by Michael Butler
The Cayenne has become one of the most recognizable luxury SUVs on the market, and with good reason: not only does it carry the hallowed Porsche badge, but it offers class-leading performance and luxury, all packaged in an attractive design that makes competitors such as the Land Rover Range Rover look ancient. Powering the base model is a 335-hp turbocharged V6, while Cayenne S models get a twin-turbo 2.9-liter engine producing 434 hp. Across the range, the Cayenne offers brisk performance, excellent handling, and a luxurious interior that is up there with the best of them. The standard feature list might seem short, but the Cayenne makes up for it with its uncanny ability to make the driver feel part of the car, something that's noticeably missing in competitors such as the capable, but disconnected BMW X5. After a recent redesign, the Cayenne remains at the top, or at least close to the top of the luxury SUV market.
The Porsche Cayenne received a total reworking for 2019 that saw no body panel left untouched, which means the 2020 car is still relatively new and Porsche didn't think it worth the time to carry out any significant updates for 2020. What new owners can look forward to is a wireless phone charger as part of the Smartphone Compartment option, and the Sport Design package is now available in high-gloss black. Buyers also have the option of having the Porsche and Cayenne logos painted onto the body.
The exterior of the 2020 Porsche Cayenne has become a symbol of upper-middle-class wealth, and is most certainly one of the most recognizable SUV status symbols around, barring the Range Rover. After its 2019 refresh, the 2020 Cayenne looks sharper and more focused. Still, it retains the shape of the very first Cayenne brought into production. We think the balance of sporty styling and elegant lines works well and should find praise with both younger and more mature crowds. Standard exterior features for 2020 include an auto powered rear liftgate, twin single-tube tailpipes in brushed stainless steel for the base model, quad pipes for the Cayenne S, LED headlights and taillights with front corner lights with LED position light and direction indicator, and privacy glass for the rear windows. Cayenne S models get a set of massive six-piston front and four-piston rear performance brakes. Both models roll on a set of standard 19-inch wheels with the Cayenne S sporting a set of unique rollers.
This midsize luxury crossover measures in with the same dimensions as rivals such as the BMW X5 and Range Rover, give or take a few inches. Total length comes in at 193.7 inches, which is shorter than the Range Rover by over three inches, and the BMW offers over half an inch more length. With the mirrors folded in, the Cayenne measures 78.1 inches, and with the mirrors folded out, that number increases to 86.4 inches. The 2020 Cayenne sits 66.8 inches tall and has a maximum ground clearance of 9.6 inches with the air suspension fully extended. The approach and departure angles come in at 27.5 - 24.4 degrees with the air suspension at its highest setting, or 25.2 - 22.1 degrees with the standard steel suspension. Breakover angle is 18.7 degrees on the standard steel suspension and 21.3 on air suspension. Curb weight for the base model is 4,582 pounds, while the Cayenne S weighs in at 4,740 lbs.
It is a known fact that anyone who drives a Porsche Cayenne has also attended at least one polo competition and loves to show off their new fashion accessories at the local golf club, so it would make sense then that the 2020 Porsche Cayenne, fitted with last year's makeover, should be presented in some eye-catching colors. For those less enthused by fashionable colors, Porsche offers the Cayenne in Black and White for no extra cost. If you want to go with a metallic color such as Palladium Metallic, Jet Black Metallic, or Biscay Blue Metallic, you'll have to cough up an extra $800. Special colors such as Lava Orange go for $3,150.
Porsche doesn't build slow cars in 2020; all of its products can hit sixty in under six seconds, or close to it, which means all its vehicles are rather quick, to say the least. The 2020 Porsche Cayenne SUV is no different: forget about the SUV line, the Cayenne is a brisk performer in base form. With 335 hp on tap, it will sprint from zero to 60 in only 5.9 seconds, and continue on to a top speed of 152 mph. The twin-turbo Porsche Cayenne S makes the most of its 434 hp and will hurry to 60 in only 4.9 seconds, a full second faster than the base car, and will continue to a top speed of 164 mph, the same as a Tesla Model S. Around town the Cayenne feels fast in any trim, and there's very little sign of turbo lag when driving at lower speeds. On the highway, this thing is a missile, especially in S trim.
