by Karl Furlong
Porsche is a surprisingly late entrant to the coupe-SUV game. It's been over a decade since BMW first introduced its X6, while Mercedes-Benz has its GLE Coupe for buyers enamored by this body style of SUV that mixes a raised ride height and butch proportions with a coupe-like roofline. It seems that Porsche has done its homework, though, because the Cayenne Turbo Coupe gives away very little to the Cayenne Turbo in terms of cargo capacity or rear passenger space. Being a Turbo, it is as viciously fast as other Porsche models wearing that hallowed badge. 0-60 mph is dispatched in a mere 3.7 seconds despite the Cayenne Turbo Coupe's heft of over 5,000 pounds; you can thank the 541-horsepower twin-turbocharged V8 for that. The straight-line pace is matched by a balance and poise when the road gets twisty that seems reserved only for Porsche SUVs. If this is the sort of vehicle you must have, the Cayenne Turbo Coupe is one of the best of the breed.
The Cayenne Coupe is an all-new extension of the Cayenne range, offering similar performance but with the coupe-SUV body style that has brought BMW such success with its X6. In Turbo form, the Cayenne Coupe boasts a 541-horsepower twin-turbocharged V8 engine and a sloping roofline at the back. It also differs from the Cayenne Turbo by being half an inch longer but 32 pounds lighter. Otherwise, the Cayenne Turbo Coupe has a similarly high level of features like a panoramic roof system, an adaptive air suspension, 21-inch wheels, and an adaptive rear spoiler.
4.0-liter Twin-Turbo V8 Gas
The design of the Cayenne Turbo Coupe is the primary reason that most would consider this crossover over the blockier Cayenne. From the front, it's difficult to spot the differences between the two, but from the side, the more steeply angled roofline is clear. While both the Cayenne and Cayenne Coupe have slim taillights, the coupe's license plate sits lower down and it's just that little bit sleeker overall. Being the Turbo, this particular Cayenne Coupe is beefed up with 21-inch alloy wheels, a fixed panoramic roof, twin dual-tube Turbo tailpipes, an adaptive rear spoiler, and LED headlights with Porsche's trademark four-point LED daytime running lights.
The Cayenne Turbo Coupe is half an inch longer but 0.8 inches lower than the Cayenne Turbo. Key dimensions are 194.5 inches in length, 78.3 inches wide (with the mirrors folded), 65.1 inches in height, and with a 114-inch wheelbase. Curb weight works out to 5,024 pounds, 32 lbs lighter than the Cayenne Turbo. Not many owners would dare to take the Cayenne Turbo Coupe off-road, but if so, it has a maximum ground clearance of 9.6 inches (the same as the Cayenne Turbo) with the air suspension at its highest setting. The crossover's wading depth is 20.8 inches.
At the heart of the Cayenne Turbo Coupe is a 4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V8 engine pumping out 541 horsepower and 568 lb-ft of torque. Power is sent to all four wheels via an eight-speed Tiptronic S automatic transmission - Porsche's brilliant PDK double-clutch means that the crossover wouldn't be able to achieve its 7,700-pound maximum towing capacity. Not that it matters, because the gearbox is still brilliantly paired with the V8 to deliver mind-boggling acceleration. The standard Sport Chrono Package allows the Cayenne Turbo Coupe to hit 60 mph in only 3.7 seconds on its way to a maximum speed of 177 mph. That's exactly the same 0-60 time that BMW claims for the X6 M Competition, but the heavier Bimmer requires all of its 617 hp to match the Porsche. Throttle response is brilliant and detecting turbo lag is an almost pointless undertaking. Porsche's older 4.8-liter V8 sounded a bit better than the latest 4.0-liter, but there is still a pleasing V8 growl. There are no complaints with the auto 'box which is smooth when you want it to be but executes rapid gear changes when called upon to do so.
Sharing the Cayenne Turbo's driving manners is the best compliment we can give the Cayenne Turbo Coupe. Like the more conventional SUV, the Cayenne Coupe masks its size like no other crossover of this size and weight. That said, Porsche's available rear-axle steering is what we consider to be a vital addition as this really increases the big SUV's nimble feel, expertly keeping understeer at bay - it's a $1,620 option. The Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM) system, meanwhile, increases agility by reducing body lean. Working in conjunction with PASM is Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control (PDCC), but it's also an added extra at $3,590. Without these options, the Cayenne Turbo Coupe still handles exceptionally well and provides the sort of communicative steering feedback that you don't expect from such a large vehicle. But the extras really do help to manage the Cayenne's significant bulk.
