Porsche unveiled the 2018 version of the Cayenne SUV. While this may not be as exciting to the sports car crowd as the 911 Targa GTS might be, it is the car, along with the Macan, that allows Porsche to keep building the lower-volume cars we drool over. And, as a three-time Cayenne owner, I’ll have to admit that it’s a vehicle you can’t help but appreciate. For what it can do, you’d be very hard pressed to find a more capable all-around vehicle out there. The newest version is 164 pounds lighter than the already-lightened prior generation. These are heavy beasts, make no mistake, but the body is now fully aluminum and the chassis combines aluminum and steel.
The new motors are something we’re getting used to seeing from Porsche. The base Cayenne has always had a bit of a gutless V6 in there. Now both the base and the S models have V6’s but with different displacements and turbo capabilities. The base car is a 3.0L car that puts out a respectable 340 horsepower. For reference, my first Cayenne S with a 4.5L V8 put out 325bhp. The S model only has 2.9L but has twin turbos and puts out 440 horsepower. One early driving review seemed to indicate that the base engine was throatier and more satisfying if a bit winded at times. But they preferred it to the more powerful S. We’ll see if that’s the consensus until the uber-Turbo-Hybrid-SE-wunderbar version is announced.
This newest version continues the interesting Cayenne quirk of offering sophisticated off-road capability to folks (myself included) who barely ever use a fraction of that capability. Porsche Traction Management (PTM) is now standard on all models. An interesting new option is rear-wheel-steering. We’ve seen this applied to the 911 range recently to provide more agility as the wheelbase increases and by all accounts, it seems to succeed admirably. I’m not a big fan of diluting the sports-car ethos with gadgetry but in a Cayenne it seems wholly appropriate. Agility in your 4000+ pound SUV is never a bad thing!
There is more cargo space – which is good as my ski equipment isn’t getting smaller – and revised suspension parts too. The tiptronic transmission is still a torque-converter but it’s all new and faster. And the interior has that new style with a big 12.3″ screen in the center and buttons electronically integrated under a glass surface for a seamless look.
Porsche is also offering something really new – Porsche Surface Coated Brakes (PSCB). What is it? Apparently they have coated the rotors with tungsten carbide – you know, like on drill bits. They claim it increases friction, reduces pad wear, and reduces dust. Where has this coating been all my life? Tungsten carbide is twice as strong as steel and has good high-temperature stability, hence the use in drill bits, so I guess I can see the potential. And this should be something that might also filter through to our track cars!
All in all, it’s a version that definitely seems to be pulling many of Porsche’s various desirable bits into a car that should sell very well. Who knows, I might even have to see if it’s time to avail myself of these updates.