FIRST DRIVE | 2019 Porsche Cayenne Coupe is made for keen drivers

Slicker-styled Porsche SUV evokes the spirit of the crouching 911

23 May 2019 - 08:26 By Phuti Mpyane
To accommodate the sloping roof the rear seats are mounted 30mm lower.Picture: SUPPLIED
To accommodate the sloping roof the rear seats are mounted 30mm lower.Picture: SUPPLIED

The new Porsche Cayenne Coupe is about as close as you’ll find to an SUV that represents the ethos of the crouching 911.

Clamber up into the typically modern cabin layout of a Turbo model in particular and you will leave it possibly giddy but still smiling as I discovered this week at its launch in Austria.   It’s testament to company Porsche’s wishes for maximum driver interaction.

The most obvious difference from the regular Cayenne is the roof which dips sharply from the B-pillar. Engines and running gear are identical but the execution is different.

The Coupe is 4,931mm long which is 13mm more than the Cayenne SUV, but the width is unchanged. The Coupe is also about 50kg lighter.

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It’s possible to make the Coupe even lighter and sharper handling with the option of a carbon fibre roof and a lightweight pack with carbon fibre in the door panels, which also lessens the  sound deadening to crank up the emotive nerves.

It remains a practical and spacious high end cabin though. You can opt for a five-person rear bench or a sportier 2+2 configuration. In either option the rear seats are dropped 30mm in height to counter against the sloping roof that eats into headroom. 

The Cayenne Coupes are decently specified too. The latest high-definition touchscreen infotainment and digital display binnacle, dual zone climate control, leather covered sports seats, cruise control and lane keep assist, a panoramic glass roof, 19-inch wheels for the entry and mid-level models, and the SportChrono pack are standard equipment.  

Options include carbon ceramic brakes instead of the standard steel ones, wheel sizes up to 22 inches and a head-up display.

The Coupe is the sleeker, sexier brother of the Cayenne SUV, and optionally available in this Lava Orange for maximum standout effect. Picture: SUPPLIED
The Coupe is the sleeker, sexier brother of the Cayenne SUV, and optionally available in this Lava Orange for maximum standout effect. Picture: SUPPLIED

The new range is available in three versions. These are the entry-level Cayenne Coupe which is hustled along by a 250kW/450Nm single turbo 3.0l V6 with 0-100km/h sprint of 6.0secs and a 243km/h top speed; the 5.0sec/263km/h mid-level Cayenne S Coupe powered by a 324kW/550Nm twin-turbo 2.9l V6, and a 3.9sec/286km/h Cayenne Coupe Turbo wielding 404kW/770Nm from a 4.0l twin-turbo V8. 

If sports car shaming SUVs are your thing, the Turbo shouldn't disappoint. All are equipped with permanent AWD and an eight-speed Tiptronic S transmission as standard. 

The Cayenne Coupe takes on the Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupe and BMW X6. This segment of curvy-roofed SUVs is gaining good sales traction but according to Stephan Lenschow, Porsche’s Manager Body — SUV line, the Cayenne Coupe is designed with more than just chic looks in mind. The intent is to maximise the aerodynamic efficiency for tangible gains in performance and sensations.

All models are equipped with an active rear spoiler that deploys automatically at 90km/h. It creates downforce to aid fast cornering and straight line stability and the effect is felt.

The latest high-definition touch-screen infotainment and digital display binnacle are part of the deal. Picture: SUPPLIED
The latest high-definition touch-screen infotainment and digital display binnacle are part of the deal. Picture: SUPPLIED

At the international launch in Austria, first off I drove the mid-spec Cayenne S Coupe with standard fitment of stronger tungsten-coated brakes and it was a totally rounded package of performance, price and thrills.

Next was the entry-level version, which had no modesty in its competencies. It drives comfortably and can tame a mountain pass road.

Last was the Turbo Coupe where the the steering was sharper, the brakes more powerful and it had the astounding ability to cover ground very quickly if you want. It also roars and pops fittingly as a juggernaut ought to.

The ride quality on all is progressively balanced for everyday driving comfort and heroic sporty styles. Driving modes are on hand to tailor the feedback.

It’s the combination of mechanical tweaks employed such as an 18mm wider rear wheel track, stiffened suspension and of course that more fluidic shape and spoilers that make this the closest SUV to the spirit of a 911.

If all of that technical mumbo jumbo doesn’t cut it for your pursuits, this is also fine. The Cayenne Coupe also becomes the style icon in range.

The vehicle will go on sale locally in the fourth quarter of 2019.

Pricing

Cayenne Coupe  — R 1,303,000

Cayenne S Coupe — R 1,433000

Cayenne Turbo Coupe — R 2,277,000

Pricing includes a three-year/100,000 km Drive plan

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