2018 Porsche Cayenne — Road Test

Posted on Mar 3, 2018 by
2018 Porsche Cayenne
  • Editor Rating

  • Rated 4.5 stars
  • Outstanding
AEDAED 313,200 (base), AED434,660 (as tested)
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  • Cayenne
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  • Last modified: March 3, 2018

Review Summary:

Still one of the best handling SUVs on the market. Superb build quality and hideously expensive options.

Pros

Superb handling dynamics, great interior, improved ride quality.

Cons

Not the most spacious, expensive options.

Auto Middle East is the first to drive the all-new 2018 on home-turf in the UAE. It is still one of the best-handling SUVs, and it has an options list from hell! Text and Images: Amit Benjamin

Is that really the all-new 2018 Porsche Cayenne?  Doesn’t look very different to me…

Yes, it is indeed the third generation Porsche and like its predecessor, it does not stray far from the design blueprint set by the 2002 original. And there really isn’t much incentive to change much here for Porsche frankly; it has so far sold 700,000 Cayennes so something is clearly working.

Design-wise, there is very little separating this model from the car it replaces. So, in the fine tradition of Porsche design, the slats on the grille have a different orientation, and it all looks pretty much the same as before. The rear is where the bigger change is. A horizontal lightbar with 3D ‘Porsche’ graphic runs the length of the tailgate. If you aren’t a fan of the Cayenne’s styling, this new one isn’t about to change your opinion.

Even though is doesn’t look it, the 2018 Porsche Cayenne is bigger than before, however, it’s lighter, too.

Tell me more…

The new Cayenne is based on Volkswagen Group’s MLB platform that underpins the Bentley Bentayga, the new Audi Q7, as well as the upcoming Lamborghini Urus super-SUV. There are three engine options available. Starting with our entry-level Cayenne tester’s 3.0-litre twin-turbo V6 developing 340 horsepower and 450Nm of torque, followed by the 2.9-litre twin-turbo V6 Cayenne S model churning out 440 horsepower and 550Nm of torque and finally, the range-topping Turbo variant with 550bhp and a gargantuan 770Nm of twist. All the available engines are mated with a Tiptronic eight-speed automatic gearbox (not PDK) delivering the power to all four wheels.

Our test car was kitted with the optional adaptive air suspension, which can lower or raise the height of the vehicle, as well as the Sport Chrono package, which brings the frivolously joyful mode switch that allows you to unleash the full potential of the powertrain for 20 seconds to execute overtaking ridiculous maneuvers.

What’s it like to drive?

The 2018 Porsche Cayenne almost drives like a sports sedan, it really does. There is virtually no lean in the corners and the acceleration, even though frail on paper at 6.2 seconds to 100km/h, is adequate for any every-day driving situation you may encounter. The best thing though is the great chassis, which, with its multitude of electronic aids, delivers more fun in brisk driving than any SUV ever has any right to. The ride is much better than the car is replaces too, however, it is still not the most spacious SUV in its class.

As a driver’s 4×4 (As paradoxical as it may sound, they do exist these days) the Cayenne is the leader in its segment. Even in the least powerful version we tested, it’s still immense fun.

2018 Porsche Cayenne

What about the interior? Still a button- and knob-fest?

The centre console has been tidied up in the new Cayenne, with a large touchscreen infotainment system controlling most vehicle functions. The multitude of buttons in the previous car have been replaced by neat-looking haptic switches, which although cool aren’t the easiest to operate. Some are, surprisingly for Porsche, not easily accessible, such as the ones right below the infotainment screen.

The steering wheels is sporty with real metal trim pieces and the cabin is draped in superb two-tone, black-mojave leather, optional, of course. The fit and finish is what you would expect in a Porsche and better than anything a similarly-priced Range Rover or Jaguar can offer.

What about the optional extras?

You had to bring this up, didn’t you? Porsche’s notoriously expensive options list means that our test car, which starts at AED313,200 including VAT, left the showroom sporting price tag of AED434,660! That is AED121,460 just in optional extras!

Everything from the white exterior finish to adaptive air suspensions to the Sports Chrono package is not standard equipment. Heck, you even need to pay extra for the ash-tray!

What’s notable is despite over a 100 grand in options, our tester skimps on things like Carbon Ceramic brakes (AED34,540) and Rear Axle Steering (AED7,910). Suitably carried away you can easily spec another AED100,000 worth of additional kit on this car, no problem!

Should I buy one then?

If you’re looking for a sports sedan and for some reason wished it looked like an SUV, there are no better choices than the 2018 Porsche Cayenne. It’s not the most rapid car in the base guise, but it is nippy enough. However, if you can stretch your budget, the Cayenne S is the one to go for. Although it is pricier, there are few SUVs that can toy with the laws of physics the way a Cayenne can. Highly recommended.

 

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