First Drive Review: Porsche Cayenne

Independent review by Chris Russon

5-minute read

Porsche Cayenne Driving

First Drive: Porsche Cayenne

Explore the key features of the Porsche Cayenne in our expert first drive review

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The Porsche Cayenne is a true luxury SUV, providing a unique blend of practicality with sports-car style and performance.


  • Incredible performance
  • Spacious interior
  • High-quality materials
  • Sporty style
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It is the car that broke the mould at Porsche by becoming the German automaker’s first 4-door model and SUV.

That was some 20 years ago – and the Cayenne has gone on to become one of the brand’s top sellers.

Now it is in its third generation and has gone on to notch up well over a million sales since its launch in 2002.

It has also become a trailblazer – and pace-setter – for the brand, which built its reputation on performance cars.

Engines and Performance

For an SUV, the Cayenne has become a legend – a full-blown off-roader, yet with a turn of speed that would not shame a supercar.

The current version is available in a variety of guises, ranging from 3.0-litre V6s to mighty twin-turbo 4.0-litre V8s pushing out an awesome 631bhp.

Bring in some electrification in the form of plug-in hybrid power, and that output can be increased to a whopping 690bhp.

With a blistering 0 to 62mph acceleration time of just 3.3 seconds and a top speed of 186mph, the Cayenne Turbo GT is the quickest of the current line-up and is a 2.3-tonne SUV that can outperform even the likes of Ferrari.

The Turbo GT is the flagship Cayenne and priced from £147,510 – a figure more than double that of the entry level model in the current range.

Sumptuously appointed, the Turbo GT is the epitome of the model that transformed Porsche’s fortunes in a new world of automotive design and manufacture.

Handling is a Porsche forte and whether it be the mighty Turbo GT or the original version, both excelled.

Air suspension has always been a standard feature on the Cayenne as has the Porsche Active Suspension Management system and combined they deliver fantastic ride characteristics whether on the road, the track or off-road.

Multiple drive modes with settings for normal, sport, sport plus and individual give a marked difference to the feel of the Cayenne and there is also an overboost facility which unleashes maximum power for 20 seconds.

Dynamically, the Cayenne is sublime and the Turbo GT embodies all that makes Porsches so exceptional.
Chris Russon

It is little surprise that the Cayenne Turbo GT has lapped the 13 miles of the Nordschleife at Germany’s Nurburgring in just 7:38:925 minutes – quicker than a Bugatti Veyron.

Fuel economy for the performance flagship of the Cayenne range with its 8-speed automatic transmission is rated at 20mpg with emissions of 319g/km – a figure which we slightly bettered on our drive, seeing an average of 20.8 to the gallon recorded on the trip computer.

An almost 20 gallon fuel tank is fitted, so range is not an issue.

In keeping with the current trend for zero emissions, an electric version of the Cayenne is under development – there is already a plug-in hybrid capable of some 74mpg – and is due for release in 2024, shortly after the arrival of the EV variant of the Porsche’s smaller SUV, the Macan.

Design and Practicality

Despite its SUV proportions – this particular Cayenne is some 4.9 metres long and almost two metres wide – there is a proper cockpit feel from the driving seat.

It is as intimate a feel as you would expect from a two-seat sports car in a cabin that is large enough to take four in considerable comfort.

Boot space is as practical as in any SUV and ranges from 549 to 1,464 litres, while from a styling perspective the Turbo GT is distinguished with large front air scoops, a power bulge on the bonnet and an active rear spoiler.


High-tech equipment includes state-of-the-art instrumentation centred on a rev counter, but smart enough for the navigation display to switch into view as and when needed.

That is as well as a large central display screen which sits on the dash above a centre console fitted out with haptic controls either side of the gear shift.

The Turbo GT we sampled came with almost £9,000 of extras fitted, including a £1,000 head up display and a £2,000 automatic cruise control system with lane assist function.


In every way it is a super car in the SUV market and since the original transformed Porsche's fortunes, it has gone on to pave the way for other luxury brands such as Bentley, Lamborghini, and Mercedes-Benz to flirt in the 4x4 performance zone.

Providing SUV practicality with sports car DNA and style, the Porsche Cayenne is truly a one-of-a-kind vehicle.

Prices correct at time of writing, 03/01/2023.