Porsche Cayenne Coupe Review
If someone told you they planned to take the world’s best large luxury SUV and make it less practical but more expensive, you’d probably question their sanity. But that’s exactly what Porsche has done. The Cayenne is a brilliant car, mixing Porsche’s legendary sports car DNA with the space and capability of a big SUV. It’s peerless in almost every regard, putting it head and shoulders above the competition.
But now Porsche has built a Coupe version of the Cayenne, slicing down the rear end of the car to create a kind of hatchback body with a slanting rear window. For consumers, that means more distinctive style, but less practicality. It’s a trade-off that won’t suit everyone, but there’s no doubt the Cayenne Coupe is still every bit as brilliant as its sister car. And for those customers who want to stand out from the crowd, it’s even better.
Select's rating score* - 4.1 / 5
At a Glance
The Porsche Cayenne makes a solid case for being one of the best cars in the world, and certainly the best SUV. So the coupe version was hardly going to be rubbish. A slightly more stylish but slightly less practical iteration of its brilliant sister car, the Cayenne Coupe is something of a halfway house between an SUV and a saloon car.
With great engines, impressive handling characteristics and a silky ride, it has all the characteristics of a great hot hatchback. Except it’s bigger and more spacious. And more luxurious. The quality on show is incredible, and it looks as classy and as well designed as a fancy Swiss watch.
It sweeps its rivals into the dirt, crushing them with its superiority in almost every regard. In fact, its biggest rival is also its closest relation: the standard Cayenne. In every measurable way the normal car is either just as good or better; it’s just a question of whether it’s better to look at. Happily, if you don’t like the look of the SUV, you can just lease the Coupe, and if you don’t like the look of the Coupe you can lease the SUV. Problem solved.
Porsche doesn’t usually go in for gimmicks, so you know the features of the Cayenne Coupe are there for a reason. However, the closest the German brand gets is the digital instrument displays, which cluster around the analogue rev counter. However, the ability to switch to a small sat-nav display is useful, particularly if a pesky passenger is fiddling with the touchscreen while you tackle a more challenging section of your route.
But who can blame them for fiddling with that big, beautiful screen? The pin-sharp display offers a gorgeous satellite image of the terrain surrounding your route, and the screen offers a great way to visualise the various vehicle controls secreted away in there. It has its problems, of course – fiddly menus and tiny ‘buttons’ being the most irritating – but it’s one of the better touchscreens out there.
Yet the most impressive feature of the Cayenne’s interior is the unassuming rotary switch on the steering wheel. With four settings, it allows you to quickly adopt one of the sportier driving modes when you come across an unexpectedly brilliant back road. And in the centre, there’s a button that gives you maximum attack for a few seconds. Great if you want to overtake a slow-moving tractor.
Performance & Drive
Porsche may build more SUVs than sports cars, but the brand still has motorsport in its DNA. And that shows through when you drive the Cayenne Coupe, just as it does in the Macan and the conventional Cayenne. This is an absolutely astounding car to drive, mixing the poise of a Panamera with the ride height and space of a Range Rover Sport.
Key to that is the engine range, which comprises a range of V6 and V8 petrol motors, some of which come with the added bonus of hybrid assistance and all of which come with all-wheel drive. But the basic engine is the not-at-all hybrid 3.0-litre V6 petrol, which comes with a not-at-all basic 340hp. That’s enough for a 0-62mph time of six seconds and a top speed of 150mph – more than enough for most people.
Alternatively, you can have the E-Hybrid version, which combines a 2.9-litre V6 with electric power to give you 462hp, or the non-hybrid S model, which does away with the electric power but still squeezes 440hp from its 2.9-litre V6. And with a 0-62mph time of five seconds flat, it’s faster than the hybrid.
From thereon in, you’re into the realm of the V8s, with the sporty GTS model sitting somewhere in the middle of the range. With 460hp from its 4.0-litre petrol engine, it’ll get you to 62mph in 4.5 seconds and on to a top speed of 168mph. That’s sports car-quick.
But if you want to go faster, try the Turbo. It’s a strange moniker, given all the Cayenne Coupes are turbocharged, but 550hp and a 3.9-second sprint to 62mph should quell any concerns about the badge. Or you can have the Turbo S E-Hybrid, which pairs the plug-in hybrid technology with the 4.0-litre V8 to offer 680hp, a 3.8-second 0-62mph time and a 183mph top speed.
Yet the range-topping Turbo GT is still the performance model of choice. With 640hp it isn’t quite as powerful as the hybrid, but it’s lighter, allowing it to hit 186mph. And dashing from 0-62mph takes 3.3 seconds – almost half a second faster than a base-spec Audi R8.
But if you aren’t all that interested in automotive Top Trumps, know this. Every version of the Cayenne Coupe is faster than a VW Golf GTI, and they handle equally well. Despite the bulk, the height and the weight, this SUV feels like a well-sorted hot hatchback. Body roll is minimal in corners, the steering is delightfully precise and the grip is prodigious. You can chuck this thing around and it just gobbles it up. It’s incredible.
