2020 Porsche Cayenne S Coupe: Pros And Cons
Like teenagers rushing to embrace the latest fashion, automakers are scrambling to build and sell crossover coupes. These lifestyle vehicles, little more than familiar two-box CUVs with sleeker rooflines, typically offer slightly sportier dynamics (or at least the impression of it) at the expense of space and a higher price tag.
One of the newest is the Porsche Cayenne Coupe, featured here in the popular S trim. Props to the German brand for saving us the trouble of remembering yet another new piece of terminology by just attaching the word “Coupe” and more or less retaining the general design of the standard Cayenne. While there is a more aggressive rake to the rear window, unlike the BMW X6 or Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupe, it’s easy to confuse this Cayenne with its more conventional fraternal twin. It’s different and arguably better, which is a lot more than we can say for the competition.
Ignore the in-your-face Lava Orange paint of our tester and focus on the Cayenne Coupe’s shape. The most outwardly obvious sign that it’s different is a steeper rear window and the teeny, tiny rear deck at the back. It’s subtle, and that’s because Porsche hasn’t really messed with the roofline too much. The Cayenne Coupe does the whole business-in-the-front, party-in-the-back thing, but it’s like there’s a hard boundary between business and party, rather than the overarching change you’ll find on an X6 or GLE. It’s a near-perfect take on the crossover coupe.
Cars like the X6 and GLE surrender second-row space for style, but the Cayenne gives up little – or at least it feels that way. Porsche doesn’t publish interior measurements, but after spending some time in the back, we had ample headroom, and getting in and out was just as easy. As we pointed out in our review of the base Cayenne Coupe, though, the smaller rear windows do make the rear seats feel a little smaller, even though there’s hardly a noticeable decrease in space. As for the cargo hold, you’ll lose 5.2 cubic feet with the second row up and 6.0 cubes with it down, although 22.0 and 54.5 cubes are still adequate.
The more aggressive tail has little impact on driving character: this is still a Cayenne S underneath, which means a twin-turbocharged 2.9-liter V6 is pumping out 434 horsepower and 405 pound-feet of torque. It feels like the engine to have (unless you can pony up for the sublime GTS and its twin-turbo V8).
There’s ample power, with good low-end shove and a pleasant exhaust note. Our tester featured an air suspension with adaptive dampers, Porsche’s fantastic Dynamic Chassis Control, and an upgraded torque vectoring system to deliver crisp, precise handling and eager performance on corner exit. This was a very fun vehicle to throw around, which is all we can really ask of a Porsche.
It’s a crime that more cars don’t offer a rear wiper, but in most cases, we simply like the convenience. The Cayenne needs one, though. The rear window’s aggressive rake doesn’t pick up road spray like a traditional crossover or SUV, but it also doesn’t allow enough airflow to really clear the window like a coupe or sedan. Moreover, Porsche doesn’t offer a rear wiper as an option, unlike on the 911. If a back wiper is good enough for the flagship, it’s good enough for the Cayenne Coupe.
Since the Cayenne Coupe hit markets, we’ve been keeping our eyes peeled for them on public roads. But we haven’t seen any… we think. While it’s good that Porsche has retained space and style in building the Cayenne Coupe, spotting the differences compared to a normal-bodied model is hard unless they’re right next to each other. The distinctions are just too subtle. So if you were hoping to wow your friends with your sleek new Cayenne, just realize they probably won’t even notice it’s different than theirs.
This is not a Porsche problem so much as it is a segment one. Crossover coupes trade practicality for style, which is fine. But why the heck are they so much more expensive? To be fair to Porsche, they’re far from the worst in this regard. There’s a $4,800 gap between the Cayenne S Coupe and the standard body, but in addition to a more attractive design, you also score the Sport Chrono package, fixed glass roof, 21-inch wheels, and eight-way sport seats as standard. The extra cost is definitely a con, but at least Porsche gives you a bit of swag to soften the blow.