Expert review written by the Kelley Blue Book vehicle review editorial team.
After 15 years in production, the 2018 Porsche Cayenne just seems to improve with age. Still every bit the equal of rivals like the BMW X5, Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class and Land Rover Range Rover Sport, the Cayenne is offered in a number of variations, ranging from the eco-friendly Cayenne S E-Hybrid plug-in to the twin-turbocharged 570-horsepower Turbo S.
You'll Like The 2018 Porsche Cayenne If...
If you’re looking for a 5-passenger SUV that thinks it’s a 2-passenger sports car, the 2018 Porsche Cayenne has your name written all over it. From its varied engine offerings to its impressive luxury options, the Cayenne is designed to delight anyone lucky enough to drive one, and impress all of those watching.
You May Not Like The 2018 Porsche Cayenne If...
Not everyone can afford a 6-figure SUV. For those a little less well off, a more affordable performance-luxury SUV such as the 7-passenger Infiniti QX60, Audi Q7 or Acura MDX might be more prudent. The cost of maintenance for the Cayenne can also be eye-popping.
With an all-new Cayenne waiting to debut this fall, the 2018 Porsche Cayenne carries over largely unchanged.
As one would expect from a luxury SUV bearing the Porsche emblem, the Cayenne’s interior is second to none. The artistry and aesthetics flow into a functional environment as only Porsche can manage, combining finely stitched leathers, sumptuous wood inlays and metal accents to create a stunning interior every bit the equal of a 911 or Panamera. Rear passengers enjoy a sliding and reclining rear seat, and can view movies on a pair of LCD screens attached to the backs of the front-seat head restraints. Regrettably, the dash layout is littered with tiny buttons and numerous switches that can be confusing to operate, especially when it comes to using the navigation setup.
Although the 1st-generation Cayenne was popular, it was never going to win any beauty contests. However, this second generation, introduced in 2011, has set the standard for athletic-looking SUVs with its sports-car stance and proportions. From any angle the Cayenne’s muscular curves scream its speed-and-performance mission. A quick field guide to identifying Cayenne models focuses on the brakes: Silver denotes the Cayenne S and Cayenne S E-Hybrid, and red the high-performance Turbo and GTS models. Turbo S models get the yellow ceramic-brake option as standard. Turbo models also get four exhaust pipes.
The word "slow" has never been used to describe a Porsche Cayenne. Neither have the words “uncomfortable” or “imprecise” or “unrefined.” Cayennes are simply impressive from behind the wheel. Each is a blast to drive. In fact, even the Cayenne S E-Hybrid is a bona-fide hoot, zipping to 60 mph in only 5.4 seconds, yet returning an estimated 47 MPGe in hybrid electric mode. The Porsche Cayenne GTS, with its turbocharged V6, rockets from 0-60 mph in 4.4 seconds. The 570-horsepower Turbo S hits 60 mph in about 3.5 seconds. That’s crazy quick. However, there’s much more to the Cayenne than outright speed. Cornering precision is beyond what you should rightfully expect from any SUV, and the 8-speed Tiptronic automatic transmission is tuned to perfection. And it’s all delivered with the refinement of a world-class luxury car.
Add in the $1,050 destination charge, and the base 2018 300-horsepower Porsche Cayenne starts with a Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) a bit over $61,500; the Platinum Edition moves the needle to just over $67,000, while the 420-horsepower Cayenne S is just over $78,000. Cayenne S E-Hybrid models are priced just under $81,000. The three high-performance models up the price considerably, with the 440-horsepower Cayenne GTS starting at about $99,600, the 520-horsepower Cayenne Turbo a bit over $119,000, and the mack daddy Cayenne Turbo S at just about $163,000. Those prices are higher than BMW and Mercedes-Benz rivals, but slightly less than the Land Rover Range Rover Sport, at least at the low end. Check KBB.com’s Fair Purchase Price below to see what others in your area are currently paying, and at resale time, the Cayenne should do well, but not quite as well as the BMW X5 and the 7-Passenger Audi Q7.
