by Jake Lingeman
Between 2007-2009, the Acura ZDX, the Honda Crosstour and the BMW X6 all hit the scene as SUVs/crossovers with sloping, fastback-style roofs, long before the Porsche Cayenne Coupe. It was Michelle Christensen that coined the ZDX a "four-door luxury sports coupe," which Acura at the time said, "blurs the distinction between coupe, sedan and sport utility vehicle." We thought they were goofy-looking then, and still do. But it's hard to say they weren't ahead of their time.
About a decade later, the Volkswagen Group brought out its own handful of these four-door vehicles called "coupes," but they mostly had flat roofs, even if they were lower than their standard SUV counterparts. Audi, Porsche, Bentley and VW all managed to produce one, but it's the horizontal look, like the 2021 Porsche Cayenne Coupe and the GTS-spec version we had on our test drive, that jettisons the egg appearance and homes in on what makes a big car look good. This Cayenne Coupe and the Audi SQ8 are the best looking of the bunch, though the Bentley Bentayga and VW Atlas Cross are also handsome.
The Cayenne Coupe comes in a variety of flavors, topped by the 453-horsepower GTS. All are fast but the GTS makes you wonder why you'd ever need a Cayenne Turbo Coupe. Dynamically, it feels like a Porsche. The steering wheel felt connected directly to the tires, even though it's an electronic setup, and the brakes were race-car strong. There were a few ergonomic and technology elements that annoyed us, but the selection of upgrades on the GTS make it the sweet spot of the lineup. Besides those VW Group cars we mentioned, the Cayenne Coupe fights for sales against the BMW X6 and Mercedes GLE-Coupe. The Porsche is dynamically superior to these competitors but it does require you to pay a premium.
The big news for the 2022 model year is the introduction of the Turbo GT, but we review the Porsche Cayenne Coupe turbo models separately. The highlight of the standard range is the update to the 12.3-inch touchscreen infotainment system. Something we've been waiting for over all the years that the Cayenne Coupe has been on sale is Android Auto, a feature that is finally included this year.
See trim levels and configurations:
The Cayenne Coupe is one of the more successful transitions from regular SUV to SUV coupe. You can look at it and not wonder how it ever got past a design sketch of some overly enthusiastic car designer. All models are equipped with LED headlights, a power rear hatch, a fixed panoramic roof, and an adaptive rear spoiler. The base Coupe has twin single-tube tailpipes, while the S and GTS have quad exhaust pipes. Base and S models get 20-inch alloys, while the GTS gets a set of model-specific 21-inch RS Spyder Satin Black wheels. You can notice the E-Hybrid model by its Acid Green brake calipers and the model name in the same color.
The base and S models share the same dimensions. The overall length is 194.2 inches, sitting on a 114-inch wheelbase. They have a width of 86.4 inches and are 66 inches tall. The base model weighs 4,663 pounds, while the S has a 4,725 lbs curb weight. The GTS has an overall length of 194.5 inches, but it shares the same wheelbase as the other models. At 64.7 inches tall, it sits noticeably closer to the ground. The twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V8 adds roughly 200 lbs to the car, resulting in a curb weight of 4,932 lbs. Heavier is still is the E-Hybrid model at 5,265 lbs.
All models have access to the same color palette. The only no-cost color options are black or white. Porsche's $800 metallic palette consists of colors like Carrara White, Jet Black, Quartzite Grey, Dolomite Silver, Moonlight Blue, and Mahogany. There are three special color options, each retailing for $3,150. These options include Chalk, Carmine Red, and Cashmere Beige. You can also go the paint-to-sample route, but this costs a hefty $11,430.
All Cayenne Coupes have the same eight-speed automatic transmission, sending power to an active all-wheel-drive system. All models come with the Sport Chrono Package as standard.