The base Cayenne and Cayenne S both make use of V6 gas-fed engines, but in two very different states of tune, with the S adding some very serious grunt to an already power-packed party. The base model Porsche Cayenne comes fitted with a turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 engine with variable valve control, and produces 335 hp and 332 lb-ft of torque nice and low in the rev range, which makes it feel strong in any gear, and delivers linear power right to the top of the rev counter. For most, this should be adequate, especially if you're doing most of your driving in town. For those with a real lust for life, the Porsche Cayenne S should be the one to go for: it might see a drop in capacity to 2.9-liters, but this twin-turbo V6 develops 434 hp and 405 lb-ft of torque and delivers true sports car levels of performance. It's seriously quick. Both cars send their power to all four wheels via a smooth-shifting and intuitive eight-speed Tiptronic S transmission.
If it has a Porsche logo on the front, then you can be assured that it will handle with poise and composure, and at the very least you will get a stable and predictable driving experience. As with the rest of their 2020 lineup, the Cayenne feels like a driver's car through and through, which is impressive for a car of its size and weight. At speed, or while cruising along city streets, the steering wheel is beautifully weighted, and there's reasonably good feedback from the wheel as well. Cutting through a set of corners shows the weight beautifully transitioning from one side to the other without upsetting the overall balance, and there's grip for days. Ride quality on the 19-inch wheels is good, but is notably harder than rivals such as the Range Rover. With the optional 22-inch wheels, things get rough. Optional adaptive suspension and four-wheel steering make things even more stable, perfect for snowy conditions. Porsche's new tungsten-coated iron rotors are an optional extra and see the already excellent braking improve by a notable margin.
Imagine explaining to someone from the '90s that Porsche would build turbocharged V6 SUVs in the future. That person would laugh in your face. What if you then told that same person that these cars would offer 20 mpg. They'd be dumbstruck. Yes, the 4,000-plus pound Cayenne might be a heavy hitter. Not only in terms of weight, but power as well, but that doesn't stop it from returning reasonable gas mileage figures. The EPA rates that the base model Cayenne will return 19/23/20 mpg city/highway/combined. Not bad for a turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 SUV. What is even more impressive is that the significantly more powerful and heavier Cayenne S will almost match its less powerful sibling with a figure of 18/22/20 mpg. With a large 23.7-gallon fuel tank fitted, the 2020 Cayenne and Cayenne S should have a maximum range of 474 miles.
Modern Porsche cars don't disappoint when it comes to the design and fit and finish of its interiors, and it is clear to see that as soon as you step into the cabin of the 2020 Porsche Cayenne that you've entered a premium space that reeks of class and money. Porsche loves the idea of giving new customers a blank canvas to work from, which sounds intriguing. Still, in reality, it means that you only get a set of basic features that would come standard in competing cars such as the BMW X5. Trunk and overall interior space is reasonable, but not as expansive as the cabin of the BMW X5. So what comes standard on a 2020 Porsche Cayenne? First off, new owners can expect to see a two-zone climate control system with separate temperature settings for the driver and front passenger, eight-way power-adjustable seats in the front, keyless vehicle ignition start/stop, as well as a HomeLink garage door opener. New owners can add optional extras such as advanced sport bucket seats and even four-zone climate control as part of the Premium Package Plus.
The 2020 Porsche Cayenne offers seating for five adults, and even larger adults will find no problem finding a comfortable space inside the cabin. The lifted ride height not only makes getting in and out of the Cayenne a pleasure, but it also aids visibility all around. The front seats have a sporty design, hugging the driver and front passenger and offering good support during aggressive driving. The interior of the 2020 Cayenne feels spacious and airy, and as always, the fit and finish of the space lifts the Cayenne close to the top of its class.
The 2020 Porsche Cayenne feels every bit as luxurious as its competitors, if not more so, and a big reason for this is an expertly curated selection of interior materials and trim pieces that shout money from any angle. Prominent offerings include black upholstery, but new owners can also go for more alternative options such as Slate Gray leather, or why not go two-tone with combos such as Black and Mojave beige, or Graphite blue and chalk? Not only are the seats highly customizable, but the trims on offer also include a few cool choices, such as carbon fiber, textured aluminum, and wood choices like Red Gum, and Dark Walnut. It all feels premium, and it all looks premium too.
As the largest offering in the 2020 Porsche lineup, the Cayenne offers more space with the rear seats folded up than six 718 Boxters combined, which might sound impressive, but it still lags behind the competition. With a total of 27.1 cubic feet on offer behind the rear seats, the 2020 Porsche Cayenne offers slightly less space than the Land Rover Range Rover's 27.5 cu- ft. Fold the rear seats flat, and you are greeted by 60.3 cubic feet of space, large enough to fit a bike or two. Small-item storage is taken care of by a medium-sized glove compartment, side door compartments, a storage bin in the center console, and a small storage compartment in the center console, as well as a storage compartment in the rear armrest.