The 2018 Porsche Cayenne comes in six trims: base, S, S E-Hybrid, GTS, Turbo and Turbo S. Regardless of choice, all Cayenne models feature standard all-wheel drive, a height-adjustable power liftgate, 10-speaker audio with 7-inch touch screen, water-repellent front side glass, rain-sensing wipers and a full complement of power accessories. A fuel-saving stop/start function is also standard, as are six airbags, a full suite of electronic stability aids, and roadside assistance while under warranty.
The Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control lets Porsche Cayenne owners take their SUV’s handling to the next level. It adjusts the anti-roll bars in real time to add stiffness to the suspension in response to conditions and whatever drive mode you have selected. A 1,000-watt, 16-speaker Burmester audio system is available for audiophiles, and in-vehicle connectivity includes an Aha Radio smartphone application, which offers a variety of customizable news, music and social networking services. Of course, there’s also that $9,000 brake system.
PORSCHE TORQUE VECTORING PLUSBy sending additional power to the outside wheel while cornering, Porsche’s Torque Vectoring Plus helps improve the Cayenne’s agility as well as its grip on the pavement. Combined with an advanced suspension setup, Torque Vectoring Plus is a big reason why this SUV doesn’t drive like an SUV.CERAMIC COMPOSITE BRAKESWhen a vehicle can go as fast as a Porsche Cayenne, it’s nice to know the stopping power of ceramic brakes is an option. Ceramic brakes provide better stopping power, less fade and longer rotor life. In the case of the Cayenne, they also come with pretty bright yellow calipers and a $9,000 price tag.
Under the Hood
All 2018 Porsche Cayenne models come standard with an 8-speed automatic and all-wheel drive. However, there are seven distinct engines to choose from. The standard Cayenne comes with a strong 3.6-liter V6 engine offering 300 horsepower; however, it’s worth the extra money for the turbocharged versions, either the 420-horsepower Cayenne S or the 440-horsepower Cayenne GTS. The Cayenne S E-Hybrid employs a 333-horsepower supercharged 3.0-liter V6 coupled to a synchronous electric motor, which brings the total horsepower figure to 416. At the top of the line are the Porsche Cayenne Turbo and Turbo S delivering a whopping 520 and 570 horsepower, respectively, from a twin-turbocharged 4.8-liter V8. 3.6-liter V6300 horsepower @ 6,300 rpm295 lb-ft of torque @ 3,000 rpmEPA city/highway fuel economy: 19/24 mpg 3.6-liter twin-turbocharged V6 (Cayenne S)420 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm406 lb-ft of torque @ 1,350-4,500 rpmEPA city/highway fuel economy: 17/24 mpg 3.6-liter twin-turbocharged V6 (Cayenne GTS)440 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm442 lb-ft of torque @ 1,600-5,000 rpmEPA city/highway fuel economy: 16/23 mpg 3.0-liter supercharged V6 + electric motor (Cayenne S E-Hybrid)416 horsepower @ 5,500 rpm (net system horsepower)435 lb-ft of torque @ 1,250-4,000 rpm (net system torque)EPA city/highway fuel economy: 22 mpg (combined), 47 MPGe in pure electric mode 4.8-liter twin-turbocharged V8 (Cayenne Turbo)520 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm553 lb-ft of torque @ 2,250-4,000 rpmEPA city/highway fuel economy: 14/21 mpg 4.8-liter twin-turbocharged V8 (Cayenne Turbo S)570 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm590 lb-ft of torque @ 2,500-4,000 rpmEPA city/highway fuel economy: 14/21 mpg
In the elite world of high-performance luxury SUVs, it’s hard to beat what the 2018 Porsche Cayenne is offering. After 15 years in production, the Cayenne just seems to improve with age, and even with an all-new 2019 Cayenne waiting in the wings, the 2018 model is still every bit the equal of rivals like the BMW X5, Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class and Land Rover Range Rover Sport. Porsche being Porsche, the Cayenne is offered in a number of variations, ranging from the eco-friendly Cayenne S E-Hybrid plug-in to the 570-horsepower Turbo S, the latter a decidedly un-eco-friendly choice. Of course, Porsche does luxury as well as it does performance, so buyers can expect nearly unlimited choices when it comes to interior configuration, color and content.