Road Test Review: Porsche Cayenne S

Independent review by Patrick James

5-minute read

Black Porsche Cayenne S Exterior Rear Driving

Road Test Review: Porsche Cayenne S

Explore the key features of the Porsche Cayenne S in our expert road test review

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SUVs are well-known for their practicality, but few can offer performance quite like what the Porsche Cayenne S can.


  • Impressive performance for such a big car
  • Refined and top quality
  • Laden with tech
  • Sharper styling compared to previous generations
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There are few more iconic names in the world of motoring than Porsche, a brand long synonymous with sporting pedigree and top end quality.

So it came as a bit of a surprise when the Cayenne first came on the scene over two decades ago.

But it was an SUV with attitude and soon proved its worth with sales, not to mention performance associated with the brand, and became a bestseller.

A complete departure, a bulky SUV where sleek sports had previously driven sales.

Performance, however, was, and still is, startling. Not only that, with its complex four-wheel drive system, it proved itself more than capable of the rough stuff and no doubt still does.

The first one I drove was around Brands Hatch racetrack with a professional driver, so any doubt about the vehicle's sporting pedigree was dispelled in seconds.

Design and Practicality

Revamped for 2019, the latest version is sleeker, slippier through the air and altogether more aerodynamic. The original curved profile has been replaced with sharper lines and angles and a new grille and light clusters, giving the car a more predatory look.

The rear has been completely redesigned, with rear light clusters using state-of-the-art LED technology.

The interior is typically luxurious with full electrically operated and heated leather seats and a soft touch finish throughout, with new features including the Porsche Advanced Cockpit control concept.

The centre console glass surface gently slopes upwards and featuring touch-sensitive buttons for direct access to the most important functions like suspension settings.

Above that is the Porsche Communication Management (PCM), with 12-inch touchscreen display and includes an online navigation module. Behind the multifunction Sports steering wheel is the instrument cluster.

There are also two high-resolution display screens that display virtual instruments, maps and other information functions like infotainment, smartphone connectivity and navigation. Voice controls are also available, while the central analogue clock remains.

The other buttons and switches are too numerous to mention, the car is a riot of hi tech gizmos and wizardry.

Sports performance and SUV practicality. A full five-seater, the rear seats fold 40/20/40, to increase a generous 745 litres capacity to 1,710 litres. The boot opening is wide and reasonably low for easy of loading.

Despite seeming to have just about every driver accessory, this model still managed to pack in an extra £13,000 of goodies at the time of testing. Well, I suppose if you can afford the initial £68,000 outlay, the extra will not break the bank.


There are a number of versions, including a hybrid, and all pack an exceptional punch.

This S model with its 2.9-litre twin-turbo V6 engine delivers a stonking 440bhp and pins you back in the seat as it powers what is a heavy vehicle to 62mph in just over 5.0 seconds and on to, well, a speed you will never reach, maybe even not at Brands Hatch.

The 8-speed automatic gearbox slips seamlessly through the gears, although you can switch to manual with the steering wheel paddles.

It also packs 404lb ft of torque, which will pull just about anything and makes the car great for towing. A really versatile motor.

Driving Experience

There is surprisingly little wallowing on corners and occupants as well protected from road, wind, and engine noise intrusion.

On the road, the car handles beautifully, especially when you slip it into sport mode, one of three options available, and adjust the suspension.
Patrick James

Off the road, it is more than capable. Not tried out this time, but past experience shows its four-wheel drive capability can more than handle the rough stuff, not that many are likely to.


The latest generation of the Porsche Cayenne S impresses across the board, delivering typically-Porsche performance as well as enhanced levels of practicality and serious off-road ability. There are many sporty SUVs now on the market, but few come close to having the Porsche kudos.