You don't need a Porsche Cayenne Coupe, but we're guessing you'd really, really like one. As the name suggests, this is a sportier-looking version of the standard Cayenne large SUV and it's been re-engineered in this improved form with all the usual Porsche thoroughness. Plus the improvements to cabin design are genuinely far-reaching. As before, it remains very first large SUV Coupe model the market's been offered with handling that can really match the arresting looks that tend to be common in this segment.
The Porsche Cayenne Coupe, launched in 2019, was originally billed as the answer to a question no one was asking. That at least was according to the car magazines. And as so often, they were wrong. Actually, quite a considerable number of well-heeled folk have been asking for a large luxury SUV with a sporting coupe-style look for two decades now. That's why BMW's X6, the car that started this trend, is now in its third generation, Audi has its Q8 and Mercedes has just launched an improved take on the second generation version of that car's closest rival, the GLE Coupe. Porsche wants a slice of that action too, hence the need for this Cayenne Coupe. You actually wonder why the brand didn't do this earlier than 2019. Its conventional Cayenne SUV had, after all, always been the most sporting model in its segment. In concept, if its sharp handling prowess could be transferred into a sector rather in need of sharp handling prowess, fireworks might be in prospect. Sure enough, the Cayenne Coupe has sold well for Porsche, contributing significantly to the Cayenne range's position as the brand's global best seller. Porsche wants this current car to remain on sale for most of the rest of this decade (alongside the completely different all-electric Cayenne due in 2025). For this combustion-powered 'E3' design, that's meant the need for what the brand describes as one of the most extensive product upgrades in its history. So this upgrade was crucial for the brand and is extremely far-reaching, with significant engineering changes and a completely fresh feel for the cabin.
You might not be surprised to hear that a Cayenne Coupe drives almost exactly like an ordinary Cayenne. Of course, the standard Cayenne isn't 'ordinary' in the way it hurls nearly 2.3-tonnes of Zuffenhausen real estate up the road. Porsche reckons this variant is even better because of its fractionally lower centre of gravity, though any difference, is there is any, is virtually impossible to detect - on the public road anyway. As with the conventional car, the steering is on another level to what you get from large SUVs from most other brands, being meaty and direct. But let's get to what's new with this updated model. The entry-level Cayenne Coupe's previous 2.9-litre V6 gets replaced by a twin-turbocharged 3.0-litre V6 generating 353PS. That engine also forms the basis for two Plug-in Hybrid models, where it's boosted by an electric motor powered by a 25.9kWh battery that's larger than the unit fitted previously. The Cayenne E-Hybrid Coupe puts out 470PS, while the alternative Cayenne S E-Hybrid Coupe puts out 519PS: both offer around 46 miles of EV driving range. On to the V8 models. The conventional Cayenne S Coupe, which previously used a V6, now adopts the twin-turbocharged 4.0-litre V8 unit familiar from Porsche's Panamera and the Lamborghini Urus. With the Cayenne S Coupe, this puts out 474PS, powering the car to 62mph in just 4.8s en route to a top speed of 167mph. That same V8 is also used in the flagship Plug-in Hybrid model, the Cayenne Turbo E-Hybrid Coupe, which puts out 739PS with 950Nm of torque. Also offered with an uprated 'GT Package', it's the most powerful Cayenne of all time, making 62mph in 3.7s en route to 183mph. Across the range, the engineering changes here aren't just about extra power. Special two-valve shock absorbers have been developed to work in conjunction with the (optional) two-chamber air suspension system. These have separate compression and rebound stages to improve cornering agility, reduce roll and pitch and enhance ride comfort at urban speeds. This improved Cayenne Coupe also gets bigger tyres which can run at lower pressure, enhancing grip. As a result, the handling of this Porsche even more emphatically sets the class standard. As previously, you can also add an active anti-roll system and rear-wheel steering, but some enthusiasts might feel that these features detract a little from the purity of the driving experience. Otherwise, things are much as before. So there's 4WD of course and a ZF eight-speed auto gearbox. It's also worth mentioning that this Cayenne Coupe is just as happy as its predecessor off the beaten track. A spare set of off-road wheels and tyres might prevent some costly refurbishment work to the standard alloys though.
