by Sebastian Cenizo
Several performance-enhanced coupe SUVs have popped out of the woodwork lately, with Stuttgart's greatest, the originator of the original high-performance SUV finally coming to the party with the Porsche Cayenne Coupe. It's a case of better late than never, though, as the Cayenne Coupe takes the winning recipe of the standard midsize SUV and adds a dash of flair and added performance. The coupe may be less practical, but its sleek shape and added standard features make it highly attractive. Thanks to the return of the GTS model, you don't have to go for a Turbo model to have a big V8 with plenty of power in a coupe body. The rest of the lineup isn't bad either, with the base model offering a 3.0-liter turbocharged V6 that produces 335 horsepower and 332 lb-ft of torque. In the middle is the S variant that uses a 2.9-liter twin-turbo V6 producing 434 hp and 405 lb-ft. The GTS fills the top spot in the non-Turbo range; it has a 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 borrowed from the Turbo model but turned down to 453 hp and 405 lb-ft. All feature an eight-speed automatic transmission, directing power to all four wheels, and unlike the standard SUV, all benefit from the Sport Chrono Package as standard with included launch control functionality. But are any of them worth considering above the competition, which comes from the BMW X6 and Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class Coupe?
The Cayenne coupe and its S variation are unchanged in the US 2021, which is no surprise considering that we only got the all-new model for the first time last year. What is new is the addition of the GTS model to the lineup. Along with a bigger engine and more standard features, many of which are performance-oriented, the GTS also boasts subtle styling changes that include satin black badges and black headlight surrounds. The GTS is also slightly longer and marginally wider than lesser variants.
As you'd expect from a Porsche, signature four-point LED running lights feature inside LED headlight housings. Each model boasts a fixed panoramic glass roof, a roof spoiler, and an adaptive rear hatch spoiler. Quad-exit exhaust tips, a faux diffuser, LED taillights, and 20-inch wheels are also on display, but GTS models boast 21-inch wheels and center-exit twin exhaust pipes. GTS models also wear the Sport Design package, which makes subtle styling changes to the body. This package is available in the usual plastic, or you can opt for the addition of carbon to the exterior of any model. An alternative package adds carbon accents, too, but also includes a carbon roof and 22-inch wheels.
Depending on which model you buy, each variation of the Cayenne coupe has slightly different dimensions. The Cayenne and Cayenne S are identical when it comes to body size. Length measures 194.2 inches with width measuring 78.1 inches, excluding the mirrors. Height is 66 inches on the dot, and the wheelbase is 114 inches. On the GTS, the length is slightly greater at 194.5 inches, and width increases to 78.6 inches. Height is lowered to 64.7 inches, but all other measurements are identical. Curb weight starts at 4,663 pounds for the base model, with the S and GTS weighing in at 4,725 and 4,932 lbs, respectively.
Should you wish to go off-road, base and S models equipped with steel suspension have an approach angle of 25.2 degrees, while break-over and departure angles measure 18.7 and 22 degrees. Ground clearance is 8.2 inches. Add air suspension and the approach, break-over, and departure angles measure 27.5, 21.3, and 24.2 degrees, respectively, while ground clearance increases to 8.4 inches at regular height and 9.6 inches at max height.
Each variant of the Cayenne coupe is very similar except when it comes to what powers it. See, all three feature an all-wheel-drive system and an eight-speed Tiptronic S automatic transmission. Whichever model you go for, this gearbox is delightfully smooth and offers gearchanges at just the right time. However, if you put the transmission into its manual mode, it continues to impress with sharp changes just as quickly as you ask for them.
But what about power? The base engine is a 3.0-liter turbocharged V6 with 335 hp and 332 lb-ft of torque that allows it to accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in just 5.7 seconds, up to a top speed of 150 mph. Although quick, this particular engine isn't going to raise the hairs on the back of your neck. If that's your desire, don't settle for less than the Cayenne S, with its 2.9-liter twin-turbo V6 that sends 434 hp and 405 lb-ft to the wheels, enabling a 0-60 mph time of 4.7 seconds while top speed is limited to 163 mph. But the one we're interested in is the Cayenne GTS coupe. It is powered by the same 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 found in higher models but in a slightly lower state of tune. With 453 hp and 457 lb-ft of torque on tap, the GTS can rocket from 0-60 mph in just 4.2 seconds and achieve a top speed of 167 mph. Fortunately, it doesn't matter which model you opt for - they all come with the Sport Chrono package, which includes the novelty of launch control that will help you smoke almost anything that pulls up beside you at the lights. Additionally, each model can safely tow up to 7,700 pounds.