At first glance, you'll think that the Porsche Cayenne lacks somewhat in terms of standard features. Take another glance, and that suspicion will be confirmed: Porsche loves keeping all the good stuff on the options list, which for some, is seen as a blank canvas ready to be painted in whatever color they want - but for many, it will be seen as a rip-off. We can understand both views. So, the basics included on both the standard Porsche Cayenne and the Cayenne S includes a two-zone climate control system with separate temperature settings for the driver and front passenger, and an automatic air-recirculation mode, an electronic rear liftgate, front and rear ParkAssist with a reverse camera, cruise control, and a HomeLink universal garage door opener. Door sill guards in brushed aluminum with model designations are a nice touch. Optional extras include driver assistance features such as a surround-view camera system, a head-up display, and night vision assist as part of the Assistance package.
The 2020 Porsche Cayenne range of cars come with a standard 12.3-inch touchscreen display mounted in the center of the dashboard and sits atop the central air vents. It looks neat and blends in well with the rest of the dashboard design, despite its relatively large size. This display offers an intuitive interface that should be easy to get a grip on for even the most clueless of operators. Standard infotainment features for 2020 include the Porsche Communication Management (PCM) interface, which offers smooth operation. But we wish Porsche included a rotary controller. Other features include integrated navigation, Bluetooth streaming with smartphone preparation, as well as four USB ports and an Aux-in port. Wireless 4G Wi-Fi is also included. Porsche has added Apple CarPlay integration but has, for some reason, left out Android Auto. The standard sound system features ten speakers with a total power output of 150 watts, and SiriusXM satellite radio and an HD radio receiver are also included. A Bose surround sound system is on offer as part of the Premium Package Plus.
The 2020 Porsche Cayenne has been subject to a total of five recalls in 2019, which includes a failure to notify the driver of brake pad wear, a delayed camera display time, and seatbelts that may not restrain right rear passenger occupants. The 2020 Cayenne was affected by the brake pad wear issue as well. Porsche will back the 2020 Cayenne with a four-year/50,000-mile basic warranty that includes a 12-year corrosion warranty, a four-year/50,000-line drivetrain warranty, a one year or 10,000-lie maintenance plan, and a four-year/50,000-mile roadside assistance plan.
As with so many other luxury SUVs, the 2020 Porsche Cayenne has not been tested by either the IIHS or NHTSA, so it is difficult to say whether or not the Cayenne will keep all your limbs attached to your body in case of a severe accident. What we can attest to is the fact that Porsche's history of building fast cars, and the fact that the company is German, should put most minds at ease: Porsche knows how to make good cars. Standard safety features include advanced traction control, and, with a ton of driver safety assistance systems on offer, the Cayenne should prove to be pretty safe.
Despite its lack of official safety ratings by any of the major road safety agencies, Porsche prides itself on building safe cars, and the standard safety gear onboard the 2020 Porsche Cayenne should keep most happy, although its competitors offer significantly more standard features. The 12 airbag system includes Porsche's Side Impact Protection System, comprising thorax airbags integrated into the side bolster of each front seat, and dual-front knee airbags are also standard. Each Cayenne comes with standard forward collision warning and parking sensors at both ends, cruise control, LED headlights, and automatic brake differential and anti-slip regulation. Available features include adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go, blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert, as well as lane departure warning and lane keeping assist.
The Cayenne has been around long enough to cement itself as one of the go-to luxury SUVs in a market that offers it all and has come a long way since its inception. The 2020 car signals a continuation of what we've come to love so much about the Cayenne: it offers a driving experience that remains true to Porsche's ethos of building performance cars and connects the driver with the rest of the car, unlike any other SUV on offer today. Not only does it drive well, but it is powerful enough to keep most people happy, and in S trim, you'll be embarrassing many a sports car from the lights. The interior is typically Porsche, well planned, and executed with the finest materials on offer in its price category. We wish that Porsche included more standard features, especially when you consider its higher-than-average asking price. It's more capable than ever, and will still cut it as a practical daily driver and off-roader if you so choose. Bravo Porsche, bravo.