That sloping roof line trims around 20mm from the height of a normal Cayenne and to even things out, a few extra millimetres of length and width have been added here and there. The result, to most eyes, is much more elegant than either a BMW X6 or a Mercedes GLE Coupe - but then, those cars are supposed to have an 'in your face' demeanour; in a way, that's the point of them. A Cayenne Coupe doesn't bother with pavement theatrics of that kind, though it's equally style-conscious in its own rather more mature way. Brand loyalists will recognise this updated model by its resculpted bonnet and swollen wings - and perhaps also by new-look matrix LED headlights which feature over 32,000 pixels per cluster. In profile, you'll notice the smarter wheel designs, varying in size from 20 to 22-inches. And at the rear, there's a restyled 'three-dimensional' light bar and a restyled apron with a low-mounted numberplate. The key changes with this revised design though, lie inside up front. The redesigned dashboard is dominated by a full-width digital panel incorporating up to three screens; a 12.3-inch central infotainment monitor, a 12.6-inch 'free-standing' curved instrument cluster for the driver and an optional 10.9-inch touchscreen ahead of the front seat passenger. Porsche says that this extra passenger screen can 'take the strain off the driver' by allowing someone else to set navigation destinations or media settings. The driver meanwhile, will have his or her eyes full of all the functions on the redesigned instrument display, which offers up to seven different views, including a five-dial '911'-style layout. Away from screens, Porsche has redesigned the steering wheel, the centre console and the dash-mounted gear selector, borrowing from themes familiar from the Taycan EV. Otherwise, things are much as before. Take for example, the two available roof options - a full length panoramic glass affair or a carbonfibre panel with a 'double bubble' finish similar to that of a 911 GT3 RS. Various 'Lightweight Packages' can also be specified, each offering various carbonfibre interior and exterior trim elements and seats with a combination of alcantara and checked cloth upholstery. Up front, it's basically the same as a normal Cayenne, but in the rear, the normal bench makes way for a couple of individual seats, separated by a storage tray and a couple of cup holders. If you need the occasional option to take three, a '2+1' layout can be specified at extra cost. Out back, as you might expect, the boot has shrunk in size over the SUV version - from 772 to 592-litres: or 434-litres for the E-Hybrid version.
Prices open at just over £73,000 for the standard 3.0 V6 petrol Cayenne Coupe, and it's then quite a big step up to the E-Hybrid (around £82,000) and the more powerful Cayenne S (which is pitched at £88,000). The S E-Hybrid version costs around £90,000 and the top Turbo E-Hybrid Coupe is available either in standard form (from around £133,000) or with a 'GT Package' (for around £154,000). Whatever your powertrain choice, you'll need a premium of around £3,000 over the alternative standard SUV body style. Either way, these figures are still pretty competitive with those being asked for nicer versions of large luxury SUV Coupes like the BMW X6, the Mercedes GLE Coupe and the Audi Q8. It's also hard to argue with the amount of kit the car gets as standard. There's a full leather interior, Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM), Bi-Xenon headlights, front and rear ParkAssist, tyre pressure monitoring, automatic dimming rear view mirrors, Porsche Communication Management with touch-screen satellite navigation and audio controls, cruise control and a three year warranty. That's on top of a Porsche Vehicle Tracking System (VTS). There's also a clever cruise control system that takes into account speed limits, bends and inclines. Key options for this improved model include two-chamber air suspension, the HD headlamp upgrade and the new front passenger-side 10.9-inch touchscreen.
If you want a really efficient Cayenne, you'll need to wait for the full-electric version. But let's look at what we have in the combustion range with this Coupe version. The big ticket item on the Cayenne Coupe has long been depreciation, but then that's not an issue exclusive to Porsche. Show us one large SUV that retains its value well. The pace of change has been dizzying in this sector and older SUVs date rapidly due to advances in engine efficiency. Look at the prices or early petrol-engined Cayennes for evidence of this. Porsche has made big strides in improving fuel economy and driving down emissions with this model - principally with its Plug-in hybrid technology. Expect a CO2 figure from the E-Hybrid variant of just 33g/km (which means an 8% BiK tax rate); and up to 188.3mpg on the combined cycle, with an EV range of up to 46 miles. When connected to an industrial outlet, the batteries can be charged within around two and a half hours via the integrated on-board charger and the standard Porsche Universal Charger (AC) and it can be charged in less than four hours when connected to a conventional household electrical outlet. As for the mainstream versions, well the base 3.0-litre V6 Cayenne Coupe manages up to 25.9mpg on the combined cycle and up to 247g/km of CO2 (with variance depending on spec and wheel size). For the twin turbo V8 Cayenne S Coupe, the figures are up to 22.6mpg and up to 284g/km. We would imagine 'real world' consumption on the S variant though, is likely to be a good deal scarier.
Why is the motoring press so disparaging towards car like this? Increasingly, people aspire to them just as much as to a Porsche 911 or a Ferrari 296. Ideally of course, you'd have sportscar and sports SUV and if your oak-timbered garage was fortunate enough to accommodate both a Cayenne Coupe and a 911, we reckon your motoring life would be pretty well covered. The changes made to this improved model are significant and welcome, but they don't fundementally change its core appeal. As before, the technology on offer here is awesome - rear wheel steering, air suspension, anti-roll systems and so on - but even if you don't stretch to it, you'll still get a car that dynamically, redefines what's possible in its segment. Just as Porsches always have.