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August 27, 2019

Review: 2019 Porsche Cayenne V6

When Porsche came up with the original Cayenne in 2002, most, if not all, saw it as an opportunistic cash grab—done to fill the company coffers and nothing to improve the brand positioning. Yet, in the 17 years since, the Cayenne slowly, but surely found its footing and its place in the Kingdom of Stuttgart. From an awkward mess from an unloved corporate stepmom, today, this all-new third-generation model is the product of Porsche’s continuous honing. It has, for all intents and purposes, truly made this two-ton SUV into an impeccable everyday sportscar that seats five.

It used to be that Porsche’s solution to make, at least in the Cayenne’s case, faster is to add more power and more electronic complexity. Well, not anymore. Now, it’s all about intelligent weight management. With reduced heft, it sports smaller engines than before. The diesel engine option has found its way to the automotive afterlife, so the entrance to Cayenne ownership is with the VR6 and its 340 horsepower, 450 Nm of torque 3.0-liter turbocharged V6. Porsche says that the century mark arrives in 6.2 seconds, but more important for the driver, it feels faster than that. There’s plenty of zing to go around, even if the very nature of the Cayenne as a luxury SUV means the engine note takes a backseat for an isolated cabin experience. Idle start/stop is also standard and while its engagement can be pretty aggressive, it does little to quench its thirst for premium unleaded: 5 km/L in city driving.

Accompanying the V6 is an 8-speed automatic that eschews the dual-clutch setup for a traditional torque converter one. Porsche says it’s deliberate because Cayenne owners might need to tow and haul stuff. As it is, the shifts are noticeable, and not particularly quick. The ‘box is also lazy to downshift unless some paddle shifter action is called upon.

Already capable as a long-distance highway cruiser (or even a daily traffic crawler), the Cayenne uses lots of tech (and some small dose of voodoo magic) to make it one of the best-handling SUVs around. Things start with a rear-biased all-wheel drive system and mixed-size tires, then you add in the Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM)—a three-chambered air suspension with changeable modes into the mix as well. Throw it into a corner, and there’s a sense of urgency that you just don’t expect of something this large. The steering, at first, comes across as hefty and too sensitive around the middle, but then you realize it aids in tackling sharp turns—requiring a mere flick rather than a full-on tug.

Even better news to the typical Cayenne owner is that PASM doesn’t just improve the handling, but it also improves the ride too. When left in ‘Normal’ mode, it glides through ruts and cracks with aplomb. There’s some juddering when going through sharp edges, but that’s down more to the optional 20-inch wheels than anything else (oddly enough, engaging ‘Sport’ calms it down). Perhaps, individuals looking for the best ride would do well to stick with the standard 19s.

Outside, Porsche keeps the Cayenne on an evolutionary, rather than revolutionary track. It takes a while to spot the difference between this and the previous-generation model, especially from the front. Yet, it’s longer, lower, and wider than before with a more muscular stance and a larger, angrier maw. And very atypical of a car, this one’s best viewed from the back thanks to that muscular haunch and full-width Heckblende LED taillights.

Inside though is a completely different story. Taking cues from its Panamera, the Cayenne now inherits a cabin worthy of lifetime country club admission. The materials, quality, and attention to detail are almost beyond reproach. At the center of it all is the Porsche Communication Management or PCM. The crisp, high-def 12-inch display looks great and works even better. The number of menus and sub-menus to navigate is overwhelming at first, but its highly customizable design means most used commands can be integrated to its Home screen.

Beneath the screen and surrounding the gearlever is a glassy panel with illuminated icons than conventional buttons. Seemingly straight out of Star Trek, touch one and you’ll get a little haptic buzz through your fingertips to let you know it’s working. Like the menus of the PCM, the sheer number of functions here is daunting, but at least they’re clustered for easy reference. That said, it’s still quite a challenge to use without taking your eyes off the road; a few more physical knobs would have been nice.