And it doesn’t sacrifice comfort to achieve that, either. Especially if you opt for the trick air suspension, which glides over the lumps and bumps with ease. It’s mightily impressive, and it gives the Cayenne the ability to turn long journeys into simple, easy trips.
If you’re looking for a true off-roader, however, the Cayenne Coupe isn’t for you. It’s more than capable enough to deal with farm tracks, snowy ski resorts and soft beaches, but it won’t take you as far into the wilderness as a Range Rover. But that’s no great issue, because it’ll deal with anything you’re likely to throw at it, and the few customers who would push its limits are unlikely to lease a coupe-SUV.
Running Costs & Emissions
Porsche no longer builds diesel versions of the Cayenne, so the more cost-conscious driver will be looking at one of the plug-in hybrid powertrains. Even the most frugal petrol engine can’t manage more than around 25mpg on the official economy test, so the relative parsimony of the hybrids will be a welcome relief.
However, it’s worth noting that only those with a particular lifestyle will be able to make the most of the E-Hybrid powertrains. The basic model comes with an electric range of up to 27 miles on a charge, so you’ll only achieve the claimed economy of up to 88mpg if you do a lot of short journeys and charge regularly. If you do longer journeys, you’ll be lucky to do much better than 30mpg.
But if you’re looking for a company-funded Cayenne, the plug-in hybrid option is the obvious choice. Lower emissions mean lower tax, and that has to be a good thing. But remember not all E-Hybrids are equal, and the Turbo S E-Hybrid might have more power, but it also drinks more unleaded and emits more CO2.
Interior & Technology
It’s always difficult to fault a Porsche interior, and the Cayenne Coupe is no exception. Every single piece feels solid and expensive, and all those individual pieces are beautifully stitched together. It’s the last word in German engineering, and it puts the likes of Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz to shame.
And the design is as faultless as the quality, albeit somewhat less inspiring. The Cayenne’s cabin feels sporty but simplistic, with a big touchscreen, some illuminated buttons on the centre console and a handful of dials in front of the driver. Look closely and you’ll notice some of those dials are digital, and you’ll see those buttons are all hidden under one smooth, chunky sheet of plastic, but the overall impression is more classic than futuristic. Still, the chunky dials and overwhelming sense of solidity pervades in everything you see.
A massive central touchscreen dominates the dashboard, and pretty much everything can be controlled from there. Even the driving modes. Fortunately, it’s a decent system, albeit blighted by some fiddly menus and clunky interfaces. Generally speaking, though, it has a clear display and bags of functionality.
Practicality & Boot Space
Although the Coupe is the impractical model in the Cayenne range, it’s hardly a shoebox. The boot may not have the practical shape of the standard Cayenne, but it still measures 625 litres, which is way more than you get in, say, a Mercedes-Benz C-Class Estate. Of course, it isn’t anything like as roomy as the normal Cayenne’s massive 770-litre load bay, but do you really need all that space? Really?
Inside, the Cayenne Coupe comes with seating for four as standard, because Porsche would rather give you two proper seats than three almost-usable ones. If you’d rather have a middle seat in there, you can, but unless you’re really going to need it we’d stick with the four. With a bit more wiggle room, some useful storage and a comfy armrest, it makes far more sense in a car like this.
Assuming you do stick with the four-seat layout, the Cayenne Coupe will prove surprisingly spacious for rear-seat passengers. Although the roofline limits the usefulness of the boot, it doesn’t impact headroom much at all, so four six-footers will have no problem on even the longest journeys. Legroom is plentiful, too, and thanks to the standard-fit panoramic glass roof, it feels light and airy inside.
The Cayenne Coupe has not been through the rigorous Euro NCAP crash test procedure, but its more conventionally shaped sibling passed with flying colours. It managed an impressive 95% rating for adult occupant protection. Given all that really differentiates the two cars is a redesigned rear end, it seems likely the Coupe will be every bit as safe.
It’s certainly available with just as much safety technology. Even the most basic Cayenne Coupe comes with automatic emergency braking that will stop the car if the driver does not respond to a looming hazard, while there’s also a system to stop the car after it has been involved in an accident, reducing the chances of hitting something else.
To that you can add adaptive cruise control that maintains a safe distance to the vehicle in front and lane departure warning that ensures you remain on track in your lane. You can also have blind-spot monitoring, which tells you when there’s a vehicle in the hard-to-see areas over your shoulders.
And that’s on top of the stuff designed to prevent minor bumps and scrapes. All Cayenne Coupes come with a reversing camera and parking sensors at the front and rear, while a 360-degree manoeuvring camera is also available to offer a top-down view of the car and its surroundings.
