distributes power around the Porsche’s all-wheel-drive system to assist in cornering. Body roll isn’t entirely done away with, but it's manageable and even quite fun.
Design elements of the 911 are apparent on this SUV, but only lightly so. The Cayenne has been on the market long enough for us to accept a Porsche SUV, although there are die-hard holdouts out there. Happily, this model strikes its own approach to the market with its curvy layout and handsome details.
What’s familiar here is the headlight design, which it shares with other Porsche models. The long hood is imposing, but it isn’t an overwrought look. The rear suggests a powerful haunch, but it doesn’t go further than that. We’re glad because when you add all the elements together, you come away with a sensible design.
Inside, the cabin is very comfortable, quiet, and beautifully decorated. We find the Cayenne easy to get in and out of. The driving position doesn’t pretend to mimic Porsche’s sports cars, but it's snug and sporty. The build quality is excellent, though there's more room up front then there is in the back and the cargo space is actually smaller than what most rivals offer.
The Best and Worst Things
You can build the Porsche Cayenne in most any way you want. Yes, there are packages that bundle some of your favorite features, but you also have a choice of individual items. Porsche tries to have something for everyone and that’s a good thing. With so many choices, however, prices can quickly climb. Our sample build tops $90,000, but that’s far below the six-figure number that's easily within reach. The top-end model is extremely expensive and hard to justify from a cost perspective, except for people whose budgets allow it.
Right For? Wrong For?
Porsche came out with the Cayenne and followed up years later with the Macan. The idea for these two models plus the Panamera sedan was to keep Porsche owners in the fold. Porsche has succeeded in this endeavor. On the other hand, if you’re expecting strong off-road chops, this isn’t the SUV you want. With the right equipment you can handle moderate off-road duty, but you won’t be following a Jeep anywhere it climbs.
The Bottom Line
The 2018 Porsche Cayenne is a standout in a crowded field of luxury SUV models. There are so many ways you can build one and the result is a thoroughly capable road cruiser. Keep a close eye on the options packages. Otherwise, your costs may quickly exceed your budget.