When you aren't hurtling along in Sport+ mode, the Cayenne Turbo Coupe is a comfortable highway companion, soaking up surface imperfections and keeping most noises from reaching the cabin. The Porsche Surface Coated Brakes (PSCB) with ten-piston front calipers and four-piston calipers at the back have no problem reining in the big Porsche from high speeds.
EPA-rated economy estimates weren't available for the Cayenne Turbo Coupe at the time of writing, but we anticipate that they'll match or be very close to the Cayenne Turbo's 15/19/17 mpg on the city/highway/combined cycles, since both SUVs weigh nearly the same and use the same engine. In other words, this SUV will ensure that you become a regular at your local gas station. Based on these consumption figures, a mixed driving range of about 403 miles should be possible on a 23.7-gallon tank of premium gasoline.
The Cayenne Turbo Coupe seats four passengers by default, with individual rear seats separated by a shallow storage compartment. However, a 2+1 seat can be ordered for the back at no additional cost, increasing the overall seating capacity to five. In front, the airy cabin offers plenty of legroom and headroom for six-footers. Impressively, there are no real compromises in the back, either, where a lack of headroom often afflicts SUVs with a sloping roofline. Porsche has achieved this by lowering the coupe's rear seat by just over an inch (relative to the standard Cayenne) to free up more space above occupants' heads. It must be noted that if you opt for the 2+1 arrangement, the middle rear-seat passenger does lose out on some head clearance. Although the sloping rear roofline necessitates extra care when getting into or out of the back seat, ingress and egress are generally fine.
Measuring 21.1 cubic feet, the Cayenne Turbo Coupe has a well-sized trunk that is about five cubes down on the regular Cayenne. While the space available is still plenty for large suitcases or a set of golf clubs, the sloping roof limits the height of objects that can be accommodated. Folding down the rear seat increases total cargo capacity to 53.4 cubes. For stashing small items, the usual glovebox (which is on the small side) is supplemented by a storage bin in the center console, well-sized front and rear door pockets, and a storage compartment in the rear armrest. The door pockets have bottle holders and there are a total of four dedicated cupholders.
As standard, the Cayenne Turbo Coupe is equipped with a heated steering wheel (which can be adjusted electrically), 18-way power-adjustable front seats with memory, front and rear seat heating, dual-zone automatic climate control, an automatic rear hatch, a fixed panoramic roof, front and rear ParkAssist with a rearview camera, and a HomeLink garage door opener. Three 12V plug sockets are fitted along with four USB-C charging ports. Disappointingly for such an expensive SUV, Porsche has hardly fitted any advanced driver aids as standard, instead, bundling the likes of a head-up display and lane keep assist in an expensive package. These safety features can also be had as standalone options. In addition, four-zone climate control, ventilated seats, and soft-close doors can be specified at extra cost.
The Porsche Communication Management (PCM) system takes center stage. With its 12-inch full-HD touchscreen, touch-sensitive controls lower down, and the driver's semi-digital instrument cluster (the tachometer is still a classic Porsche analog design), the Cayenne Turbo Coupe's cabin feels suitably high-tech. The screen is crisp and quick to respond to inputs, although some of the icons are too small. The infotainment system packs in Apple CarPlay (but no Android Auto), navigation, SiriusXM satellite radio (restricted to a three-month free trial), voice controls, Bluetooth, multiple USB ports, and HD Radio. The standard Bose surround sound system has an output of 710 watts and 14 speakers. Wireless inductive charging is an optional extra, as is a Burmester 3D surround sound system and a rear-seat entertainment system.
According to the NHTSA, the 2020 Cayenne Turbo Coupe was affected by a recall that pertains to other Cayennes, too, whereby the driver wasn't alerted of worn brake pads. Other than that, there have been no other early issues for the crossover, and J.D. Power has rated it a healthy 84 out of 100 overall, indicating impressive quality and predicted reliability.
Porsche's limited vehicle warranty runs for four years or 50,000 miles, whichever comes first, and includes 24-hour roadside assistance. The Cayenne is also covered by a four-year/50,000-mile limited paint warranty and a 12-year/unlimited-mileage corrosion warranty.
