The Porsche Macan may be the talk of the town, but it’s the Cayenne that first introduced us to the idea of a Porsche SUV – an idea that almost single-handedly guaranteed Porsche’s future when things seemed uncertain. Ferdinand Porsche would be rolling in his grave right about now. Fans of the larger Porsche SUV will be glad to know that there’s a new, 3rd generation Cayenne landing in the USA in 2019. Two models are available from launch, a standard Cayenne and a Cayenne S, with a Turbo unveiled at the Frankfurt Motor Show also joining the ranks soon.
Though the Cayenne stays true to the ethos of evolutionary design, the 2019 Cayenne and Cayenne S have grown by 3 inches in length. Despite the wheelbase remaining the same, the interior feels more spacious than before – meaning rear occupants still have class leading head and leg room, and supreme levels of comfort. Cargo volume has increased from the previous model too by 3 cubic feet, so all 5 occupants can comfortably haul their luggage around too.
Where the old Cayenne’s dash was a cluttered mess of buttons, the new dash seems downright futuristic. Climb into the cabin and you’re greeted by a 12.3-inch touch screen on the center console. Beneath that, the center stack features touch sensitive control buttons. Surrounding these, as is to be expected from Porsche, leather is the default cladding of choice, available in a wide array of colors and trimmings.
Porsche’s intent with the 3rd generation Cayenne is two-fold. One, to create the sports car of SUVs, and two, to create an SUV that’s still off-road capable. To address the first of those, the Cayenne now gets staggered width front and rear tires, along with up to 143 pounds worth of weight loss. There’s also variable damping standard on the Cayenne S, optional on the standard Cayenne, and for the first time, available four-wheel steering to improve maneuverability.
But to make it a competent off roader and a comfortable on roader, you can equip air-suspension with 3 air chambers for improved versatility. The ride height can be raised up to 2.2 inches or lowered by 1.1 inches, affording a maximum approach angle of 27.1 degrees, breakover angle of 21.1 degrees, and departure angle of 24.1 degrees. Wading depth is rated at 20.7 inches, and drive modes includes ones specific for Mud, Gravel, Sand, or Rocks.
The two launch derivatives will each feature a different turbocharged V6 engine – rather than one engine in varying outputs. The Cayenne receives a 3.0-liter single-turbo V6 with 340 horsepower and 332 lb-ft of torque – 40hp and 37 lb-ft more than its predecessor. The Cayenne S however receives a new 2.9-liter twin-turbo V6 with 440hp and 406 lb-ft on tap – up 20hp from before. Both models receive a rear-biased all-wheel drive system as standard, and both feature an 8-speed Tiptronic S automatic gearbox. The Cayenne is still an impressive tow vehicle, rated to tow up to 7 700 pounds.
Standard comfort seats are the default in the new Cayenne, but Sports seats with integrated headrests are among the optional extras available. You’ll also be able to specify larger wheels, tungsten-carbide coated brake discs, heated and ventilated seats, and a range of other options. The Cayenne also benefits from a range of available safety features, including lane change assist, lane keeping assist, traffic sign recognition, traffic jam assist, adaptive cruise control, and night vision assist with hidden animal and pedestrian detection. The Cayenne hasn’t yet been tested by local authorities, but expect it to excel in crash tests when it arrives.
The Cayenne pioneered the sports SUV for Porsche – a move that saw purists frothing at the mouths – and they haven’t let up since. The 3rd generation Cayenne is better than ever before – leaving rival offerings for dead in levels of comfort and driving dynamics.