2020 Porsche Cayenne Coupe Drive Review
Fortunately, after 18 years of saying it, everyone has accepted the Porsche Cayenne as a real Porsche. Purists will always be difficult to conquer, but the Cayenne has been as fun to drive as an SUV can be while being practical and even off-road. Just to be sure they got the message, Porsche doubled the sport factor with the 2020 Cayenne coupe.
While the Cayenne can be used with up to 670 horsepower and all kinds of driving aids, from rear steering to active anti-roll bars, it begins its life as a modest SUV with only 335 horsepower to its name . These standard Cayennes move pretty well, but with the Cayenne Coupé, Porsche really wants to sell the sportiness that the sleek roofline promises. That’s why all Cayenne Coupés come standard with the Sport Chrono package, an option of $ 1,130 for regular Cayennes. It is accompanied by the Sport Plus and Individual (customizable) driving modes, the sport response button for a burst of 20 seconds of maximum responsiveness, launch control and a “Sport” setting for stability control.
PASM, Porsche’s electronically controlled shock absorbers, which typically cost $ 2,000, are also standard. Up front, they control the wheels steered by the now standard Power Steering Plus – or $ 300 in software to improve the steering feel. At the rear, they control the wheels on a wider 0.7 inch track to improve stability. You control are standard sport seats, which divide the difference between comfort seats and adaptive sport seats with less power adjustments and more lateral support.
Standard upgrades are complemented by 20-inch wheels (versus 19-inch) and a panoramic glass roof. You don’t like sunroofs? You can replace it with carbon fiber if you buy the light sport package for $ 14,440 (and more), which also increases the wheels to 22 inches. But hey, it saves 41.4 pounds on a 4,600-pound vehicle. It’s only $ 349 a pound!
Speaking of deals, the Cayenne Coupes start at $ 76,650, $ 8,500 more than an uncut, but don’t despair. All these performance parts, sunroof, seats and large wheels will set you back $ 9,680 in options on a standard Cayenne, so you’re already saving money with this lightweight package.
Admittedly, the Cayenne Coupé solves the biggest problem we had with the standard Cayenne: the unwavering feeling that it is an Audi in Porsche clothes, at least until you take a turn. Well not really. As with the Cayenne, the Cayenne Coupé does not feel especially like Porsche or even so sporty in daily driving. It has the driving mode selector on the steering wheel to remind you of it, and ours had the optional air suspension, but there was no sportiness inherent in the way it drove.
The main culprit is the powertrain calibration. It’s almost like he’s actively trying not to be athletic unless you absolutely ask. The accelerator does not respond until you push it at least a quarter of the way down. A flat foot below 2000 rpm of the turbocharged V6 does not help things. Switching to sport is useful, but to get a Porsche answer, it has to be in Sport Plus.
Ditto for the transmission. Most of the time, he just goes through the ratios and keeps it smooth, civilized and fuel efficient. Nothing wrong with that, but it’s not particularly sporty. Sport mode doesn’t seem to help much, so you have to go to Sport Plus to switch it from reactive to proactive. There are shortcuts, like pressing the “Sport Response” button in the center of the mode dial or covering the throttle, but these take you from cruiser to noisy when you just want a cruiser with a sense of urgency.
When you put it in Sport Plus, however, the Porsche comes out. Then the accelerator responds like a 911. The transmission works part of this PDK programming magic, even if it is a humble job of torque converter. The special power steering software loosens and leaves a bit of recoil in the steering wheel. Then this swoopy coupe SUV starts behaving like a hot hatch.
Its 335 hp won’t light your hair on fire, but it’s the right place to start. With rectified programming, there is just the right amount of energy, delivered just the right way, for the vehicle. Yes, we know the chassis can handle twice as much, but it’s a testament to good engineering that it doesn’t need double the power to feel sporty. As it stands, it’s just fast enough to get your juice flowing on a good road.
Most importantly, everything else falls into place. The transmission, which no longer needs to be pushed, selects all the right reports. The steering offers more feel than any other SUV you can buy while remaining light, delicate and precise. Standard brakes are nothing special on paper, but they have no problem withstanding severe abuse on a preferred road.
Our tester didn’t have a rear steering or active anti-roll bars or anything, and frankly, he didn’t need it. They probably do something for lap times, but on a weekend getaway, they weren’t missed. It was no less fun to drive on the same mountain road as the uncut Cayenne Turbo S that we tested last year, but not as fast.
Turn everything off when you’re out of the mountains, and it becomes another luxury SUV again. The rear window is a little more difficult to see now that it is smaller and mounted higher, but other SUV coupes do worse. It is fairly quiet and the leather is flexible enough. The sports seats are comfortable to move around every day and the large wheels roll quite well.
You don’t give up much in the name of style either. The rear seats have been lowered to maintain headroom, but not so much that you feel like you’re sitting on the floor with your knees in your chest. You only give 5 cubic feet of cargo space for the coupe-ish roof. All of them are at the top of the loading area, so you lose the ability to stack things, but there is always a good amount of space. It is a shame what all this does at the back of the vehicle, which just does not work. At least the side profile is the least offensive of the coupe SUVs.
Heck, it will always go off-road. There is no all-terrain package like normal Cayenne offers, with skid plates and everything. However, with the optional air suspension, it will lift in height off-road and the adaptive shock absorbers will take their pieces from a dirt track without falling. It’s actually quite fun to get together, as long as you’re careful not to hit anything with these low profile tires.
This is where Porsche DNA stands. It is deep in the blood, preserved over the generations but also buried more and more under a more accessible character. More than anything, the waterfall roof winks at close friends and family who know what it’s all about. During all this time, he gives a pragmatic face to the everyday customer more concerned with looking good in the parking lots of the office, the store or the local highway during peak hours. People who buy it for what it represents will love it even more than those who buy it for what it really is.
|2020 Porsche Cayenne Coupe|
|STARTING PRICE||$ 76,650|
|VEHICLE LAYOUT||Front engine, all-wheel drive, 5-pass SUV, 4-door|
|ENGINE||3.0L DOHC Turbo V6 3.0L 24V / 335hp / 332 lb-ft engine|
|EDGE WEIGHT||4600 lb (mfr)|
|LENGTH X WIDTH X HEIGHT||193.6 x 78.0 x 66.0 inches|
|0-60 MPH||5.0 sec (MT is)|
|EPA CITY / HWY / COMB FUEL ECON||19/23/20 mpg|
|ENERGY CONSUMPTION, CITY / HIGHWAY||177/147 kWh / 100 miles|
|CO2 EMISSIONS, COMB||0.94 lb / mile|
|ON SALE IN THE UNITED STATES||Currently|