Porsche recently started replacing its older turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 engine with a newer 2.9-liter twin-turbocharged V6 powertrain. Unfortunately, the base Cayenne Coupe soldiers on with the old engine, producing 335 hp and 332 lb-ft of torque. It's powerful enough to get the base model from 0 to 60 mph in 5.7 seconds and on to a top speed of 150 mph. The S uses the new 2.9-liter twin-turbo V6, good for 434 hp and 405 lb-ft of torque. The sprint to 60 mph dips down to 4.7 seconds, while the top speed increases to 163 mph. With 455 hp, the Cayenne E-Hybrid Coupe isn't much slower, requiring 4.8 seconds for the 0-60 sprint before reaching a top speed of 157 mph. In all-electric mode, it reaches a top speed of 83 mph.
Porsche's go-faster GTS has a twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V8 producing 453 hp and 457 lb-ft of torque. The power gap between the S and GTS is not that big, which is why the sprint to 60 mph takes 4.2 seconds, and the top speed increases by just four mph. It does add a lot of character, however. The V8 makes a dirty, intoxicating noise that neither V6 can match. The Cayenne Coupe is not just about performance. Porsche built these things with practicality in mind, so each model has a 7,700 lbs tow rating. That's enough to tow your stripped-out 911 project car from home to the track.
There are four powertrains, each using the same eight-speed automatic transmission and an AWD system. The 3.0-liter turbocharged V6 in the base model produces 335 hp from 5,300 rpm, while the 332 lb-ft of torque is available from 1,340 rpm. The 2.9-liter V6 in the Cayenne S generates 434 horses from 5,700 rpm and its maximum torque of 405 lb-ft from 1,800 rpm. The GTS's V8 only produces its full 453 hp from a lofty 6,000 rpm, but the 457 lb-ft of torque is available from 1,800 rpm. Finally, the Cayenne E-Hybrid pairs the 3.0-liter V6 with an electric motor. The electric motor makes 134 hp and 295 lb-ft on its own, and combined outputs are 455 hp and 516 lb-ft.
All Cayenne Coupes provided spirited performance but the GTS we drove was on another level. There's no hesitation from the throttle in any mode, and the paddle shifters swap cogs about as fast as a standard automatic transmission can. If you hammer it on the expressway it'll drop three gears in an instant, and slingshot you past traffic, and the triple-digit barrier. Unlike the V6 in the Cayenne that almost sounds like a flat-six, this 4.0-liter sounded like an all-American Chevy at full tilt.
The Cayenne saved Porsche when times were tough 20 years ago. And though a lot of hardcore enthusiasts complained, but Porsche managed to successfully instill its company ethos into the SUV. There would be no 911 if there was no Cayenne. Early ones drove well, but later versions, and this Coupe, were even better.
The legendary Porsche "feel" always starts with handling. Before it attained supercar status, the 911 would still out corner and out brake the Ferraris and Lamborghinis of the world. And this Cayenne Coupe GTS will do the same to faster SUV "coupes." The suede-covered wheel was thick, and felt like a couple of baseball bats in our hands. Even in the Normal driving mode, it took a good amount of effort to turn. When the road waves and ripples, the steering wheel reacts. Some automakers want to tune that out, others want to dial it in.
As you go up in modes, to Sport and Sport Plus, the steering gets even more sensitive, but still heavy, and the eight-speed automatic shifts faster. The adaptive suspension visually hunkers down the body and the V8 gets louder. In case we haven't made our point clear, the Cayenne Coupe GTS is a thrilling SUV to drive fast.
Looking at the Cayenne Coupe ICE range's gas mileage figures, it's not hard to see why so many people opt for the E-Hybrid models these days. At the time of writing, only 2021 EPA figures were available but these are not expected to change for 2022 models. According to the EPA, the base Coupe can do 19/23/20 mpg city/highway/combined, dropping to 18/22/19 mpg in S guise. The GTS seems to have an insatiable appetite for gas. Its EPA-estimated figures are 15/19/17 mpg. The much more efficient E-Hybrid returns 21 mpg combined on gas alone or 46 MPGe when the electric motor is taken into account. It can also be driven for about 16 miles on electric power alone.
All non-hybrid models have a 23.7-gallon tank. The base model will go 474 miles between refills, and the S can manage 450 miles. The GTS can do just over 400 miles on a single tank. A smaller 19.8-gallon gas tank is equipped with the E-Hybrid.
