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2024 Porsche Cayenne S review

1 month ago

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Writer:

Andrew Frankel | Ti co-founder

Date:

15 June 2024

Enzo Ferrari once explained why he would not rehire Derek Bell saying that he was not in favour of ‘reheating old soup.’ It is not an approach favoured by Porsche. In fact it is world-class at doing just that. Take the Macan as an example: launched 10 years ago on an Audi platform that first surfaced in 2007, it is still the midsize SUV most people with a penchant for actually driving would choose. An electric one is coming soon, but the old soldier will stay on sale for a while yet.

And Porsche is now doing the same with the Cayenne. The current generation has already been around for seven years – a full life-cycle for most manufacturers – but there’s no point in developing an all-new version when it too is likely to go EV within the next three years. What to do? Light the rings, warm through and allow to simmer for the duration.

This, then, is no normal mid-life nip, tuck and re-present. From the outside it’s almost indistinguishable from the old car, but inside and under the bonnet? Well, it depends on which version you go for. All of them now have the same sweep of digital screens providing instrumentation and infotainment. Lob Porsche another grand and most of the icons can be added to the dash in front of the passenger, providing wall-to-wall gadgety and an entire new electronic playground to keep your companion occupied. It looks lovely and because Porsche has not made the blunder committed by so many others and left important operations a single touch, press or turn away, it works really well too.

All versions get a bit more power, but the one to focus on is this one – the Cayenne S – because while it has only 32bhp more than the car it replaces, it has a full litre of engine capacity and two more cylinders to boot: for the first time in nearly a decade, the Cayenne S has a thumping great V8 under the bonnet. At 468bhp it is ludicrously understressed, producing almost 200bhp less than essentially the same motor does in the Lamborghini Urus Performante, but we won’t hold that against it.

This is a deliciously well-suited powertrain for this application, offering solid if not startling performance, a mellifluously woofling soundtrack and essentially zero lag. The only significant downside once the car is bought and taxed is its fairly atrocious fuel consumption: officially only slightly worse than the V6 its replaces, I managed around 25mpg when I was driving it very gently. When I wasn’t? Well, on a decent road you can halve that number with ease.

And you may want to. With optional air springs and four-wheel steering, plus new standard two-way dampers that isolate and separate bump and rebound, it handles ridiculously well for such a high and heavy car. It’s not great at mid-corner changes of plan, but so long as you set it up well in advance, aim well and fire it through the apex, it will reward by turning in with very little roll and zero lurch, finding your apex with unquestioning accuracy and cannoning away from it like a cork out of a bottle.

What I find so impressive about the Cayenne – whether you consider yourself an SUV person or not – is that 22 years after it transformed Porsche’s fortunes and future, it is still by a distance the best handling, most rewarding SUV there is, at least unless you’re prepared to spend double the money on an Aston Martin DBX707 or four times as much on a Ferrari Purosangue, if that can even be considered an SUV.

And even before this comprehensive suite of upgrades, the Cayenne was still the best-selling Porsche of them all, shifting in greater numbers (and at presumably far higher margins) than even the Macan. The gift that keeps on giving? On this evidence, I’d say it deserves to.

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2024 Porsche Cayenne S

Engine: 3996cc, V8, twin-turbo
Transmission: 8-speed auto, 4WD
Power: 467bhp @ 6000rpm
Torque: 442lb ft @ 2000rpm
Weight: 2160kg (DIN)
Power-to-weight: 216bhp/tonne
0-62mph: 5.0 secs
Top speed: 170mph
Price: £84,400

Ti RATING 8/10

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