Salt ‘n’ Pepper Porsche

The Porsche design team have taken the eraser to the Cayenne SUV to create the Cayenne Coupé. A coupé SUV sounds a bit like an oxymoron and in reality it probably is, but somehow it still works well in my eyes at least. The shape has a sportier, more muscular exterior and the roofline apes the iconic 911 flyline.

The pepper in the Cayenne Coupé S comes in the form of a 2.9 litre twin turbocharged V6 engine with 324kW between 5,700–6,600rpm and 550Nm between 1,800–5,500rpm that offers a decent 0-100km/h acceleration time of 5.0 seconds, 0.2 seconds quicker than the equivalent Cayenne SUV. The combined fuel efficiency of both models is 9.2-9.4L/100km.

Expensive SUVs tout their off-road credentials in advertisements and in reality this may be true, but I for one was not going to find out during my time with the Coupé S. But if you do venture into the great outdoors in your Cayenne there are four off-road driving modes to select from; gravel, mud, sand or rocks. I did discover that the wheels on my Cayenne were very easy to wash and I liked that the Porsche emblem on the back of the SUV was under a clear cover so you don’t have to worry about cleaning it gets dusty. This is such a simple thing, but indicates the thought that has been put into this SUV made by Porsche.

For driving on the black stuff the Cayenne Coupé has four drive modes to choose from; Normal, Sport, Sport Plus and Individual. Porsche call this the Sport Chrono Package and you switch between modes via the ‘growth’ on the steering wheel. Suffice to say I am not a fan on the placement of the selector here. For the Individual selection you can adjust the chassis height, chassis setting between Normal, Sport and Sport Plus and the exhaust system between loud or normal.

In Sports mode the Cayenne holds lower gears for longer and the relatively quiet exhaust has a bit of bark when you up shift aggressively. The 8-speed Tiptronic auto transmission is up to performance SUV standards and you can take control you by either pushing the gear lever to the left or using the wheel mounted paddle shifters.

You don’t need to know that the Cayenne has features like Porsche 4D Chassis Control, Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control and Porsche Torque Vectoring Plus, but what you will like to know is all of these features mean you get a really nice ride comfort regardless of the driving mode you select. Each mode is equally enjoyable and the ride comfort is not compromised when chasing a sportier suspension setup in the Cayenne.

The adaptive air suspension changes height, depending on the driving situation. It also allows you to manually raise and lower the Cayenne, either from the driver’s seat or using the buttons in the boot. This is useful for lowering the SUV so you can reach the back of the boot or for making it easier for small children to get in.

The cabin is stylish, smells really nice and has many well thought out design elements. I like the false key to the right hand side of the steering wheel that you still need to turn in order to start and turn off the vehicle. The touch controls on the centre console are visually pleasing but the gloss surface shows up finger marks badly.

Finding your ideal driving set-up in the Cayenne is made easier thanks to the club leather front seats with 18-way power adjustment, which are heated and have three memory positions for the driver and passenger. The driver’s dash has configurable screens on either side of the large central taco and digital speedo. And the infotainment system includes Porsche Connect, which I didn’t explore in detail, but the apps include weather, parking, restaurants, etc and you can connect to it via wireless Apple CarPlay.

The BOSE Surround Sound System features 14 amplifier channels with a total output of 710 watts. The Cayenne also features patented AudioPilot Noise Compensation Technology continuously measures the ambient noise inside the vehicle and automatically adapts music playback so that a consistent sound is maintained. Your media source options include DAB/FM, AM, online and Bluetooth.

The large panoramic sunroof adds to the feeling of space and airiness in the rear seats. There is plenty of leg room for adults, but head room would be an issue for taller people back there. I like that Porsche do not pretend that this is a five seat car and call the rear seats a 2+1 configuration.  The centre seat folds down as an arm rest and has three different sized solid drink holders and there is also a good-sized drink holder in the door cubby. Behind centre console there is one 12V outlet and two micro USB ports and two air vents with speed control only.

There are two ISOFIX and three rear tether child seat restraint points, but you would only be able to utilise the two outer seats for children’s seats due to limited width. The rear seat has 40/20/40 spilt folding for storage versatility if you are not carrying rear passengers.

My Cayenne had a gesture open and close boot; the fact that it has closing as well is a great feature for when you have your arms full or the children need to close the boot and are not tall enough to reach the button. The boot is a good size and you get a space saver spare tyre should you get a puncture.

The Porsche Cayenne model range does not have an ANCAP safety rating, but they do have a 5-star Euro NCAP rating (2017) with an adult protection score of 95% and a child occupant rating of 80%. The Cayenne has an excellent 360o view reversing camera that has front and rear parking sensors. But other than standard cruise control and blind spot assist no other driver safety aids are included as standard.

The ‘salty’ elements of the Cayenne Coupé include the lack of head room for rear passengers and the ugly rear spoiler, which should remain always down in my opinion. Also for the price of this SUV I would expect all driver safety aids to be included as standard and not an optional extra box to be ticked.

As tested the Cayenne Coupé S I drove was $201,275 plus on road costs and this included $18,160 worth of options including Black Model Designation, Black Sport Exhaust, 22″ 911 Turbo Wheels, Comfort Access, 2+1 Rear Seats, Ambient Lighting, 18-Way power adjusted front seats, Crested Head Rests and Aluminium Interior Trim. All new Porsche vehicles come with three year factory warranty with the option to extend that warranty to up to 12 years. Three years roadside assistance is also included, but Porsche do not offer Service Plans for purchase.

The Cayenne Coupé is a stylish SUV with lovely ride comfort and a V6 engine that provides enough poke to keep you satisfied. If you are in Sydney and want to test drive a Cayenne Coupé for yourself contact Porsche Parramatta on (02) 9933 8900 or visit your preferred Porsche Centre.

ProsCons
Great ride qualityLack of driver safety aids as standard
Thoughtful design elementsLimited head room for rear seat passengers
Gesture open and close bootBad finger marks on centre console buttons

Photographs by Driven Women Magazine.