We're happy to report that Porsche went for a 2+2 interior layout rather than marketing the Cayenne Coupe as a five-seater. Rear headroom may be tight, but at least both passengers get their own comfortable bucket-like seat with decent side bolstering. Material quality is good, even though the Cayenne only comes standard with partial leather seats. The ergonomics are spot-on, with all the primary driving-related settings housed next to the shifter. An expensive-looking analog timepiece is mounted on top of the dashboard, adding a touch of class in a sea of modern technology. We like the various touch-sensitive interfaces, but these newfangled haptic feedback buttons require some getting used to. They don't always respond immediately, but we do like the concept. Perhaps that's something Porsche can work on in the future.
The front seats feature black bolsters that flatten when you turn the car off for easier entry and exit, and accent the white and black pattern mentioned above. Those Cayenne seats have plenty of adjustment, fitting anyone from a professional figure skater to professional strongman.
The front seat felt roomy, with suede covering most of the touch points. The bolsters also flattened when the car turns off, meaning it was easy to slip back into them before they tightened up when reentering the vehicle.
At the back, a 2+1 seating arrangement is an option and adds a narrower center rear seat. We hopped back there and at least in the outboard seats, there was plenty of space for an average human with another average human in the front seat. Headroom was fine for a 5-foot, 10-inch adult or two, but three adults in the back would be tight.
The base Coupe, the S, and the E-Hybrid have the same interior options, with minor changes in pricing as you upgrade the upholstery. On the base Cayenne Coupe, standard partial leather options include the no-cost Black, Slate Grey, and Black/Silver Houndstooth. Oddly, the Houndstooth upholstery requires equipping the Lightweight Sport Package for $13,990. The Black/Mojave Beige option costs an additional $390. After this, there are many more upholstery choices depending on your taste and budget.
A Race-Tex leather interior in Black/Silver Houndstooth is available for $3,760 but once again requires the Lightweight Sport Package. There are multiple full leather interior options available with standard Black and Slate Grey each adding $3,760 to the price. Black/Bordeaux Red, Black/Mojave Beige (also requires heated front seats for $530), Slate Grey/Mojave Beige, and Graphite Blue/Chalk cost $4,180 each.
There are two Club Leather options. Truffle Brown costs $5,170, while a mix of Truffle Brown and Cohiba Brown retails for $5,740. Both of these options require the addition of 14-way power front seats for $1,680. The GTS ships standard with a black Race-Tex and leather interior, but two GTS interior packages are available. The Black/Chalk and Black/Carmine Red add $2,970 each. The same leather and Club Leather options are also available to the GTS but they have much lower prices.
The Cayenne Coupe's design impacted cargo capacity, but there's still enough of it left over for the vehicle to be considered spacious. It has 22 cubic feet of cargo capacity, which is plenty for four people. The GTS has a slightly smaller trunk, measuring in at 21.1 cubes, and the E-Hybrid the smallest trunk of all at 17.6 cubes. That's smaller than both the BMW X6 with 27.4 cubic feet behind the second row and the Mercedes GLE Coupe with 27.5 cubic feet. The rear seats can be folded down in a 40/20/40 split, increasing the cargo capacity to 54.3 cubes in the Cayenne/Cayenne S, 53.4 cubes in the GTS, and 50.8 cubes in the E-Hybrid.
Interior storage space is plentiful. Because there's no rear middle seat, rear passengers get their own center armrest with storage. Front passengers also get a center armrest and two cupholders. The door pockets are large all around, which means this impractical-looking SUV is more sensible than you might think.
All new Cayenne Coupes are reasonably rather than generously equipped as standard. All models get a power rear hatch, a fixed panoramic glass roof, heated power-folding side mirrors, an adaptive rear spoiler, dual-zone climate control, cruise control, keyless entry with push-button start, parking sensors front and rear, and a rearview camera. The eight-way adjustable front sport seats include power adjustment of the seat height and backrest angle. The GTS has model-specific sport seats and adaptive LED lights that swivel based on the steering angle. All models are equipped with the Sport Chrono Package as standard, which, among other things, includes launch control.
