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The new Cayenne S

When the first-generation Porsche Cayenne made its splash, it proved to all the haters, naysayers, Debbie Doubters and Critical Claudias that injecting a sports car into a utility vehicle was not only possible, but perhaps even preferable. Granted, the Cayenne is no 911, but it was and still is a fast and exhilarating ride. So much so that the Cayenne is thought of as the first sport luxury SUV (despite there being a handful that came before it).

The Cayenne is now embarking on its 3rd generation, and the middle-child – the Cayenne S – is officially out and according to some the best iteration to date. The exterior is as sleek as ever, and while hard to pinpoint, some changes have occurred. The new taillights are one, stretching all the way across the liftgate with the Porsche logo embedded in the middle. On the interior side, the dashboard remains low (as with previous generations), and the seating position is also low which borrows heavily from the S’s sports-car origins. The leather is softer than a baby’s cheek and standard seats are highly supportive leaving a surprisingly generous amount of room for folks in the second row.

Now, a knock that many will grab on to is the lack of cargo space. With just 21.7-cubic-feet, the Cayenne S lags behind the Benz GLE-Class and BMW X5. A minor detail, granted, but cargo space matters and with the X5 sporting 33.9 cubic feet, that’s a big difference. One of the areas on the interior side that blogs have been buzzing over is the center console. All the function buttons are tucked behind a single pane of glass. Super elegant, but it does pick up smudges. Oh well, nothing is perfect in life (even at $80,000), but the infotainment center deserves an A.  

Under the hood that same hustle and bustle is ever-present. A 2.9-liter twin-turbocharged V6 is good for a cool 434 horsepower coupled with 406 pound-feet of torque. Lower rpms still get a ton of love here from a torque perspective and you can easily redline this puppy without a care in the world. The eight-speed transmission works like a charm, but some reviewers have noted an issue once the car slows to a stop. Apparently, there is some jumpiness, but nothing even close to a deal breaker.

At a base price of $82,900 this is certainly an investment, especially when you consider $3,750 more for leather. But hey, you’re splurging on a Porsche, this is once in a lifetime, if that. Buckle up and crack out the Visa!

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