by Sebastian Cenizo
In an ever-changing market, one has to keep evolving to stay relevant and, more importantly, to stay afloat. Porsche, despite being one of the true leaders in sports car manufacturing, has had to dilute its recipe for car making too. It happened before with the Boxster that saved the company, then again with the Cayenne that inflated turnover and profit. Now, everybody in the premium luxury SUV market wants a slice of the coupe action, and Porsche wants to steal sales from the BMW X6 and Mercedes GLE Coupe. Thus, it brings us the Cayenne Coupe, in regular and S variants. The former has a 3.0-liter turbocharged V6 capable of 335 horsepower and 332 lb-ft of torque, while the latter has a 2.9-liter twin-turbo V6 with 434 hp and 405 lb-ft of torque. Each is equipped with an eight-speed automatic gearbox, not a PDK double-clutch, and an all-wheel-drive system. Based on the regular Cayenne, this model boasts sportier styling, marginally less practicality, and more standard features.
The Cayenne Coupe is an all-new model from Porsche. That's actually a bit of a lie. The Cayenne Coupe is based on the regular Cayenne, a model that is now in its third generation. However many comparisons there are, including the MLBevo platform on which it sits, the Cayenne Coupe is notably different. With a more aggressively sloping roofline, the rear seat has been lowered to accommodate taller individuals. The A-pillars are also more aggressively angled and the rear quarter panels are 0.7 inches wider. An active rear spoiler also features below the tailgate glass and a fixed-glass sunroof is standard, along with the Sport Chrono package that is an option on the regular Cayenne.
The Cayenne Coupe is a pretty thing, arguably much more attractive than the BMW X6. This model features LED lighting all-round, standard 20-inch wheels, a fixed-glass panoramic sunroof, a roof spoiler, and a speed-sensitive deployable hatch spoiler. A diffuser at the rear is framed by dual-exit exhausts on the base model and a quad-exit setup on the S, and each model has access to a lightweight package that adds various carbon accents and deletes the sunroof in favor of a single piece of carbon fiber.
The Cayenne Coupe is lower but longer than the original Cayenne, measuring 194.2 inches from nose to tail (193.7 for the Cayenne) and 66 inches high (66.8 for the Cayenne). Width is identical at 78.1 inches excluding the mirrors, and the wheelbase is the same too, at 114 inches. Curb weight starts at 4,663 lbs for the regular model and 4,725 lbs for the S. With the standard steel suspension, ground clearance is measured at 8.2 inches. On the variable air suspension, that changes to a minimum of 8.4 inches and a maximum of 9.6. With the standard suspension, approach, departure, and breakover angles measure 25.2, 22, and 18.7 degrees respectively. On air, these figures change to 27.5, 24.2, and 21.3 degrees respectively.
The Cayenne Coupe comes with two engine options. In the regular model is a 3.0-liter turbocharged V6 capable of pulling 7,700 lbs, thanks to 332 lb-ft of torque and 335 horsepower. The Cayenne Coupe is fitted with a smaller but more powerful 2.9-liter twin-turbo V6 with 434 hp and 405 lb-ft of torque, but its maximum towing capacity is identical. Both models come with an eight-speed automatic transmission from ZF and power is split between all four wheels.
The difference between these two models lies in their acceleration and top speed capabilities. Both models feature the Sport Chrono package as standard, which includes a launch control function, and the base model can accelerate from 0-60 mph in 5.7 seconds. Top speed is rated at 150 mph, but as impressive as that is, it's not the kind of pin-you-back-in-your-seat performance that Porsche is renowned for. The S, on the other hand, is a different kettle of fish altogether. This accelerates from 0-60 in a much more rapid 4.7 seconds, with top speed capped at 163 mph. Naturally, the Turbo model (reviewed separately) is even quicker, but the Cayenne S Coupe is still quicker than you'd expect from a 4,500-odd-pound SUV.
As we've come to expect, the gearbox is rapid and smooth in equal measure, and the engine provides fantastic throttle response, even if it's the one in the base model. Not quite a supercar killer, but certainly quick enough to obliterate most cars at the lights and on the freeway.
Despite slightly altered looks and numerous body part changes, the Cayenne Coupe retains familiarity by handling in a similar manner to the regular Cayenne SUV. With adaptive dampers as standard, the Cayenne Coupe does a good job of minimizing body roll and tracking true in the bends. Despite this, when you want to relax, the Cayenne Coupe is equally good at providing a compliant and supple ride. With the optional air suspension setup that is also fitted with adaptive dampers, a noticeable increase in comfort is available.
