2020 Porsche Cayenne Coupe road test review
Of all the SUVs that deserve a sportier SUV-coupe variant, the Porsche Cayenne is perhaps the most deserving. It is one of the best driving SUVs in the segment, and for Rs 12 lakh more, or roundabout the cost of upgrading your base Cayenne with 22-inch wheels from the Porsche catalogue, you could instead upgrade to the Cayenne Coupe. Which, most importantly, packs a boot load of extra style as standard (and the Sport Chrono pack and adaptive dampers), with a swoopy silhouette closely resembling the 911 and Panamera.
Cayenne Coupe styling
Despite the very obvious difference in the roofline between the Cayenne and the Coupe if they're side by side, when you see one on its own, it's harder to tell which one's which. The Coupe is essentially the same up to the A-pillar, which is raked back ever so slightly steeper. Despite the similarities, at 4,931mm long, the Coupe is 13mm longer than the Cayenne, with a roof that's sat 20mm lower and shoulders that stretch 18mm wider.
The front windows also get a little quarter glass, while the rear windows shrink in height to make the silhouette match other Porsches in the range. A fixed roof spoiler works in conjunction with a retractable spoiler at the end of the tailgate, which raises (in one piece) automatically at speed, or can be set via the infotainment screen. It's not particularly good looking when it's raised but it's functional and it's pretty wild to see an SUV-coupe with active aero spoilers like this, usually reserved for sportscars and supercars. It's another piece that strengthens the connection to Porsche's pedigree, and helps set the Coupe apart.
Ultimately though, the Coupe does have the same slightly forgettable face of the Cayenne, but overall it is a handsome SUV, even if you don't spec a bright shade like this Lava Orange. Though, of all the wheel choices, these motorsport-inspired 21-inch RS Spyder Design wheels lend the right amount of visual weight to the bottom half of the car. That apart, it's certainly one of the best-looking examples of the conundrum that is the SUV-coupe.
Cayenne Coupe Interiors
Largely similar to the Cayenne, again, it's the small touches, like the shallower angle of the windscreen and the superbly bolstered seats up front, that make you feel like you're sat in something with a marginally more specialised intent. And though you have to make do with a small quarter glass in the Coupe, visibility is as good as ever, even around tight corners. Even so out the rear, which is a huge plus considering some other SUV-coupes have a rear windscreen aperture tiny enough to swallow entire motorcycles whole in the resulting blind spots.
Headroom at the rear, another sore spot for these types of SUVs, is surprisingly good in the Coupe with room for someone much taller than even my 5'11" frame. Porsche have achieved this by mounting the rear bench 30mm lower to make up for the lower roof, which is a full-length glass roof as standard.
For the sun-roof fans, sorry, it doesn't open and isn't available as an option either. Anyway, despite the lower seating resulting in a position that has your knees raised a tiny bit more than the regular Cayenne, it's still nearly as comfortable in absolute terms thanks to a relaxed angle of recline and more than ample under thigh support. Four seats are standard but a middle seat can be specced too, while boot space is only marginally reduced to 625-litres thanks to the sloping tailgate.
Cayenne Coupe driving impressions
The 3.0-litre V6 under the hood makes 340PS and 450Nm, the same figures as the regular Cayenne but where the e-Hybrid, for example, has the electric motor to provide pinned-to-the-seat acceleration, the single twin-scroll turbocharged V6 is a far more relaxed beast. Its 0-100kmph of 6 seconds translates to more than enough pace on the road but like the regular Audi Q8 (with the same engine, same power but 100Nm more torque, and added 48V mild-hybrid tech), for example, there's not too much drama in it. The sounds it makes is quite muted as well, though it does get a little throaty on the way to its 6,600rpm redline.
The fun in the Coupe lies in letting the intuitive eight-speed Tiptronic S automatic do all the hard work, while you focus on building a flow - a feat that's imminently enjoyable, with a solid swell of power from down low that builds crescendo and begs you to rev it out.
On a narrow piece of twisty tarmac, it makes it quite rewarding actually, with just enough power to be rapid but not so much as to be overwhelming. Of course, on a wide-open highway, you may feel like you'd be better off with more shove, or at least a more dramatic sounding exhaust. Similar to the Audi Q8, the Cayenne Coupe posted 9.6kmpl on the highway in our testing, with the figure dropping to 8.2kmpl in the city, which isn't bad considering it doesn't get the mild-hybrid tech as its four-ringed cousin.
On occasion, the 'box shows a reluctance to downshift for corner entry when you take manual control via the lovely aluminium paddle shifters, which is another reason to let it do its own thing. Roll-on times are, surprisingly, not far off from the e-Hybrid, which has far more torque (including of the near-instant electric variety) but is also heavier. The Coupe, in comparison is 2,030kg, still an increase of 45kg over the regular Cayenne V6. If you want to cut that down, you'd do well to opt for the Lightweight Sport package, which includes a carbon fibre roof panel, a first for the Cayenne line. The package cuts up to 22kg off, with 21kg of it reduced high up in the roof, and pairs with a set of 'weight-optimised' 22-inch GT Design wheels that promise to reduce unsprung weight, even when compared to the standard 20-inch wheels.
I'd say on these 21-inch wheels and Pirelli P Zero rubber, the Coupe finds a beautiful, almost delicate balance between ride quality, which is surprisingly pliant and well-controlled, gently absorbing everything the surface throws up, and handling, where it feels sharp and quite agile. The steering feel, to use the word again, since it's so apt, is delicate it's perfectly weighted, and in Sport, or Sport Plus offers the exact resistance to help you thread the Coupe through a twisty patch. Of course, physics isn't on your side when you're piloting 2-tonnes of metal but the Coupe does a good job of hiding the weight, noticeable largely when you push the weight to any particular corner of the car dynamically. In our braking tests, the Coupe on the standard steel discs stopped from 100kmph to a standstill in 41.3m and 2.9 sec, with great modulation from the pedal. In fact, the Coupe also allows for a fair amount of left-foot braking with a seamless and fleeting cut in response from the throttle, so if you were to try and exploit the limits, you could.
Cayenne Coupe verdict
Considering the extra standards (full-length glass roof, sport seats, adaptive air dampers) on the Coupe, it seems like it's the pick to make over the standard Cayenne, with very little in the way of practical compromises. A louder exhaust would make for more drama, for sure, but there's plenty of involvement to be had for the driving enthusiast.
Photography by Anis Shaikh
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