Behind the three-spoke tiller is Porsche’s traditional five-dial instrument cluster. While it does well in paying homage while also rendering traditional circular dials very well, look closely and they’re actually two screens flanking the central tach. The left and ride sides offer their own respective displays (they’re not interchangeable), controlled by two multi-function controls on the steering wheel.

The seats themselves are supportive with pretty aggressive bolstering. Rear passengers too will find lots of room, and even the cargo space is larger than before (though the luggage compartment still isn’t as cavernous as you might expect). Oh, and on the subject of being a sportscar, the Cayenne does have a surprising number of blind spots, particularly from the back. Thankfully, it comes with a full myriad of sensors and even a back-up camera to help it maneuver through tight spots.

It’s taken three generations, but the grandchild of the original Cayenne has shown what Porsche is capable of. It’s come a long way from being a mere badge-engineered cash cow that sticks out like a sore thumb. Today, the 2019 Cayenne has proven itself as true, bonafide member of the Porsche family—one that’s proud to wear the family crest. Moreover, it continues to reign as the best luxury sports-oriented SUV around, and one that brings sportscar-like experience for the entire family.

2019 Porsche Cayenne V6
Ownership 2019 Porsche Cayenne V6
Year Introduced 2018
Vehicle Classification Luxury SUV
Warranty 2 years / Unlimited Kilometers
The Basics
Body Type 5-door SUV
Seating 5
Engine / Drive F/AWD
Under the Hood
Displacement (liters) 3.0
Aspiration Turbo
Fuel Delivery Direct Injection
Layout / # of Cylinders V6
BHP @ rpm 340 @ 5,300-6,400
Nm @ rpm 450 @ 1,340-5,300
Fuel / Min. Octane Gasoline / 95~
Transmission 8 AT
Cruise Control Yes
Fuel Economy @ Ave. Speed 5.0 km/L @ 11 km/h,
7.40 km/L @ 23 km/h
Dimensions and Weights
Length (mm) 4,918
Width (mm) 1,983
Height (mm) 1,696
Wheelbase (mm) 2,895
Curb Weight (kg) 1,985
Suspension and Tires
Front Suspension Independent, Multi-Link, PASM
Rear Suspension Independent, Multi-Link, PASM
Front Brakes Vented Disc
Rear Brakes Vented Disc
Tires Standard:
255/55 R 19 (f),
275/50 R 19 (r)
As Tested:
Pirelli PZero 275/45 R 20 (f),
Pirelli PZero 305/40 R 20 (r)
Wheels Alloy
Safety Features
Airbags 6
Anti-Lock Brakes (ABS) Yes, with EBD
Traction / Stability Control Yes
Parking Sensors Yes, Front and Rear, with Reverse Camera
Front Seatbelts 3-pt ELR with pre-tensioner x 2
Rear Seatbelts 3-pt ELR x 3
ISOFIX Child Seat Anchor Yes
Other Safety Features Hill Hold Assist
Hill Descent Control
Tire Pressure Monitoring
Exterior Features
Headlights LED
Fog Lamps Yes, Rear
Auto Lights Yes
Rain-sensing Wipers Yes
Interior Features
Steering Wheel Adjust Tilt/Telescopic, Electric Adjust
Steering Wheel Material Leather
Seating Adjustment (driver) Electric, 14-way, w/ Memory
Seating Adjustment (front passenger) Electric, 14-way, w/ Memory
Seating Surface Leather
Folding Rear Seat Yes, 40/20/40
On-Board Computer Yes
Convenience Features
Power Steering Yes
Power Door Locks Yes
Power Windows Yes
Power Mirrors Yes, with Fold
Proximity Key Yes
Climate Control Yes, Dual Zone w/ Rear Vents
Audio System Stereo
SD Card
Apple CarPlay
# of Speakers 7
Steering Controls Yes


  1. Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't this just the single turbo "V6" not a "VR6" which is a different engine layout?


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