The steering is light at low speeds and firms up appreciably the quicker you go, and the brakes are easy to modulate and strong enough for their purpose. For those who want a more focused driving experience, a rear-axle steering setup can be added too. At low speeds, the rear wheels turn in the opposite direction to the front wheels, effectively shortening the wheelbase and improving low-speed turn-in. At higher speeds, the turn in the same direction for better stability.
While you won't be breaking any records at your local racetrack with this thing, and while the ride won't give a Mercedes S-Class any sleepless nights, the Cayenne Coupe manages to tread the line between the two extremes in an impressive manner.
No official EPA figures have yet been released for the Cayenne Coupe, but with the same engines and similar dimensions to the regular Cayenne, figures of 19/23/20 mpg on the city/highway/combined cycles can be expected for the base model, with the S likely to return figures of 18/22/20 mpg on the same cycles. Assuming these estimates are accurate, the Cayenne Coupe should return around 474 miles of mixed driving range from its 23.7-gallon gas tank.
In standard form, the Cayenne Coupe seats four in a 2+2 configuration, but a three-seater bench is available as a no-cost option for the rear. Thanks to a lowered rear seat to compensate for the more aggressive roofline, the rear seats don't slide forward and backward as they do in the regular Cayenne, but reclining is still available. Nevertheless, the seats are comfortable and spacious enough for a six-footer to be pleasantly accommodated.
In the front, eight-way power-adjustable seats are standard, but various upgrades are available. Among them are 14-way seats with memory functions, but even the standard seats are supportive and allow for a good driving position. The view out is commanding, although the rake of the rear windows hinders visibility out the back slightly compared to in the regular Cayenne.
The Cayenne Coupe, despite the latter half of its name, is impressively practical, offering 22 cubic feet of storage behind the rear seats and a power rear hatch for more convenient loading. If you want to fit more than just luggage for four, the seats can be stowed to open up an impressive 54.3 cubic feet of volume. That said, the regular Cayenne is still more useful with 27.1 and 60.3 cubes respectively.
In the cabin a pair of cupholders in the front and another pair in the back service the occupants, with drinks recesses in the doors supplementing beverage storage. In the standard configuration, a relatively deep storage tray sits between the two rear passengers while the forward occupants get a bin in the center armrest and a decently-sized glovebox.
The Cayenne Coupe comes with a number of standard features that include adaptive dampers, a panoramic sunroof, launch control, rain-sensing wipers, heated mirrors, an adaptive rear spoiler, cornering LED headlights, dual-zone climate control, eight-way power-adjustable front seats, parking sensors, cruise control, keyless ignition, and remote access. Also included are safety features like a rearview camera, forward-collision warning with autonomous emergency braking, and a power tailgate. Three 12V sockets are also dotted around the cabin. Of course, numerous optional extras can be added too, including heated and ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, a surround-view camera, a head-up display, adaptive cruise control with traffic jam assist, lane-keep and lane-change assists, a night vision camera, traffic sign recognition, and adaptive LED Matrix headlights. Also available are features like adaptive air suspension, ambient lighting, four-zone climate control, soft-close doors, a heated windshield, massaging front seats, a heated steering wheel, and power rear sunshades.
The infotainment system is a beautiful piece of equipment, with a 12.3-inch touch display. As standard, the system provides Apple CarPlay, navigation, a Wi-Fi hotspot, voice control, SiriusXM satellite radio, HD Radio, and 10 speakers. The system works well and is easy to understand, and the colors and general imagery are highly impressive. Optionally available are upgrades like a 14-speaker Bose sound system or a majestic 21-speaker setup from Burmester. You can also spec a pair of 10-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 too.
Thus far, the Cayenne Coupe has been subject to one recall, something it shares with the regular Cayenne on which it is based. Issued in late 2019, the recall pertained to an instrument panel that would not display a brake pad wear warning.
In terms of warranties, Porsche offers a limited four-year/50,000-mile warranty along with a 12-year/unlimited-mileage corrosion warranty. One complimentary scheduled maintenance visit is included in the first year or first 10,000 miles of ownership, whichever comes first.