There are numerous features available on the options list. Many of these should be standard considering the Cayenne Coupe's price and we're referring to items like heated front seats, a heated steering wheel, and adaptive cruise control. Other options include a 360-degree camera system, quad-zone climate control, and massaging front seats.
Porsche's 12.3-inch touchscreen interface remains but it has been improved this year and finally includes wired Android Auto functionality. Buyers also get wireless Apple CarPlay, navigation, a Wi-Fi hotspot, voice control, SiriusXM satellite radio, HD Radio, and a 10-speaker sound system. The system was miles ahead of the previous Porsche unit and was generally easy to learn. Extras include a 14-speaker Bose sound system or a 21-speaker setup from Burmester. The GTS we had on test was equipped with the Bose system and seemed plenty loud. One can also spec a pair of 10.1-inch rear-seat entertainment screens with Bluetooth and SD card compatibility, as well as headphones. As standard, the system includes a pair of USB-C ports in each row.
According to J.D. Power, the most recent Cayenne Coupe model to be evaluated had a quality and reliability rating of 78 out of 100. The 2022 Porsche Cayenne Coupe had not been recalled for any issues at the time of writing so we hope that this doesn't change. The 2021 Cayenne Coupe was recalled a couple of times, however. Problems included rear axle lock nuts that may break, a missing seat heater that could prevent deployment of the airbag in a crash, and a steering column that could detach. Finally, the 2021 GTS was affected by a recall for an engine cylinder bore surface that could develop cracks.
All Cayennes are covered by a four-year/50,000-mile basic and powertrain warranty. As a bonus, Porsche includes a one-year/10,000-mile maintenance plan. At least the first service is covered by Porsche.
Local authorities have yet to review the Cayenne Coupe for crashworthiness. The folks over the pond (Euro NCAP) gave the regular Cayenne SUV a five-star rating, but their crash tests are not as comprehensive as American tests. At least it gives us an indication of the basic safety level, and we have no doubt that all configurations of the Cayenne Coupe will keep its occupants safe in the event of a crash.
The new Cayenne Coupe comes standard with ten airbags. The suite includes dual front, dual front knee, front side, rear side, and curtain airbags. ABS, traction and stability control, a rearview camera, front/rear parking sensors, and forward collision warning with autonomous braking are all also standard. Unfortunately, every other driver-assist technology costs extra.
These include adaptive cruise control, a head-up display, a surround-view camera, night vision assist, lane-keep assist, traffic sign recognition, remote park assist, and lane change assist.
As we said, the Volkswagen Group's coupe-SUVs are the best looking of the bunch and the only ones we'd recommend on looks alone. We'll accept that the BMW X6 and Mercedes GLE coupe are both great performers. However, they're not as great as what Porsche is building in Stuttgart.
Without a doubt, the Cayenne Coupe is at the expensive end of the spectrum in its segment. It starts off at a higher price point than the Audi Q8, BMW X6 and Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupe. In the case of our tester, we're talking a well optioned GTS trim here, which comes in at an eye-watering $111,700.
Of all the coupe-SUVs, it comes down to the Cayenne and the SQ8 for us. Though more powerful, not even the Lamborghini Urus feels like a true Porsche the way the Cayenne does. It comes down to handling and feel, and the Cayenne Coupe has those down pat.
The price of the Porsche Cayenne Coupe begins at $77,500 MSRP for the entry-level model. It's followed by the E-Hybrid at $88,600, the S at $91,100, and the GTS at $111,700. These prices exclude the $1,350 destination charge in the US.
We turned to the configurator to see how much a GTS would cost if you added some niceties. We went for a Carmine Red exterior, 22-inch Jet Black classic design wheels, the Black/Carmine Red GTS interior, the 18-way power-adjustable adaptive sport seats with memory, the Assistance Package, the Premium Package Plus, and rear-axle steering. Including destination, the total came to over $133,000. There's no shortage of amazing go-faster SUVs at that price.