Because there's a Porsche badge on the front of this particular style of performance SUV, the Cayenne Coupe is about more than just its acceleration and top speed figures. It also handles beautifully and will surprise much smaller and lighter vehicles with its tremendous cornering ability. All models feature Porsche's 4D-Chassis Control system, which analyzes everything from pitch and roll to center of gravity. All of this works with the adaptive suspension to ensure that corners are taken with optimal composure. On the GTS, you also get a brake-based electronic differential and active torque vectoring. If you want to maximize ability at lower speeds and stability at higher velocities, rear-axle steering is also available. Whatever your final setup, the ride is remarkably good for something that handles like this, but beware of going too big on the wheels, as there's only so much discomfort that the suspension can shelter you from. In terms of braking, the Cayenne coupe is pretty good and is easy enough to modulate, but it's the optional surface coated brakes that really excel at bringing the hulking SUV to a stop.
Thus far, no official consumption claims have been made by Porsche, and the EPA does not have a rating, but with no changes from the previous year, the review of the Porsche Cayenne Coupe from 2020 should be a good gauge. Last year, the base Cayenne coupe achieved 19/23/20 mpg on the city/highway/combined cycles, while the S returned figures of 18/22/20 mpg on the same cycles. Thanks to a 23.7-gallon gas tank that means the base variant will have an average mixed driving range of around 474 miles. The GTS is likely to deliver similar gas mileage figures to the Cayenne Turbo Coupe, which achieved 15/19/17 mpg.
Due to its coupe styling and sloping roofline, the Cayenne coupe is offered as standard with a 2+2 seating layout, and it's not bad in the back for adults. Headroom is decent and legroom is good, although not as good as in the regular Cayenne. Still, if you want to squeeze three people in the back, a 2+1 layout is available for the rear, but even an average-sized adult won't be comfortable over an extended journey in the middle seat.
In the front row, things are much better thanks to eight-way power-adjustable seats that are both comfortable and supportive, with everything in easy reach of the forward occupants. However, you can upgrade to 14-way power seats with memory or even 18-way adaptive seats that hug you in the corners. The only downside to the interior is that the rear window is rather small, and seeing out the back can be tricky.
The Cayenne coupe is more of a lifestyle statement than a practical family companion, but it's still remarkably spacious with 22 cubic feet of cargo volume with the seats up. Fold the rear seats in their 40/20/40 split and you can access as much as 54.3 cubes. However, you should remember that the GTS version is slightly less accommodating. Its figures read as 21.1 cubes with the seats up and 53.4 with them down. Still, there's enough space behind the second row to allow all four occupants to bring luggage.
Four cupholders are supplemented by an equal number of well-sized door pockets, each with bottle recesses. Each row also gets center armrest storage, and there's an adequate glovebox, too.
As standard, each variant of the Cayenne coupe comes with an impressive list of standard features. This includes automatic stop/start technology, adaptive suspension dampers, rain-sensing wipers, heated power-folding mirrors, an automated rear hatch, a fixed panoramic glass roof, and dual-zone automatic climate control. You also get an adaptive rear spoiler, power front seats, cruise control, a rearview camera, front and rear parking sensors, launch control, keyless ignition, and forward collision alert with automatic emergency braking. The GTS boasts adaptive air suspension as standard, along with adaptive LED headlights. Options are numerous and include heated and ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, a heated steering wheel, a surround-view camera, adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go, a head-up display, a night vision camera, and traffic sign recognition. Ambient lighting, quad-zone climate control, massaging front seats, soft-close doors, and power rear sun blinds are also offered.
Porsche's 12.3-inch touchscreen display dominates the dash of the Cayenne coupe and looks right at home doing so. The graphics and images displayed are attractive, and the operation is intuitive and straightforward, but it's still missing Android Auto. Fortunately, you get wireless Apple CarPlay, four USB-C ports, aux input, Bluetooth, navigation, a Wi-Fi hotspot, SiriusXM satellite radio, HD Radio, and voice control. This sends output to an impressive 10-speaker sound system, but 14-speaker and 21-speaker upgrades are available from Bose and Burmester, the former found standard on the GTS. You can also opt for a pair of 10-inch rear-seat screens that offer Bluetooth and SD card compatibility and come with their own headphones.
