From atop the enchanting Porsche Museum in Stuttgart, led in by an orchestra of musicians, dancers and light, the latest big bruiser from the world’s most prolific sportscar producer said hello.
The new Cayenne is, as they told us that evening, more Porsche and also more Cayenne.
Now think back to when the sporty SUV first saw light, and the last think you might think people wanted would be “more Cayenne.”
I personally thought the marque had lost its way back then, and I was vocal enough to have called it a truck. Porsche eventually changed my mind by having me test their then-new GTS variant even though I repeatedly asked them: “Are you sure? You do remember me, right?”
Their answer at the time was “we think this will change your mind.” And it did.
The second generation Cayenne got a bit more svelte, and a lot more sporty. Then came the Macan, which was well and truly the best definition of the true sports SUV for those with a true sporting heart.
So when we caught early spy shots of the third generation Cayenne, and people started saying it was taking cues from the Macan, to us this was a good thing. Seeing it up close only solidified that thought.
The new Cayenne is built for sport, and it looks it. It uses aluminum all over, so much so that there are 14 different connection techniques used to put all the different parts together nice and tight.
It uses a new lightweight chassis base and builds on this with active chassis systems that work in real time.
Other than the active PASM damper system that is standard in the Cayenne S model, are chassis systems are new developments.
Electric rear-axle steering is now available, improving agility and stability at speed, as well as making the SUV turn a little better around city corners and such.
The adaptive air suspension, optional depending on the market, is now a three-chamber system. Porsche’s dynamic chassis control roll stabilization (also optional depending on the market) is now electric rather than hydraulic, thanks to the use of a 48 volt electrical system that allows shorter response times.
Plus the Cayenne now uses the “mixed tires” setup of the rear rubber wider than the front. Just like the racecars and the sports cars. So yes, more Porsche as well.
On launch, the Cayenne is offered with two engines, and this is quite telling of where Porsche believes the future is headed.
The Cayenne comes with a 3.0-liter six-cylinder turbocharged gasoline engine. The hotter Cayenne S uses a smaller 2.9-liter six-cylinder but with twin turbochargers.
The end result is that the 2995 cc V6 Cayenne produces 340 ps and 450 Nm, while the 2894 cc Cayenne S makes 440 ps and 550 Nm. This is a very clear indication that Porsche—and most race car drivers and creators—believes lightness and efficiency are more important than sheer power.
A new eight-speed Tiptronic S gearbox allows shorter response time and sportier ratios in lower gears, which is useful in getting the big SUV moving on the road and through the different surfaces and friction parameters off the road.
At highway speeds, higher gears allow lower rpms, which in turn allow lower fuel consumption, as well as more relaxed driving.
Porsche Traction Management watches over everything and distributes power according to need as decided by the friction it senses and response being requested by your right foot.
The new Cayenne uses the Porsche Advanced Cockpit that we so much appreciated in the new Panamera.
The key use for us, at least on the German no-speed-limit autobahn, was having the right screen giving us map and curves ahead, and left screen giving us the speed limit.
This system, now incorporated into the new Cayenne, makes the SUV an even better GT cruiser than before.
In the center console sits a full-HD 12.3-inch touch screen, part of the new Cayenne being the most connected yet out of Stuttgart. If you say it is too warm, the air conditioning will become cooler. Porsche is trying to make the commands you use more conversational and intuitive rather than you having to make your “Siri voice.”
Visually, the new Cayenne seems more sleek. It is longer though its wheelbase hasn’t changed. Roof height is lower, contributing to the more streamlined look.
Luggage capacity has increased by a stated 100 liters. Wider wheels make everything look more planted and purposeful.
The new Cayenne is a launch vehicle for something else as well: Porsche surface coated brakes (PCSB) with a tungsten-carbide layer meant to improve friction while reducing brake dust. The discs themselves are supposed to develop a unique gloss as they are bedded in.
Top of the heap for stopping, though, will remain with the PCCBs, or the Porsche ceramic carbon brakes. Which means of course that, as technologically forward and intoxicatingly sporty these two new launch Cayennes are meant to be, there is always more to come.
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