We still don't know why quick SUVs that handle like sports cars exist, but they do, people love them, and they sell. Even Ferrari is in on the game nowadays. The Porsche Cayenne Turbo model we review here isn't quite in that rarified atmosphere of uber-expensive performance SUVs, and we've always loved it for its more sensible blend of practicality, sportiness, and relative attainability. In fact, with a $136k starting price, the 2023 Porsche Cayenne Turbo isn't much more expensive than rivals such as the BMW X5 M, and it's a lot cheaper than the Bentley Bentayga or Lamborghini Urus. It flies down a mountain pass with uncommon vigor, but with "just" 541 horsepower on tap, it's less powerful than most of these rivals. Still, it will get to 60 mph in under four seconds, so it's certainly quick. You'll be buying this car for its all-round talent and driving demeanor, though, which remain hard to beat. A substantially updated new Porsche Cayenne Turbo will be going on sale in the USA soon as a 2024 model, so should you rather wait for that or splurge on this model?
In anticipation of a facelifted model arriving next year, the 2023 Cayenne Turbo carries over unchanged from last year, except for Jet Black being replaced by Chromite Black on the paint palette. There is still only a single Turbo SUV model in the range, and the other variations on the theme - such as the hybridized Turbo models, the Cayenne Turbo Coupe, and the ballistic Turbo GT - are reviewed separately.
With a $135,900 MSRP, the price of a new Porsche Cayenne Turbo is between $10k and $15k higher than those of its Audi and BMW rivals, but still a whopping $100k short of a Lamborghini Urus, so it represents decent performance per dollar. Just keep in mind that a few of the features and driver assists that are usually expected to be standard in an SUV of this price will cost you extra. The destination fee is $1,450 and isn't included in the MSRP either.
See trim levels and configurations:
4.0L Twin-Turbo V8 Gas
Thanks to adaptive air suspension and Porsche 4D-Chassis Control, the Cayenne Turbo exhibits an incredible breadth of driving abilities for an SUV. It shrinks around the driver and feels fleet-footed, cornering like a much lighter car. It grips prodigiously through corners, with very little lean and extremely impressive composure, even at ten-tenths, when rivals start to become ragged and feel the strain. Yet, despite all this, it rides bumps around town with far more composure and refinement than the harsh X5 M and is an obliging day-to-day companion on normal pockmarked city streets. Part of its charm is the weighting of its controls, with the brakes immensely powerful yet progressive and even the steering - often a weak point on quick SUVs - both alert and precise. Agility receives an extra layer of sophistication with the rear-axle steering fitted, a worthwhile extra to also ease low-speed maneuvering. The Cayenne Turbo is set up so brilliantly that it might be accused of being clinical, but there's no denying Porsche's impressive achievement in making a mid-size SUV handle like a sports car.
The Cayenne Turbo is not the last word in value for money, and you pay quite a steep price for an SUV that's still missing some features that are standard on rivals. But the Porsche name comes with an expectation of class-leading chassis dynamics, and the Cayenne Turbo delivers in spades with superb handling and agility for such a heavy car, and excellent day-to-day driving manners as well. If you want as much as possible of that unflappable 911 feel in an SUV, the Turbo will be worth every cent, especially considering it's still so practical and relatively affordable. Porsche has not dropped the ball and has infused the Cayenne Turbo with that essential Porsche x-factor that makes it feel special. It might be worth hanging on for next year's facelift though, despite the expected price increase, because it's not just a mild nip and tuck, but quite a major upgrade with refreshed styling and an upgraded engine.
There's only one trim, so it depends on which extras you add to it. Personalizing it to the nth degree can cost you thousands of dollars in interior and exterior trim options and packages, so we'll leave that up to you, but there are a few essentials worth having. The Assistance package fills in all the driver-assist omissions by adding adaptive cruise control, lane-keep assist, a surround-view camera, a head-up display, and night vision. The rear-axle steering improves handling even further and aids low-speed maneuverability. Together, these add less than $10k to the price.
The most popular competitors of 2023 Porsche Cayenne Turbo: