Test Drives

2019 Porsche Cayenne Turbo Coupe Review: Progeny Prodigy



The Porsche Cayenne Coupe bucks the crossover trend with looks and performance that let its 911-derived DNA shine through 

Photos: Porsche

GRAZ, AUSTRIA

From Audi (the Q8) to Lamborghini (the Urus), BMW (the X4 and X6) and Mercedes-Benz (the GLC and GLE Coupes), many brands have their interpretation of ‘crossover coupe’, but arguably Porsche’s iteration has the most legitimacy.

 

While BMW’s X6 was the first to hit production, Porsche fielded the idea of a two-door Cayenne way back in 2002 with its Cayenne Cabriolet Concept, which was frankly quite horrifying to some observers. 

But that aside, the Cayenne’s line of inheritance can be traced to, like everything else Porsche does, the 911. 

Like the Panamera, the Cayenne Coupe has a distinctive rear silhouette that brings Porsche’s cult classic sportscar to mind. It also features the wide haunches that are reminiscent of the Type 992 model 911, which no longer has a slim-waisted narrow body 911 that used to characterise the two-wheel-drive models. If anything, it is a progressive addition to the Porsche family.

Of course, even though it took Porsche more than a decade to get in on the game, you’ll still get your fair share of detractors and devout Porschephiles who are averse to anything too far removed from their ideal vision of the brand, never mind the fact that ‘utility’ models like the Cayenne, Macan and Panamera are selling in huge numbers.

In case you’ve forgotten, the Cayenne itself was instrumental in turning around Porsche’s fortunes when it made its somewhat controversial debut. If there was no Cayenne, there would very likely be no Porsche. 

With conventional SUVs and crossovers becoming so commonplace, it’s only natural for buyers to look towards more outré offerings, especially if they don’t necessarily require the square-cut form of the traditional SUV, but still require a vehicle with some modicum of daily-drive usability. Enter the Cayenne Coupe.

Like the Cayenne, the ‘S’ is our model of choice, because it’s ‘just right’ – Goldilocks’ style! However, we reckon you’ll want to read about the Turbo instead, because of the capital ‘T’ Turbocharged 4.0-litre at the heart of this beast that belts out 550hp and 770Nm. In fact, a quick go in the Turbo will quickly demonstrate that this big orange has plenty of juice!


READ MORE: We take the Cayenne Coupe’s close cousin, the Audi Q8, out for a spin


The front end bears enough resemblance to the rest of the family – sensible and business-like – but it’s like a mullet, the party is all at the back.

Remember the 911-esque sloping rear silhouette and muscular haunches? Well, there’s an artfully-concealed party trick to the Cayenne Turbo Coupe – it features the latest evolution of the Porsche Active Aerodynamics, which includes the roof-spoiler from the Cayenne, but also a rising rear-spoiler that can rise by up to 135mm at speeds above 90km/h to enhance rear-axle downforce.

There’s quite a bit of standard kit to enhance the Cayenne Coupe’s dynamic nature and properly differentiate it from the Cayenne’s more utilitarian nature. For starters, just two roof choices are available: An expansive 2.16-square metre panoramic glass-roof or contoured carbonfibre roof for a lower centre of gravity if you’re after better handling dynamics.

Alloy-rim choices also start from 20-inch for the Cayenne Coupe versus the starting 19-inch rims of the Cayenne, including a lightweight 22-inch GT Design option, that comes with the cost-optional Lightweight Sports Package, together with Sport Design styling package to complete the motorsports visuals.

What you won’t see is the reduced sound insulation for even greater weight savings and an even more intense driving experience simply because you hear more; don’t forget, when it comes to going fast, every little bit shed helps, including the bits from around your waist!

The cabin has the right moves to get one into the groove of fast driving as well and features plenty of Alcantara and carbonfibre. Tapping into the zeitgeist of the classic Porsche craze, the Cayenne Coupe even features nostalgic ‘houndstooth’ centre inserts for the snugly supportive sports seats. The Sport Chrono Package, as usual, includes central lap timer and drive programme knob on the steering wheel.

Those familiar with Porsche’s latest models, basically anything after the current and soon-to-be-replaced in Singapore 991.2, will know the knob has an integrated button to engage the Sport Response system, which injects the car with a 20-second hit of maximum boost. All the better and safer for overtaking manoeuvres when a quick burst of acceleration is required. 

On-boost and pedal to the metal, the pace is ferocious… certainly more so than you’d expect from a two-plus-tonne kerbweight behemoth. Shifts are explosively fast, and first timers will be surprised to learn transmission duty is served by an eight-speed auto (just like the Cayenne), as opposed to the usual dual-clutch. Why? Well, shifts are fast enough for the Cayenne Coupe, but more crucially, the torque converter is better suited to serve potential towing duties.

Our test-car was specified with the hard-driving owner in mind, and had the Porsche Carbon Ceramic Brakes and rear-axle steer options ticked, so it could corner and brake hard. However, we should qualify that rear-axle steer is as much for daily manoeuvrability as it is for more incisive cornering.

At lower speeds (like in a carpark, or executing a U-turn for instance), the rear wheels turn in an opposite direction from the front to create a virtual short wheelbase, which helps with turns in tight confines. At higher speeds, the rear wheels point in the same direction as the front for better stability. The benefits of rear-axle steer cannot be overstated enough, because it’s a real boon for a large car’s agility and helps turn what would otherwise be a blunt tool into quite the precision instrument.

There’s quite a fair bit more verve to the Cayenne Turbo Coupe’s dynamics than you’d think. There are nuances to its handling that go beyond just stiffening the ride and bolting on a powerful engine, things some brands mistakenly think are sufficient to justify ‘performance machine’ status.

From steering, brakes, gearshift quality, chassis and power delivery, the magic is in how all the elements work together to create a sporting instrument that excels in high speed highway runs, as well as B-road blasts.

If that sounds suspiciously like the description of a Porsche 911, we’re sure that is not by chance. Just as it’s done with normal SUVs and luxury limos, Porsche has successfully transplanted its DNA into a SUV-coupe with predictably impressive results.

 

Porsche Cayenne Turbo Coupe

Engine 3,965cc, V8, twin-turbocharged
Power 550hp at 5700-6000rpm
Torque 770Nm at 2000-4500rpm
Gearbox 8-speed automatic
0-100km/h 286km/h
Top Speed 3.9 seconds
Fuel Efficiency 6.4L/100km (estimated)
VES Band / CO2 TBA / 261g/km
Agent Stuttgart Auto
Price TBA
Availability TBA

about the author

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David Khoo
David Khoo is the editor of CarBuyer's sister magazine, Top Gear Singapore. If it's rare, exotic, or smells like ham, he's probably touched it, driven it, or sniffed it inappropriately.