Porsche offer up their third generation Cayenne for the 2019 model year. The tweaks on the surface may make it seem that not much has changed. But once you get under the hood you realize it's a whole new SUV. The Cayenne comes with new engine options, new wheelbases, and a ton of first-class technology. Porsche is still on top of the market and years ahead of its competitors. The company has even gone as far as combining efforts with Audi to develop what could be the best luxury SUV crossover on the market. Still not impressed? How about this: the 2019 Porsche Cayenne can also see in the dark.
How has the 2019 Porsche Cayenne changed from its predecessors?
Originally launched in 2003, this world famous sports car manufacturer's entry into the SUV market was originally met with skepticism. However, this strategic move by the company paid off dividends, both in revenue and the brand's profile. The second generation didn't simply exceed Porsches expectations: sales doubled in only one iteration of the Cayenne. To give that some context: in 54 years of 911 production have resulted in about a million units, and in the 15 years that the Cayenne has been on the market, it's sold nearly 750,000 cars. The third generation looks set to continue that trend, with a lot of big changes in store for fans. The outside remains relatively unchanged, save for the cleaner looking rear lights with a curved LED strip that spans the length of the back end. Inside and under the hood are a different story: Porsche has borrowed elements from some of their high-end models, as well as developing other features specifically for the Cayenne.
Is the engine different?
The Cayenne comes in two models: both the standard and the 'S' are equipped with different engines, and both were designed in collaboration with Audi. The standard Cayenne is now turbocharged with a 3.0-liter V6 single turbo, producing 340 horsepower and 332 lb-ft of torque. Overall, this ups the numbers by 40hp and 37 lb-ft from the second generation, and with the 143 lbs that the newest model has shed, there's a real upgrade in power output. The base Cayenne reportedly reaches 60 mph in 5.9 seconds and on the track, it tops out at 150mph. The Cayenne S has a brand new 2.9 liter, twin turbo V6 engine which churns out a whopping 440 hp and 406 lb-ft, an increase of 20 hp from last year. The S gets you to 60mph in 4.9 seconds, with a top speed of 164 mph. Both models come standard with an improved eight-speed automatic Tiptronic S transmission that responds quicker on the corners and in low gears.
Is the performance and drive quality still epic?
Porsche had a fantastic SUV before, but they've gone above and beyond to improve the drive quality of the Cayenne. First, they developed the Porsche Surface Carbon Brakes (PSCB), an entirely new technology custom designed by the carmaker and employed for the first time in the 2019 Cayenne. Rather than using steel brake pads they embed tungsten-carbide into cast iron, which makes the pads shine like a mirror. But they don't just look good: the 70 micrometers of tungsten-carbide reduce brake dust build up by 50 percent and reportedly extend the life of the pads by 35 percent (compared to standard steel brake pads). While they're more expensive than steel, they are still cheaper than Porsche's ceramic brakes. The second major shake-up is the Cayenne's new staggered tire width, a concept that was first successfully employed in the 911. The 19-inch wheels are 8.5 inches wide in the front and 9.5 in the rear, while the 21-inch tires are 9.5 inches in front and 11 inches in the rear. This nifty trick helps offset the weight of the front mounted engine, giving the driver greater agility, stability and performance. All-wheel drive and rear axle steering are now standard for all Cayenne trims, and even though it's slightly longer than before, these tweaks reduce the turning circle and handle much better at low speeds.
What is it like off road?
The focus on this new generation was to improve the on-road performance without sacrificing the off-road performance for which it became famous. All the models come with four driving modes: Mud, Gravel, Sand and Rocks, and each has a wading depth of nearly 21 inches. The traditional coil springs and variable dampers of the Porsche Active Suspension Management system are standard in the Cayenne S and an option on the base model. A new air suspension system is now available with a third air chamber that allows for even more precision in the different drive modes. That third chamber allows the car to automatically adjust its ride height depending on your speed or road surface and can even act independently in the front and rear for uneven surfaces. It's also useful if you're towing, which, incidentally, the Cayenne is capable of up to 7700 pounds. Porsche have done away with hydraulic stabilizers, opting instead for their new custom Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control. This 48-volt electrical stabilizer system responds faster and more accurately than previous hydraulic set.
How about interior and tech features?
With a car, this well thought out, it's no surprise that the interiors are stunning. Porsche spent a lot of time designing the seats in the new Cayenne, and while there may not be too many bells and whistles in the standard front seats, they're extremely comfortable and shock absorbing. There is, of course, the option to upgrade to sport seats with integrated headrests if you're planning on spending more time on the track. Even better are the second-row seats, which slide out for 6 inches of extra legroom, fold almost entirely flat and free up an additional 15 percent trunk space compared to the previous generation. The new 12.3-inch touchscreen is lifted right out of the Panamera, with all of the sleek looks and brilliant tech you'd expect from a Porsche. Safety features abound in the Cayenne, including lane change and lane keep assist, traffic jam assist, adaptive cruise control, and traffic sign recognition. Porsche has also included a fantastic feature called Night Vision Assist, which spots pedestrians and animals in the dark, even if the driver can't see them.