LIKE TV stars who suddenly make it in Hollywood, the Porsche Cayenne seems to get better looking with age. When it launched in 2002, amid disbelief that the famous sports car maker was even bothering with a SUV, the world gasped at its creation’s unsightliness.
And yet, buyers went out and bought it. In droves. The Cayenne became the company’s best-selling model in its first year. Why? Because despite its high-riding stance and bulbous appearance, Porsche had concentrated on giving the car a sporty feel when most rivals had only nailed the luxury and utility side of things.
Fortunately, over time the Cayenne has improved aesthetically as well as dynamically, and the current, second generation model is somewhat of a looker. And now Porsche has released images and details of its third generation Cayenne, showing an evolution of design that makes it even more visually arresting.
This difference are subtle, but the new car features larger air intakes at the front, as well as new “horizontal light edges” that lend the model a wider, more athletic appearance. It’s longer, too, by 63mm, but the roof is 9mm lower compared with its predecessor, lending it a more sporty, GT-like profile.
Under the bonnet at launch will be a 3-litre V6 with a single turbocharger producing 335bhp, while the Cayenne S gets a 2.9-litre V6 twin-turbo developing 434bhp. With the optional Sport Chrono Package, that translates to 0-62mph in 4.9sec (three tenths quicker than the base Cayenne S). Top speed is 165mph.
Dynamically, the new Cayenne is expected to take a big step forward, with rear-wheel steering and wider rear tyres (compared with those at the front), as well as four-wheel drive with active air suspension and Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control, to reduce roll through corners without upsetting the handling while further improving off-road comfort.
The new Cayenne is still a heavyweight, but when drained of fluids it tips the scales at 1,985kg, which is up to 65kg lighter than the outgoing model, and new tungsten-carbide coated cast-iron brake discs should afford it improved stopping ability.
Inside, the extra length translates into a heap more space in the boot, too (now 770 litres, up by 100 litres), while the dashboard and instrumentation are brought right up to date with a huge 12.3-inch full-HD touchscreen and the latest generation Porsche Communication Management (PCM) system, launched last year in the new Panamera.
Drivers still get the trademark central tachometer but either side are two 7-inch digital displays, offering driving data.
The third generation of the Porsche Cayenne is available to order from today. The Cayenne is priced from £55,965 inc VAT RRP, and for the Cayenne S from £68,330 inc VAT RRP. First deliveries to Porsche Centres will be from April 2018.