Slapping a Porsche badge on anything will see the price of a car increase by quite a bit, and the Cayenne proves that theory with a price tag that's higher on average than its German counterparts. The base model starts off with an MSRP of $66,800. This price does not include registration, tax, or a destination fee of $1,350. The starting price of the base Cayenne is close to $10,000 more than the BMW X5 sDrive40i . If you want to go faster, you will have to pay more. The Cayenne S with its 434 hp twin-turbo V6 engine will set you back $84,300.
Porsche offers the 2020 Cayenne in base and S trim, but it is worth noting that it also offers a hybrid version, as well as a turbo and turbo hybrid version. The base model is motivated by a 3.0-liter V6 with a single turbo that makes 340 hp and 331 lb-ft of torque. Power is sent to all four wheels via an eight-speed auto transmission. The exterior of the Cayenne offers standard 19-inch wheels, LED head and taillights, as well as a power tailgate and keyless entry. Cayenne S models also add a set of six-piston front and four-piston rear performance brakes and a panoramic roof. The more performance-oriented Cayenne S sports a twin-turbocharged 2.9-liter V6 engine producing 434 hp and 405 lb-ft of torque, and is able to sprint to sixty in only 4.9 seconds. Both cars share a 12.3-inch infotainment display with navigation, SiriusXM satellite radio, and Apple CarPlay integration. Both cars also get dual-zone climate control, power-adjustable front seats, and standard cruise control and front and rear park assist, and forward collision warning.
Both the Cayenne and Cayenne S are available with three official packages, namely the Premium, Premium Plus, and Assistance Package. The Premium Package adds an LED Porsche Dynamic Light System, panoramic roof, auto-dimming mirrors, a Bose surround sound system, as well as 14-way power-adjustable seats, and lane change assist. All this comes at $6,470 for the base model, and $4,690 for the S. For $8,950, or $7,180 in the Cayenne S, you can get your hands on the Premium Plus package, which adds four-zone climate control, front-seat ventilation, comfort access, and ambient lighting. The Assist package is definitely one to go for: for $6,240, this package will add a surround-view camera system, a head-up display, adaptive cruise control with traffic jam assist, as well as lane keep assist and night vision assist.
This question has a relatively simple answer. If you want to go fast, get the base model, but if you want to go really fast, get the Cayenne S. With so few differences in terms of standard features operating the two, it all boils down to horsepower and price, of course. The main difference between these two trim levels is what lies under the hood: the base model is powered by a 335 hp single-turbo V6 engine, while the Cayenne S gets a twin-turbo 2.9-liter V6 engine producing 434 hp. This sees the zero to 60 sprint disappear in 4.9 seconds. If it were up to us, we'd play it safe and get the base model. In this state, you get more than enough grunt for everyday driving, and you get almost the same features, all for the grand sum of $66,800. That sounds like a steal compared to the Cayenne S' asking price of $84,300
You know Porsche has entered the SUV market head-on when it offers a compact five-door crossover SUV. Yes, the Macan is the smaller sibling, and unlike the Cayenne, which can still tackle a serious dirt trail, prefers to plant its feet on the tarmac. In base form, the 2020 Macan is powered by a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that develops 248 hp and 273 lb-ft of torque, but the Macan S gets some extra sauce in the form of a 3.0-liter turbocharged V6 producing 348 hp and 354 lb-ft of torque. We think the Macan fits in perfectly below the Cayenne by offering proper practicality and useful off-road capability, but also providing a dynamic driving experience. The Macan surely feels more composed in the corners. Inside, the same level of built quality permeates the cabin, which in this case, is tighter than what is on offer in the Cayenne. We love how agile it is, its general level of comfort, and its accessible starting price, but its expensive options and tight rear seat are sour points. We'd still go with the original Porsche SUV.
The BMW X5 is a household name for those in the luxury SUV market, and the 2020 car sure is a sweet driving thing. For 2020, BMW offers the X5 with a turbocharged six-cylinder producing 335 hp or a massively powerful V8 option kicking out 456 hp, slightly more than what's on offer in the Cayenne S. You can also opt for the M Performance variant that produces 523 hp. Power is sent to either the rear or all four wheels via an eight-speed transmission. We think the Porsche looks better from the outside, but that's just our humble opinion. It's under the skin that the BMW shows its true mettle. Its suspension and chassis setup are right on the ball: it's athletic enough to entertain, but composed and comfortable enough for the daily grind. The interior is typically premium, and the X5 offers more interior and cargo space. The optional third-row seating takes it too far and is seriously cramped, and we were disappointed to find out that Apple CarPlay is only available on subscription. We'll have the Porsche, thanks.
Check out some informative Porsche Cayenne video reviews below.