There are four models in the Cayenne Coupe range: Coupe, E-Hybrid Coupe, S Coupe, and GTS Coupe. The base model is powered by a turbocharged 3.0-liter V6, while the S gets a twin-turbocharged 2.9-liter V6. Going a more efficient route is the E-Hybrid which combines a 3.0-liter V6 with an electric motor. The GTS is equipped with a twin-turbo V8. All models have an eight-speed automatic transmission sending the power to an intelligent AWD system.
All models get power-adjustable front seats, dual-zone climate control, a panoramic glass roof, and an active spoiler. A 12.3-inch touchscreen interface is also standard, and it boasts wireless Apple CarPlay and wired Android Auto. A 10-speaker sound system is common to all trims, but Bose and Burmester units are available optionally.
Standard safety items include forward collision warning with autonomous braking, ten airbags, ABS, traction and stability control, a rearview camera, and parking sensors front and rear.
There are loads of standalone options available, but Porsche also does packages. The prices reflected below are for the base Cayenne Coupe, with some differences in the cost on upper trims. The Premium Package ($4,980) includes 14-way power-adjustable seats, dynamic front lights, a Bose surround sound system, comfort access, heated front seats, and ambient lighting.
The Premium Package Plus ($7,460) ramps the luxury up even further. It includes everything from the standard Premium Package plus four-zone climate control, heated and ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, and LED-Matrix design headlights.
The $4,900 Performance Package adds rear-axle steering, an adaptive air suspension, and a sport exhaust system with your choice of silver or black tailpipes.
Porsche also combines its luxury and styling packages. The Premium Package Plus and Lightweight Sport Package in Carbon Fiber includes all of the goodies in the Premium Plus package, plus a sportier design package, a carbon fiber roof, 22-inch GT Design wheels, and a roof lining in Race-Tex. It costs $24,620. That's a bit steep, but it may be worth investigating whether it would be cheaper going for this all-inclusive package rather than picking a bunch of standalone options.
If you prefer to pick your options individually, a few of the many examples are a surround-view camera system ($1,200), adaptive cruise control ($2,000), and the high-end Burmester sound system ($7,000).
As much as we love the GTS trim with its lowered stance and center-exit exhaust, the cheaper E-Hybrid deserves a hard look. It makes 455 hp and 516 lb-ft between its turbocharged V6 and electric motor. Porsche's hybrid systems are also some of the best. If you have it in Eco mode it'll sail on the expressway with the engine off at 80 mph, just to gently kick back on when you need it. That one starts at a base price of $88,600 in the USA and it would be our choice of Cayenne Coupe.
The standard Cayenne is a brilliant SUV. In fact, you could argue that Porsche was the first manufacturer to build an SUV that handled like a sporty sedan. It has more space on the inside and it comes with five seats. By comparison, the Cayenne Coupe has less trunk space and yet it costs more. The Cayenne weighs a little more, but you can only tell under hard acceleration from a standing start. Once it's on the move, it covers miles at an alarming pace. It's also less conspicuous than the Coupe, which means you can (allegedly) get away with more. Still, we do like the Coupe's styling. The Porsche Cayenne Coupe and Audi Q8 are the only SUV Coupes that seem to be universally appealing. It's also worth remembering that the Coupe comes as standard with the Sport Chrono Package, making it more of a driver's car than the regular SUV. Both are great vehicles but we prefer the sportier Coupe.
First, there was the Cayenne, and then came the smaller, lighter Macan. Porsche was already three generations into the Cayenne while developing the Macan, and it shows. It's a blistering little SUV providing some in-house competition for the Cayenne Coupe, but it tends to feel slightly clinical. You get the feeling that no matter how hard you push, its German brain is wondering, "is zat ze best you can do Americaner?"
The latest Macan GTS boasts 434 hp, which is appealing. We like the base four-cylinder even more, though. It's the same engine used in the Golf GTI, and it is stunning. With less weight up front, the Macan is also keener to turn into a bend. Sure, the performance isn't mind-blowing from a standing start, but once you're on the move, you realize that the four-pot is more than up to the task. If you don't need the extra space, go for the Macan. But if you need something bigger or simply want to make a statement, opt for the Cayenne Coupe. Preferably in the boisterous GTS trim.
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