The new Porsche Cayenne is bigger and faster than ever

More of the same done better – and faster.

That's the basic sales pitch with the third generation of the Cayenne, Porsche's original – and most controversial – SUV.

The latest iteration of the Cayenne employs a familiar formula but with the performance attributes amped up for an era when SUVs are faster than ever.

It's also grown in size, luxury and ability.

Bigger is better

At 4918mm long and 1983mm wide, this is the largest Cayenne ever, despite the roof being lowered by nine millimetres to give it more of a sporty look.

It now adopts a more athletic SUV look forged by its smaller sibling, the Macan, but with distinctive LED lights front and rear that link it to the likes of the Panamera and iconic 911.

Not that anyone will ever mistake it for a sports car.

But still room for a trim

Despite the extra space, the Cayenne has slimmed down for its latest iteration.

Porsche claims it's up to 65 kilograms lighter than the model it replaces.


That's largely courtesy of the latest Volkswagen Group architecture that also underpins the Audi Q7 and Bentley Bentayga (and will also be employed on the next gen Volkswagen Touareg and Lamborghini's first SUV, the Urus).

And it comes even with the promise of more features as part of a plan to boost value.

No word on pricing yet, but expect the Cayenne to start from around the $109,100 ask for the current car.

Corner cutter

While practicality is a big part of the Cayenne's reason for being, driving excitement and enjoyment also ranks highly in its repertoire.

All models, for example, drive all four wheels for maximum traction when accelerating.

And for the first time the Cayenne steers the front and rear of the car.

The front wheels do most of the turning, with the rears turning in the same direction at higher speeds for additional stability.

Bridging comfort and ability

In low speed manoeuvring the rears turn in the opposite direction as the fronts, tightening the turning circle to make U-turns and parking that little bit easier.

Borrowing so many components from the Panamera it's no surprise the Cayenne picks up that car's latest generation air suspension system designed to bridge the often vast chasm between ride comfort and dynamic ability.

The three-chamber system also allows the body to be raised – just in case any Porsche SUV owner actually dares to venture beyond the blacktop.

Stopping power

The Cayenne claims a world first with the optional Porsche Surface Coated Brake system.

Using huge cast iron discs it has a tungsten-carbide coating claimed to increase friction – for better braking – while reducing wear.

Distinguishing the new brakes are white calipers, which contrast against the "unique gloss" of the coated discs.

Off the beaten track

Despite the emphasis on going fast Porsche claims the latest Cayenne is more capable than before in rough and challenging terrain.

Driver programmable modes allow the electronics to be prepared for various terrain types, including mud, gravel, sand and rocks.

Speeding up

For now Porsche has only confirmed two V6 models for the third generation Cayenne, each driving through an eight-speed automatic.

They're the same drivetrains used in the four-door Panamera, a car that also lends things such as its new centre console to the Cayenne family.

The entry-level Cayenne gets a 250kW 3.0-litre V6 turbo.

But it's the punchier 2.9-litre twin turbo in the Cayenne S that is the more interesting motor.

Pumping out 324kW – almost as much as the original Cayenne V8 Turbo of 2003 – the feisty V6 that's also employed in cars such as the upcoming Audi RS5 endows the Cayenne S with a 0-100km/h time of 4.9 seconds, at least for those who option the launch control system.

More to come

The Cayenne and Cayenne S are only the start of a broad Cayenne family.

A plug-in hybrid model will borrow the drivetrain of the equivalent Panamera, teaming the twin turbo V6 with an electric motor.

That same thinking will also flow through to the Turbo S, which will pick up the V8 hybrid drivetrain from the Panamera Turbo S.

And expect some to use active aerodynamics – think wings that pop up at higher speeds, for example – something Porsche has been employing more in more recent models.

The new Cayenne arrives in Australia in mid-2018.

What do you make of the new-look Cayenne? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.