Thus far, 2021's Cayenne coupe has been completely free of recalls, but it is worth noting that last year's model sustained two. The most recent was issued in May 2020, for a leaking transmission oil pipe, while October 2019 saw a recall for brake pad wear light that did not illuminate.
If reliability is a concern, Porsche provides a four-year/50,000-mile limited, powertrain, and paint warranty, while corrosion is covered for 12 years, and a single year or 10,000 miles of maintenance is offered at no charge.
The Cayenne Coupe's reviews in terms of safety are nonexistent, as neither the NHTSA nor the IIHS have crash-tested it, but that is not uncommon in this price bracket.
Quelling any concerns you may have, the Cayenne coupe comes with frontal, side-impact, overhead, and knee airbags as standard, while rear side airbags bring the total up to ten. It also boasts forward collision alert with automatic emergency braking, a rearview camera, parking sensors, cornering LED headlights, and rain-sensing wipers. Optional safety equipment includes adaptive cruise control with traffic sign recognition and traffic jam assist, a surround-view camera, a head-up display, adaptive LED Matrix headlights, and a night vision camera. Lane keep assist and blind-spot monitoring are also available.
The new Cayenne coupe is naturally less practical than the regular Cayenne, but its style and impressive standard features make it just as attractive, if not more so. In addition, now that there's a GTS variant, the Cayenne coupe is something of a performance bargain, especially considering that this model boasts the Turbo's exquisite twin-turbo V8. However, it does have its faults when compared to competitors. The options list is long and extremely pricey, and if you're buying a Porsche, you want it to be the best at what it can do. The only way to ensure that is to tick numerous boxes, and this can take the sporty SUV into the price territory of much faster, more exclusive metal. Still, as a compromise that covers the bases of practicality and power to a more than acceptable degree, we think the Cayenne Coupe is worth considering.
There's no such thing as a cheap Porsche. The cheapest option here is naturally the base model, and it costs $76,500 before a $1,350 delivery charge. The mid-level Cayenne S will set you back at least $89,000, and the top-spec GTS model costs a whopping $110,500 MSRP. Fully loaded, the price of the Porsche Cayenne coupe can be excess of $177,000, and it could surpass that depending on just how much you want to add on.
The most straightforward answer to the above question is almost always to avoid the base configuration, and in this case, we feel that this answer still holds water. It's not a terrible vehicle, but when you buy a Porsche, you want a bit of fire in your drive, and the base Cayenne doesn't really deliver. On the other end of the scale is the GTS, which is a remarkably good vehicle, but it is likely to cost a fortune in gas and is anything but cheap to buy. Instead, we'd opt for the mid-level Cayenne S coupe, and spend some extra cash on upgrades like heated and ventilated seats, quad-zone climate control, a head-up display, and adaptive cruise control. With all this, you have a well-rounded vehicle that perfectly blends performance, luxury, and safety.
The regular Cayenne is a tempting proposition - especially for those who don't have much interest in performance but still want the exclusive badge on the hood. It's much more spacious in comparison thanks to a maximum cargo capacity of 60.3 cubic feet, and it will seat five in greater comfort. Additionally, it's considerably cheaper at a base price of $66,800. Adding to that is that the Cayenne is available with the same engines that boast the same power figures. Naturally, its higher weight figure means it's not as quick, but really, how fast do you need to be in an SUV? However, if you value standard features, it's worth remembering that the coupe gets more of them, one of which is the Sport Chrono Package. Ultimately, the coupe is precisely what it's supposed to be: the sportier alternative to the practical Cayenne.
Like the Cayenne variants, the Macan is also available in base, S, and GTS flavors in the USA. However, the base model here has a 2.0-liter turbo-four with just 248 hp, while the top GTS trim features the Cayenne S coupe's 2.9-liter twin-turbo V6 with slightly lower outputs of 375 hp. As you'd expect, the Macan is a lot less spacious for rear-seat occupants and only offers a maximum of 52.9 cubic feet of trunk space. Still, if you're not expecting the regular company of six-footers in the back seat, the overall cargo capacity is only marginally down from that of the Cayenne Coupe. Also worth considering is price. For the same money as a fully loaded Cayenne coupe, you could buy three Macans. As a city runaround, we'd recommend the Macan, but as a sporty SUV that offers as much luxury as possible, the Cayenne is still the way to go.