The 2024 Porsche Cayenne is a car that delivers a driving experience that spans the gamut from sporty to sedate. Its updated cockpit offers welcome technological advances with few complaints. Comparing the Cayenne to the competition. It is a luxury SUV that offers a thrilling driving experience and doesn’t confuse technology with luxury like some of its competitors. However, it’s not cheap.
The majority of SUVs are unable to live in two worlds at once. Performance can be negatively affected by a focus on practicality and vice versa. I was one of three judges for a comparison of compact SUVs. The two most fun-to-drive entrants – and they were genuinely fun to drive – finished last and next to last.
Porsche has spent decades perfecting the art of making SUVs that are fun to drive while still being practical. It may or may be necessary to invoke eldritch deities, but Porsche has mastered it with its Cayenne. Porsche has updated the Cayenne’s styling for the 2024 model, increased the power in the entire lineup, and refined the suspension system to improve handling. The Taycan-inspired Taycan is heavily influenced by the new cockpit. Cayenne is not new. All models come with an automatic eight-speed transmission, and all-wheel-drive, and are available as SUVs and four-door coupes (read: roofline sloped).
I recently traveled to Los Angeles to spend some time behind the wheel of the updated Cayenne (per Cars.com’s ethics policy, we pay for our travel and lodging at such manufacturer-sponsored events). When given a choice between European-market Cayennes, I chose a Cayenne S Coupe, which was the closest in terms of features to the version that will be sold here. While I would have preferred to drive the SUV body style more commonly seen, I took what I could get. Porsche claims that about 30% of Cayennes sold since the coupe was introduced in the 2020 model have been coupes. Porsche sells fewer plug-in hybrid Cayennes regardless of body style.
2024 Porsche Cayenne S Changes
The Cayenne S’s new twin-turbo V-8 produces 468 horsepower, and 442 pound-feet torque. This is an increase of 34 hp and a 37 pound-feet torque over the previous S version’s twin-turbo 2.9-liter v-6. The power is more than adequate; you can feel it building up before it floods on. There is indeed a slight delay in the power delivery. However, it was never frustrating and did not hinder merging or passing. Do you want to avoid the delay? If you choose the Sport Chrono Package, you’ll have access to Sport response mode. This will prime the turbos for 20 seconds and the transmission for a more immediate response. In Sport Plus, the Cayenne’s most aggressive mode, the active exhaust system produces a pleasing soundtrack. However, in its quieter setting, it will not disturb your neighbors.
The Cayenne is a Porsche that offers more than just a fast car in a straight line. Porsche claims that the optional air suspension on my test car is a newer version and offers greater differentiation between Normal, Sport, and Sport Plus driving mode.
It’s not possible to confirm this claim at the moment because there is no previous-generation Cayenne. However, I can tell you that the new air spring suspension makes the Cayenne comfortable in Normal mode and then increases the performance when you switch from Sport to Sport Plus. In Normal mode, there is very little body roll, which gets less as you move up the levels of performance. The ride was not harsh even with the optional 22-inch wheels on my test car (20s are the standard). As the suspension tightened, the level of control also increased. The Cayenne feels nimble, and the steering is incredibly communicative. This is also helped by the optional rear-axle-steering, especially in low-speed maneuvers.
It’s not a new invention, but the eight-speed auto is worth mentioning for its excellent performance. The transmission was never out of gear, and it can smoothly switch to five gears when accelerating hard. Although the paddle shifters can be fun, they are not necessary when you leave them to their own devices.
Carbon-ceramic brakes are available and have a great pedal feel. They also provide incredible stopping power. The brakes are so powerful that they can make it difficult to stop smoothly in traffic. The S model is the best of all the Cayenne models, offering more performance and power than the base SUV without the added weight of the E-Hybrid or the higher price of the Turbo GT. I had a lot more fun driving the Cayenne than the BMW X3 M Competition and Audi RS Q8.
Porsche didn’t just want to improve the driving performance with the Cayenne. The new 12.3-inch touchscreen and 12.6-inch digital display on the instrument panel increase the technology level inside. The gauge cluster can be configured in many ways but is also very easy to use. It’s the same with the touchscreen in the center, which has standard wireless Apple CarPlay connectivity and Android Auto compatibility (or at least it will, our Euro-spec vehicles had some problems here in the U.S.).
It takes a while for the display to start up, but it is very responsive once it has. This will all look familiar to anyone who has seen or sat inside a Taycan. It’s an improvement in general. The 10.9-inch touchscreen dashboard is available for the front passengers to stream videos, control navigation, and more. It remains hidden from the driver to avoid distraction.
Porsche did not confuse technology with luxury despite the improvements. Mercedes-Benz is the worst offender of this type, with its confusing screens and excessively complicated controls. But in the Cayenne, everything is simple to use, and the materials are top-notch. To me, luxury is defined by ease of use and comfort. Tradition is also important; the Cayenne’s turn-key ignition has been replaced with a push-button start, but it still sits to the left of its steering wheel, as per Porsche tradition.
The interior has a few issues. One is the dash-mounted gear selector, which I find to be too delicate and lacks the solidity that the Cayenne deserves. The new climate control panel, which combines touch-sensitive controls with rocker switches, can be found on the center console. The controls are responsive and feel good, but they move the whole panel when you select an individual control. The interior of the Cayenne is the only area that feels cheap.
The rear visibility of the coupe is not great, but it’s worth mentioning. Tesla Model Y is not bad but could be improved. That’s what you get for style if you call a coupe-SUV stylish. I like the SUV lines better than the coupe, but the Cayenne Coupe looks better to me compared to the BMW X6 and Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupe. Even in the coupe, there is plenty of space for the rear seat. Even though the sloping rooftop reduces rear-seat space, my hair barely touched the roofline and I am 6 feet 1 inches tall. Even on a long trip, I would be comfortable in the back seat (but I still prefer to be driving).
We’re still awaiting official fuel economy estimates on the Cayenne 2024 lineup. It’s safe to say that my driving was not very fuel-efficient. It would be surprising to see a V-8 model with more power surpass the 18 mpg rating of the previous Cayenne. We are especially interested in seeing how the E-Hybrid’s upgrades, such as a larger battery and more power affect the all-electric range of the vehicle, which was 14 miles.
2024 Porsche Cayenne S Price & Release Date
The new Cayenne is not cheap. The standard equipment has been improved – Porsche Active Suspension Management and safety tech such as lane departure steering assistance and lane switch assist are now included – but prices have increased across the board. The Cayenne coupe I tested has a starting price of $103,750, including destination.
Porsche prides itself on its ability to customize its cars to the customer’s liking. There are thousands of dollars worth of options and with Porsche’s Paint-to-Sample option, you can spend over $10,000 just on paint. The optional features on my test vehicle totaled almost $50,000 for a price as tested of more than $150,000. It feels wrong to recommend a car that costs six figures, but the Cayenne is a fantastic vehicle.