The 2019 Porsche Cayenne does not look all that different from the second-generation model it replaces. But the conservative styling tweaks belie more significant improvements to Porsche’s cash cow of a crossover SUV.
Like last year’s example, the latest Cayenne continues to duke it out in the premium mid-size crossover SUV market, challenging vehicles as diverse as the Land Rover Range Rover Sport, BMW X5, and Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class. But it comes to the plate with more power and technology to deliver improved driving and comfort.
Available in three trims—base, S, and Turbo, the Cayenne runs a price gamut starting at $66,750 for the standard model and well past the $125,650 of the new Turbo, once Porsche’s extensive options catalog comes into play. The 2018 Cayenne and Cayenne S models will arrive in dealers in the middle of 2018, while the Cayenne Turbo goes on sale in fall 2018.
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Regardless of trim, the overall look of these new models isn’t a dramatic departure from the current model. This is Porsche’s slow, evolutionary design work at its most typical. Elements of the latest Panamera appear throughout the redesigned Cayenne’s exterior, but are most notable in the lower sections of the front fascia and in back, where a long, thin lighting element connects the slimmer, stylized LED taillights. The change in back is the most dramatic and the most welcome and has a similar effect as on the Panamera, in that it results in a more cohesive, attractive design.
The Cayenne also takes inspiration from the Panamera in its cabin, which gets the same kind of touch-intensive, all-glass makeover. The infotainment system sits front and center on an expansive 12.3-inch display that’s controlled almost entirely by touch-capacitive buttons with haptic feedback. The instrument cluster maintains Porsche’s traditional center tachometer, but flanks it with two 7.0-inch TFT displays, which drivers can configure to display data from the on-board trip computer, navigation, infotainment, and driver assistance systems. It’s a slick, attractive setup.
Two engines will be available when the 2019 Cayenne arrives in dealers—a 3.0-liter, turbocharged V-6 or a 2.9-liter, twin-turbocharged V-6—with a third, a 4.0-liter, twin-turbocharged V-8, arriving later in 2018. The base engine produces 340 horsepower and 332 pound-feet of torque, while the 2.9-liter in the Cayenne S generates 440 hp and 406 lb-ft of torque. The V-8, like in the Panamera Turbo, produces 550 hp and 567 lb-ft of torque. All three engines work alongside an 8-speed automatic transmission. EPA fuel economy estimates aren’t available yet.
Performance-focused features abound, as is usual with Porsche. Whether you select the base model, the Cayenne S, or the Cayenne Turbo, customers can add a new three-chamber air suspension with adaptive shocks, a rear-axle steering system, an active roll stabilization system called Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control, an upgraded torque-vectoring system, and of course, carbon-ceramic brakes. That’s on top of the Sport Chrono Package, that slashes the time it takes to hit 60 mph on all three Cayenne models by adding more aggressive driving modes and launch control.
Like the previous Cayenne, the third-generation model offers seating for five across two rows, although information on interior dimensions, like second-row leg room is limited. The 2019 Cayenne shares its 114-inch wheelbase with last year’s model, although it’s slightly longer, by about 2.5 inches. We know that translates to a 3.5-cubic-foot increase in cargo volume with the second row up, for a total of 27.2 cubes of room. Flip the rear seats down, and the cargo capacity swells to 60.38 cubic feet. The second row splits 40/20/40, which is a boon to versatility.
Standard equipment on all three trims includes LED headlights, dual-zone climate control, eight-way, heated, leather-upholstered power seats, navigation, SiriusXM satellite radio, a 10-speaker audio system, and 19-inch wheels. The Cayenne S adds Porsche Active Suspension Management and a panoramic sunroof, while the Cayenne Turbo adds 21-inch alloys, a Bose-branded audio system, Porsche’s active front headlights, 18-way front seats, heated front and rear chairs, and an Alcantara headliner.
Porsche’s options catalog, meanwhile, is still enormous. It’s not an exaggeration to say that it’s possible to nearly double the Cayenne’s price by just selecting optional equipment. Standout features include the $7,000 Burmester audio system, Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control, rear-axle steering, and the upgraded LED Matrix headlights.