Porsche Cayenne S: gentleman or hooligan? You decide

Published Jan 30, 2024


Touted as the car that ostensibly saved Porsche and allowed them to continue making ridiculously fast sports cars by bringing to market a well-heeled SUV, the Cayenne has continued to evolve into one of their most popular cars.

Having spent some time in the latest iteration of the Cayenne S, it’s not difficult to understand why.

There’s been some fiddling with the exterior and interior, but the biggest smile has to come from the re-introduced V8 under the bonnet.

It seems that Porsche has heard their customer base and dropped the previous V6 in favour of two more cylinders and also added two turbochargers to the 4.0-litre mill.

It puts out 349kW and 600Nm of torque that’s sent to all four wheels via an eight-speed automatic gearbox that should get you to 100km/h in five seconds.

That’s the good stuff.

The exterior boasts more aggressive and prominently arched wings, Matrix LED headlights and a new bonnet while the rear features an updated apron with an integrated number plate holder and the tail lights are a three-dimensional design.

Apart from the powerplant, the interior has received a fairly significant upgrade as well.

The driver is faced with a 12.3-inch curved digital instrument cluster as part of the Porsche Driver experience first seen in the Taycan.

A push button stop/start and significantly, the transmission selector is now situated in the dashboard next to the 12.3-inch infotainment screen fitted with Porsche Communication Management software, that’s easy to use and has wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.

With the gear selector now on the dash it allows for more storage compartments, mechanical air conditioning switches and a haptic volume controller.

In typical Porsche fashion fixtures, fittings and surfaces are premium and everything seems to have been thought out with the user in mind rather than haphazardly placed.

Starting the V8 is enough to make your day with a hearty growl before it settles down to a pleasant burble.

The Cayenne S is equally at home cruising through the suburbs doing the daily chores and loading whatever is needed into 625-litres of boot space as it is chasing maximum speed in every gear.

With a towing capacity of 3 500kg and a decent Off-Road mode setting, it’s a very capable and comfortable all-rounder.

Not that you’re going to be playing silly buggers with a caravan or boat but unhitched in Sport or Sport+ mode it will provide you with many hours of fun when you decide to test the boundaries a little.

Our test unit was fitted with the optional adaptive air suspension which when driving and cornering hard belies the Cayenne’s size and 2,160kg weight.

The engineering and calibration of the chassis, 48-volt anti-roll bars, gearbox and engine modes is sublime as is the exhaust roar as it heads into the red.

It never feels as though things are likely to spin out of control when pressed hard into and out of corners with little body roll and when passing slower traffic, it shifts down effortlessly hunkers down and gets on with it.

Dial back the hooligan and back in Normal mode, the low-down torque of the V8 makes it a respectable everyday SUV again.

Porsche claims consumption figures of 9.7l/100km which may seem a little enthusiastic because let's face it, no one buys a twin-turbo V8 because they’re concerned about consumption but as a pointer we managed 12.9l/100km with a variety of driving conditions.

I thoroughly enjoyed my time behind the wheel of the Porsche Cayenne S and as an all-rounder that delivers both a sporty drive and a comfortable every day car it hits the mark superbly.

Also, there’s always that Porsche keyring on the counter to give a little extra street credibility.

It’s priced at R2 125 000 and comes with a three-year/100 000km maintenance plan.

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