The Cayenne Turbo Coupe hasn't been evaluated by the IIHS nor the NHTSA - the same applies to the regular Cayenne. However, with many of the essential safety features in place, the SUV should perform strongly in a crash.
Passengers are protected by ten airbags, including knee airbags for the driver and front passenger, along with rear side airbags. Added to the standard specification is a rearview camera, cruise control, tire pressure monitoring, and the brand's front/rear ParkAssist system. Despite the Cayenne Coupe being an all-new model, Porsche continues to offer close to zero driver aids as standard. So, you'll need to pay extra for lane keep assist, traffic sign recognition, lane change assist, adaptive cruise control, night vision assist, a surround-view system, and a head-up display.
The first-ever Porsche Cayenne Turbo Coupe is a winning performance crossover. It maintains most of the regular Cayenne Turbo's practicality while providing a coupe-SUV style that caters to today's style-conscious market. As expected, the 541-horsepower V8 delivers awe-inspiring performance and the Turbo Coupe handles sublimely for such a heavy SUV. However, you do have to tick a few options for it to do its best stuff, such as the rear-axle steering system. The beautifully appointed cabin is thoroughly modern and surprisingly accommodating, but while there are a decent number of creature comforts, Porsche's refusal to offer any of the most useful driver aids as standard on a six-figure SUV is jarring. It's here that the cheaper and more powerful BMW X6 M makes a strong case for itself, even if it can't out-handle the Cayenne. Well-heeled Porsche fans won't be bothered, though, and we expect the Cayenne Turbo Coupe to sell well.
The single-model Porsche Cayenne Turbo Coupe carries an MSRP of $130,100, excluding the manufacturer's delivery, processing, and handling fee of $1,350. That price also excludes tax, licensing, and registration costs. Some of the essential options we'd go for include the rear-axle steering ($1,620), Porsche Torque Vectoring Plus ($1,500), and the Assistance Package with driver aids like lane keep assist and a surround-view camera ($6,240). Those are just the tip of the iceberg, as it's easy to send the Porsche's price soaring to over $150,000.
You don't get a choice of drivetrain or trim, so the Cayenne Turbo Coupe purchasing experience will come down to how much you're willing to spend on the vast options list. As mentioned, we'd specify our Cayenne Turbo Coupe with the rear-axle steering and the Porsche Torque Vectoring Plus system. The Assistance Package is an eye-watering $6,240, but it brings with it a few essentials - without it, a lowly Honda Civic has more driver aids. As the Cayenne Coupe has a greater focus on styling, we'd also be tempted by a wheel upgrade to really offset its sporty proportions, so throw in the 22-inch RS Spyder Design wheels, too. The total, including destination, works out to $143,190.
The Cayenne Turbo Coupe enters a segment that is already packed with talent. One of those contenders is the BMW X6 M, sporting an epic 4.4-liter twin-turbocharged V8 with 600 hp and 553 lb-ft of torque. In the X6 M Competition, power is up to 617 hp and this version matches the Cayenne Turbo Coupe's 0-60 time of 3.7 seconds. Yet, the Competition costs $12,500 less than the Porsche. The X6 M Competition does all of this while packing in standard features like a head-up display, four-zone climate control, blind-spot detection, and lane departure warning, none of which are standard on the Porsche. It takes a few hairpins before the Cayenne starts to carve out an advantage, using its lighter weight and superior steering feel to provide even more thrills. But the BMW is hardly a boat in the corners, looks even meaner than the Porsche, and matches it with a world-class cabin. We'd go for the less precise but wild X6 M Competition, as it's simply more car for the money.
The Audi RS Q8 isn't here yet, but is it worth waiting for when matched up against the Porsche Cayenne Turbo Coupe? For starters, the RS Q8 is a beastly thing to look at, with giant wheels and a bold interpretation of Audi's Singleframe grille. The 591-hp 4.0-liter V8 will allow the Audi to run with the Porsche in a straight line, while the sticky quattro all-wheel-drive system (and all-wheel steering) should see it carry similarly ballistic velocities through the corners. Like the Porsche, the Audi's cabin is mostly devoid of physical buttons and we expect it to be nothing less than superbly constructed. Until we drive both of these super SUVs, it's hard to make a definitive statement about which one is best. But Audi's most powerful SUV ever is sure to be a close match for the Cayenne Turbo Coupe.
Check out some informative Porsche Cayenne Turbo Coupe video reviews below.