The Cayenne Coupe range is fairly chunky, so make sure you’re sitting comfortably. In truth, there’s little to choose between many of the trim levels, but each comes with its own engine, and that will arguably hold more sway for decision makers. Nevertheless, there are some differences in equipment that are worth noting down.
As standard, the basic Cayenne Coupe comes with the 3.0-litre V6 petrol engine and a host of luxury features. Obviously, satellite navigation, climate control and an automatic gearbox are all included as standard, while you get heated sports seats and keyless start. A reversing camera is also thrown in, alongside the Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration tech, 20-inch alloy wheels and a power-operated tailgate.
The only disappointment is the lack of full leather upholstery. Instead you have to make do with part-leather trim that feels a bit mean in a car that supposedly costs more than £65,000. Of course, you won’t have to pay that much when you lease.
The E-Hybrid model, with its 2.9-litre V6 plug-in hybrid powertrain, is similarly equipped, but it does come with lurid green brake callipers and external lettering, which are designed to leave onlookers in no doubt of its eco-friendly credentials.
Even the more powerful 2.9-litre V6 S model does without full leather upholstery, and nor does the 4.0-litre V8-powered GTS model. However, the latter does get sportier styling, some GTS-specific seats with Alcantara trim and 21-inch alloy wheels.
Moving up to the more powerful Turbo model gets you a bit more of a jump in standard equipment, earning more luxurious seats (in leather, at last) and a Bose hi-fi. Again, the Turbo S E-Hybrid version is differentiated by its day-glo green tweaks.
But the daddy of the range – and the model that’s exclusive to the Coupe range – is the Turbo GT. With 640hp from its V8 engine, it’s the fastest and best-equipped version you can lease. It’s marked out by its 22-inch gold alloy wheels and more aggressive nose, while the interior is a feast of leather and Alcantara designed to mimic racing cockpits.
When you’re leasing a Porsche, though, you’re going to want to raid the enormous options list. You can choose almost everything, from the colour of the rev counter to the presentation of the lettering on the boot lid. Depending on which version you choose, we’d be tempted by the awesome adaptive air suspension, the heated windscreen and the head-up display, which makes life much easier.
Then there’s the usual array of colours and wheels to pick from, except because this is Porsche, the possibilities are endless. The basic Cayenne Coupe comes with a choice of 11 colours, but you can add to that with a ‘custom colour’ of your choosing. You can have pretty much anything you want. And you get a choice of 18 different wheel designs. Nope, that isn’t a misprint.
The coupe-SUV market is growing all the time, with numerous manufacturers cottoning on to the trend started by BMW. Even Skoda and Renault are getting in on the action with the Arkana and Enyaq iV, but the X6 is the car that began the craze. And although it has been roundly criticised – particularly for its looks – it is in fact a very good car. Yes, the X5 on which it’s based is cheaper and more spacious, but the X6 is just as sweet to drive and just as well equipped. It just isn’t quite as good as the Cayenne Coupe.
The same goes for the Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupe, although that takes a somewhat different approach. While it isn’t quite as pretty as the smaller GLC Coupe, the GLE is a more comfort-orientated proposition that majors on style and luxury. It’s slightly better to drive than its SUV-shaped sibling, the standard GLE, but again it sacrifices practicality.
However, the Audi Q8 is very, very impressive. Enormous, but impressive. Using some of the technology from sister brand Porsche, it manages to boast incredible performance and oodles of technology, but it doesn’t feel quite as premium as the Cayenne.
Another of the Audi’s relations, on the other hand, feels every inch the premium product. The Lamborghini Urus has tried to shoehorn supercar style and performance into a high-riding coupe-SUV body, and it has at least succeeded in terms of pace. It isn’t as dramatic as a ‘true’ Lamborghini, but then it’s attempting to attract a different kind of customer. And it’s doing it successfully.
But for all the shock and awe of the Lambo, the Porsche remains the most polished, most convincing product of them all. It balances sportiness and luxury in the most appealing way, and the driving experience feels more precise and more mature than anything else on the market. Like the standard Cayenne before it, it goes straight to the top of the class.
Verdict & Next Steps
If truth be told, the Cayenne Coupe’s biggest rival is not made by BMW, Audi or Lamborghini; it’s another Porsche. The standard Cayenne is so good, so spacious and so beautifully built that it sweeps away all comers. The Cayenne Coupe does the same, of course, but it does so without quite so much space. Whether the looks can make up for that will come down to personal preference and, most likely, the size of your wallet. As far as we’re concerned, you can decide on the flip of a coin. Both are absolutely wonderful cars.
Where to next?
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*Score based on Select’s unique meta score analysis, taking into account the UK’s top five leading independent car website reviews of the Porsche Cayenne Coupe
**Correct as of 05/10/2021. Based on 9 months initial payment, 5,000 miles over a 48 month lease. Initial payment equivalent to 9 monthly payments or £6735.95 Ts and Cs apply. Credit is subject to status.