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June 17, 2019
Driving Dynamics
Porsche has every option to satisfy your driving experience!
J.D. Power
August 20, 2017
2,000 miles
Owned 3 months
Driving Dynamics
I really enjoy driving the Cayenne. It handles well. The interior is very comfortable. It has a good amount of storage space.
2016 Porsche 1144 Cayenne 28012 376494
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The Porsche Cayenne is a big luxury SUV with impressive handling and performance that ranges from good to quick to powerful, depending on which of six drivetrains is ordered. Cayenne seats five and competes with Range Rover and other luxury vehicles.

Cayenne was freshened for 2015, its powertrains improved, 8-speed Tiptronic S automatics all around, with sleeker styling to look more like the Porsche sports cars. There are no significant changes to the 2016 Cayenne lineup.

Cayenne doesn’t look rugged, but it can handle modest off-road requests, while bringing the character of the sports cars to the pavement. The ride might be stiff for some, but there is the optional Porsche Adaptive Suspension Management (PASM), an air suspension that improves handling and ride quality.

The standard Cayenne comes with a 300-horsepower 3.6-liter V6 that can drive the SUV to 60 mph in less than eight seconds, and gets 19/24 mpg City/Highway.

Cayenne S uses a twin-turbocharged version of the V6 engine making 420 horsepower and 406 pound-feet of torque.

Cayenne GTS pumps that engine up to 440 horsepower and 445 pound-feet of torque, while bringing the 0-60 time down to 5.2 seconds and jacking the top speed up to 162 mph. It uses its own exhaust system, air suspension and dampers with a lowered ride height, while borrowing its front bumper and brakes from the Cayenne Turbo.

Cayenne S E-Hybrid is a plug-in hybrid that makes 416 horsepower and 435 foot-pounds of torque from its supercharged 3.0-liter V6 and electric motor. It’s quicker than the base model but doesn’t get much better mileage, at 21/24 mpg on gas, or 47 MPGe by maxing out the electric power over its full range of 14 miles.

Cayenne Turbo, with its twin-turbocharged 4.8-liter V8 making 520 hp, zooms the SUV from a standing start to 60 in just 4.1 seconds, then on to 173 mph. With that kind of power, fuel mileage sinks to 14/21 mpg City/Highway. But if you can cruise down the freeway with 520 horsepower and get 20 miles per gallon, we’d say that’s real fine.

Cayenne Turbo S makes 570 hp, 590 lb-ft of torque, and using all the dynamic aids and chassis systems that are optional with the other models. Cayenne is the best-selling Porsche made, and the money it earns for Porsche goes toward the development of more and better sports cars.

Model Lineup

The 2016 Porsche Cayenne lineup includes Cayenne ($58,300), Cayenne S ($74,800), Cayenne S E-Hybrid ($77,200), Cayenne GTS ($95,500), Cayenne Turbo ($114,700), Cayenne Turbo S ($157,300). (Prices are MSRP and do not include destination charge.)


The Cayenne was a shock and a hard sell a decade ago, but today it’s a sleek inspiration, with a body that sneaks in some Porsche Cayman curves, such as the long hood, the headlamps and fascia. At the rear there’s a tip of the hat to the sports cars, with a subtle spoiler at the hatch and an aerodynamic flow that remains upright enough to function for an SUV.

Each model has its own wheels and trim details. For example the Turbo has a more aggressive fascia, while the Cayenne S E-Hybrid uses electric green neon for the calipers and badges.


The cockpit is like a coupe, similar to that of the four-door Porsche Panamera, with a sweeping instrument panel, sloping center console, and sculpted vents. Its surfaces are curved and materials upscale. The fit and finish is excellent, the brightwork cheery. The seats supportive and comfortable. The clock is analog.

We like the genuine switchgear on the center console. It’s much nicer than searching through menus on a touchscreen.

Driving Impressions

The Cayenne powertrains are strong and satisfying, with the possible exception of the base model with a 300-horsepower V6 that might not meet the performance expectations of Porschephiles. They should be happy with the 420-hp Cayenne S, however. We were.

The Cayenne S E-Hybrid, with plug-in capability since 2015, is quite a bit quicker than the base Cayenne; it can accelerate from zero to sixty in 5.4 seconds, and run solely on the electric motor to 78 mph.

The Cayenne handling, as one might expect from a Porsche SUV, blows any tall utility vehicle out of the water. The steering feel is excellent, there’s very little body roll, and huge cornering grip, especially with the big wheels and fat tires on the Cayenne S and Turbo models.

The ride is smooth and comfortable, at least with the optional Adaptive Suspension Management air-suspension system. Combined with Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control (PDCC), which reduces cornering roll using hydraulic anti-roll bars, you can set your driving desires to Comfort, Normal, or Sport modes, which tune the suspension and powertrain.

There’s also Torque Vectoring Plus, which uses the brakes to keep the power and grip balanced between the front wheels. It works together with an electronic differential lock on the Sport Chrono package.

As for off-road capability, the Cayenne doesn’t pretend to be a Range Rover. The Cayenne doesn’t have a dual-range transfer case, it uses Porsche’s electronic Traction Management system with modes for sand/snow, rain/mud, or rocky terrain. The system works in these basic conditions, however if you need your Cayenne to do what a Range Rover can do, buy a Range Rover.


The Porsche Cayenne is the sports car of large, luxury SUVs, with excellent handling for a vehicle of its size and a range of horsepower options.

Driving impressions by The Car Connection. Words by Sam Moses.

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