At this stage, no variant of the Porsche Cayenne, including the Coupe, has been tested by the IIHS/NHTSA. This is not uncommon at this price bracket, and with numerous available safety features, we expect the SUV to perform well if it were to be tested.
As standard, the Cayenne Coupe comes with a rearview camera and frontal, side-impact (front and rear), and front knee airbags. Also included are parking sensors, cornering LED headlights, and forward-collision warning with autonomous emergency braking. Optional safety equipment includes a head-up display, a surround-view camera, adaptive cruise control with traffic jam assist, lane-keep assist, lane-change assist, traffic-sign recognition, a night-vision camera, and adaptive LED headlights. Adaptive LED Matrix headlights are also available for even better night-time vision.
The Porsche Cayenne Coupe may be a car built to capitalize on a trend, but its release was delayed for it to be both financially viable and as good as possible, borrowing from the latest iteration of the regular Cayenne. This has made it a competent soft-roader that also has respectable off-road abilities. In addition, as a Porsche model, you get all the usual luxury refinements and performance capabilities that you'd expect. With attractive looks and reasonable practicality as well as comfortable seating for at least four individuals, the Cayenne Coupe is a luxury family car that can tackle almost any task. It is expensive, and it is less spacious than the regular Cayenne, but its looks, additional standard features, and impressive performance could well be enough to justify a purchase. While the regular Cayenne Coupe is more of a warm performance vehicle, the hotter S is much more exciting, and this means that you can justify buying a family car that looks great and still satisfies your need for speed. If not, why not?
The Cayenne Coupe starts at a not-inconsiderable base price of $75,300 before its $1,350 delivery, processing, and handling fee. The faster Cayenne S Coupe, with its subtle styling differences and more powerful engine, starts at $88,600 before fees and taxes. Fully loaded, that figure rises astronomically, to well over $180,000.
Since each Cayenne Coupe offers essentially the same basic equipment and cargo space, the choice will come down to whether you have an interest in speed or not. That said, since the Cayenne S Coupe is only marginally less economical and offers a whole lot more fun, it's hard not to justify. With 434 hp on tap, the Cayenne S Coupe is a properly entertaining SUV, and thanks to standard adaptive dampers, it maintains a strong level of comfort too. For the enthusiast, the Cayenne S will be much more satisfying. However, if speed is not a factor for you, the base model is arguably a better buy. It offers the same practical ability that the S does, is a little more frugal on gas, and costs over $13,000 less. Despite this, it has almost everything that the S does and can tow the same 7,700 lbs worth of trailer. With the money you save on opting for the cheaper model, you can spec adaptive cruise control, heated and ventilated front seats with massage functions, and adaptive LED headlights. This gives you a well-specced Cayenne Coupe with some change left over for an upgraded sound system if you wish.
Despite being bigger than the Cayenne Coupe, the regular Cayenne costs almost 10 grand less, with a base price of $66,800 versus the Coupe's $75,300. However, before you rush off to buy the bigger brother, consider this: the regular Cayenne does without numerous features that are standard on the Coupe. These include a sunroof, six-piston brakes, and an adaptive spoiler. It also doesn't have the Sport Chrono package as standard, while the Coupe has it included for free. It's also not as quick from 0-60 unless you tick the abovementioned package. Nevertheless, the increased luggage space and rear-seat comfort are attractive attributes and those looking to maximize practicality will be better served by the regular Cayenne. Despite a higher curb weight, the regular Cayenne can also tow the same 7,700 lbs that the Coupe can, and is one of the best luxury SUVs on sale.
If your interest in a Porsche SUV is limited to its raised ride height and its brand appeal, the Macan may be an even better buy. A much smaller vehicle than the Cayenne Coupe, this "little" SUV starts at a base price of just $50,900, seriously undercutting the bigger model. However, the base version comes with a 2.0-liter four-pot with 248 hp and 273 lb-ft of torque, and the rear seat doesn't offer enough headroom and legroom for a six-footer to be truly comfortable. It also doesn't have a tow rating, and although an excellent SUV for the city-dweller, it's less comfortable off-road than any Cayenne would be. Performance is also lower, with a top speed of 141 mph. For those who want a stylish luxury car with an elevated ride height and a premium appearance, the Macan is perfect, but the Cayenne Coupe will serve more needs, provided you can pay for it.
Check out some informative Porsche Cayenne Coupe video reviews below.