Review: Porsche Cayenne 3.0 V6 – Doesn’t put a foot wrong


Last month, Porsche AG announced a new addition to their line-up of vehicles, the new Cayenne Coupe, with the aim to take on the likes of BMW’s X6 and the Mercedes-Benz GLE.

An unsurprising addition, a coupe body style for the Cayenne has been a long time coming seeing as most brands are going out of their way to cater to every buyer possible – even if it means giving the SUVs a coupe look. There you go, this is the world we live in now.

But even with the Macan’s rise in prominence and the emergence of the new Cayenne Coupe, don’t be so quick to discount the Cayenne. Last year, Porsche AG delivered 49,715 units of the Cayenne worldwide and the year before wasn’t any different either.

And it’s not hard to see why the Cayenne has done so well for Porsche; even helping the company prosper – as its bread and butter – for more than 10 years now.

Despite it being just the base model, the Cayenne showed why it has been the luxury SUV of choice, in every way you’d expect an SUV to.

Starting off with the performance, the way this thing accelerates just riles up every nerve in the body. To think it’s just the base model with a 3.0-litre V6 engine making 345 hp and 450 Nm of torque, imagine what the Turbo model can do.

0 to 100 km/h takes just 6.2 seconds – 5.9 if you spec the Cayenne with the Sport Chrono Package – and it’s simply relentless to its top speed of 245 km/h. Trust me, I came within a whisker of it, without much effort or space needed.

And the way the gear changes in the 8-speed Tiptronic S gearbox is quite something behold. There’s no other way to say it but it’s probably good enough to support the performance of a more powerful sportscar.

Short of Volkswagen’s dual clutch transmission, I believe nothing comes close to the fluidity and quick-shifting characteristics of the Cayenne’s gearbox. Anything quicker than this and you’d have to look at the RM1 million and above supercars for such a visceral experience in the lower gears.

Even at standstill, the experience of being in the driver seat alone was indescribable. It’s like every child’s dream come true – of being in a fighter jet.

There are so many toggles, switches and displays in your surrounding, you won’t know where to start. And they’re so impeccably finished; you can almost feel the extensive time and prolonged thought that went into making and putting these components together.

And since this one comes equipped with the SportChrono Pack, you get a rotary dial by the steering – allowing you to switch between drive modes – like a Formula 1 driver (vaguely).

I really appreciate that they’ve, for so long, retained the signature three-spoke steering and the RPM meter in the middle, even in their SUVs. With developments taking place at such rapid pace and seemingly unsustainable, these little touches help retain the source of a brand’s identity.

I mean, these guys were known for their 911s. Then it was the SUVs that put them on a larger, wider map. Now it’s SUVs with coupe body styles. Hence, the retention of the “Porsche elements”, even in their mass-produced vehicles, is a necessary one.

I must say, I’m a big fan of the interface of the mesmerising 12.3-inch full HD touchscreen display of the Cayenne, but operating it is a whole different story. I find it too cluttered, a little “all over the place”.

At least the Cayenne does not come with the digitally-control air vents like in the Panamera Sport Turismo. Cool as it looked, it’s actually more of a inconvenient gimmick than anything.

Granted I may not be the most tech/gadget savvy person out there but I’d assume those who can afford this RM929k SUV (spec-ed up from RM795k) to be the same. If I know old people better, they’d prefer things to be more straightforward.

That emblem is a RM2,000 optional extra.

Speaking of specifications, this car has more than RM134k worth of options that includes the Sport Chrono Package (RM5k), larger 90-litre fuel tank from the standard 75-litre (RM557), rear-axle steering (RM9.5k), Park Assist (RM3.4k), Soft Close doors (RM3.2k), panoramic roof (RM9.3k), Porsche Dynamic Light System head lights (RM9k) and Bose Surround Sound system (RM6.2k) to name a few.

I’m glad the opted for the rear-axle steering for the Cayenne or else I’d never get to experience how nimble an SUV can actually be. For a vehicle that weighs 2,000 kg, thanks to extensive weight saving measures with use of aluminium, it’s almost as nimble as a Golf GTI!

Couple that with the adaptive air suspension, you have a ride that is as comfortable as a “sports car on stilts” can be because that’s what the Cayenne is without even the need to exaggerate.

You can never say that about an X5 or the Mercedes-Benz GLE, as competent as they are, this one has that bit of Porsche magic to help it stand out.

The level of refinement on the move beggars belief too. It strikes a really nice balance between the plushness of an Mercedes-Benz S-Class with the firmness of say, a 911.

Stopping power is immense – a signature Porsche legacy that extends even to the Cayenne and one that is unlikely to ever fade; pun intended.

If you’re looking to get the cutting-edge Porsche Surface Coated Brake (PSCB), you’ll have to opt for the 20 or 21-inch wheels as it wouldn’t fit the 19-inch wheels on this Cayenne.

As for the outside of the car, well, I guess you can’t really fault the design, can you? It may look a little more subdued than its rivals but discretion never really hurt anyone, has it?

It’s big enough and imposing as it is, so being shouty really is an optional extra. Besides, it’s a much prettier version of itself from 10 years ago – have you ran into Cayennes from the early 2000s? Gosh they look awful.

So there it is, an SUV that needs no introduction and given that only a few hours were offered to bond with it, it needed even less time to impress.

If you have RM800k to spend on an SUV and you looked past the Cayenne, what a fool you are.


IMAGE GALLERY


Pan Eu Jin

Pan Eu Jin

Regularly spend countless hours online looking at cars and parts I can't afford to buy. How a car makes you feel behind the wheel should be more important than the brand it represents - unless resale value is your thing.
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