We get behind the wheel of the Porsche Cayenne Coupe to find the answers to two questions. First, does the Cayenne Coupe has the quintessential Porsche mannerisms? And second, is it practical enough to replace the standard Cayenne?
The turn of the century brought with it a massive change in the automobile market too. SUVs have really gained a lot of popularity over the past two decades – not just in India but the world over. It does not quite come as a surprise that carmakers that would never have considered the body style have it at the top of their priority lists now. Porsche, Jaguar, Maserati, Rolls Royce, Bentley, and Lamborghini have all entered the SUV space. Amongst these brands, Porsche was the first to make the switch in 2003. It is, of course, common knowledge that the decision vexed a lot of purists but ended up being quite a fruitful one for the brand.
Now, with the launch of the Cayenne Coupe, Porsche has chosen another controversial body style. We drive it to find out if has the quintessential Porsche DNA.
If you look at the Cayenne Coupe from the front, you’ll barely be able to tell it apart from the standard SUV. The headlights, bumper, and air dams, all look exactly the same. Look keenly at the A-pillar and the front windscreen, and you will notice that it is slightly more raked than that of the standard Cayenne. But it’s only when you move along to an angle where the roofline is visible that the difference becomes apparent. The coupe roofline flows smoothly and is a constant reminder of its sportscar sibling – the 911. In comparison to the Cayenne, the Coupe’s roof has been lowered by 20mm, and it also gets a wider shoulder, giving it a squatted down stance.
The Coupe looks leaner and hides its bulk a lot better than the Cayenne. But in my opinion, the Cayenne Coupe looks best from the rear three-quarter angle. The raked rear windscreen, the roof-mounted spoiler, those wide connected taillamps, and the active spoiler, all give it an extremely sporty stance.
In comparison to some of the other Coupe-SUVs, like the BMW X6 or the Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupe, the Cayenne Coupe is without a doubt a better interpretation of the body style, but I’m still not a huge fan of it. To me, the Cayenne and its Coupe iteration look like an oversized rendition of the 911.
The interior of the Cayenne Coupe is quite clean and sporty as well. The cabin is completely black with some gloss black applique above the glovebox. Taking centre stage is a large touchscreen unit, which is crisp and intuitive to touch. I really love that Porsche hasn’t quite gone overboard with touch controls in the cabin. Yes, a lot of ‘buttons’ on the central tunnel are still touch-sensitive, but thankfully the climate control still gets physical buttons. An analogue clock sits in the centre of the dash, while the instrument cluster is a semi-digital unit, with a massive tachometer. While most new-age cars now come loaded with large screens and tech, it is good to see that Porsche has retained some analogue elements inside the cabin. The Cayenne Coupe gets rotary knob on the steering wheel, which allows you to toggle through its driving modes – Normal, Sport, Sport+, and Individual. It also gets a button in the centre for the Sports Response, which gives an extra boost to the engine for 20 seconds.
The seats have been lowered by an inch or so, which really works well in two ways. Firstly, it gives additional headroom to the front seat passengers, and secondly, it gives the Cayenne Coupe a more car-like driving position. At nearly 2 metres in width, the Cayenne Coupe is quite a wide car, and you have to be cautious of that, especially when driving in traffic. Moving on to the back seat, there’s a reasonable amount of space at the back, with good legroom, knee room and headroom. Under-thigh support is good too. Despite the width of the Cayenne Coupe, seating three abreast will surely be a tight fit, but in all fairness, those buying a near Rs 1.5 crore car are unlikely to squeeze three at the back. The Coupe that we had on test was fitted with a panoramic sunroof, but buyers also get the option of a carbon fibre roof as part of the light-weight package.
Driving and Performance
Internationally, Porsche offers the Cayenne Coupe with quite a few engine options, but in India, the Coupe is only offered in the standard trim or in the fully loaded iteration with Turbo suffix. The one that we had on test was the standard trim with the 3.0-litre V6 heart. The engine pushes out a significant 335 horses and 450Nm, which allows it to go from standstill to 100km/h in just 6 seconds.
Numbers aside, the Cayenne Coupe feels quite brisk in its acceleration, so much so that the over 2-tonne weight of the car is concealed reasonably well. The 450Nm of torque, which is evenly spread across its rev range, makes its performance reasonably expansive too. With that in mind, the Cayenne Coupe feels equally at home in the city or even while going fast on the highway. The Cayenne Coupe in this state of tune doesn’t quite deliver thrilling performance, especially for something that wears a Porsche badge on the bonnet. The 435bhp 2.9-litre V6 twin-turbo, which is offered in the international market, could be a much better fit for the Cayenne Coupe, but unfortunately it isn’t offered in India.
And the way the Cayenne Coupe holds its composure around corners further reinforces my belief – the chassis can take a lot more than what the 3.0-litre V6 has to offer. The Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control (PDCC) keeps lateral movement in check and endows the Cayenne Coupe with delightfully tight controls. Porsche also deserves a special round of applause for the way the steering has been set up. It weighs up nicely and is bursting with feedback, something that can’t be said about most electro-mechanical steering systems today. The Coupe corners with tremendous surety and feels surprisingly unruffled over the rough stuff, despite the stiff suspension setup. The Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM) with the air suspension sure does a good job of cushioning sharp edges and potholes by actively altering the damping on each wheel.
Although Coupe SUVs have been in the automotive scene for a while now, even today they evoke extreme emotions – love them or hate them, you simply can’t ignore them. The Cayenne Coupe may not elevate the Porsche brand in the same way as the Cayenne or even the Macan for that matter, but it is, without a doubt, a good addition to have in the line-up, especially given the increasing popularity of the body style.
Contrary to popular opinion, it is reasonably practical, looks better than most other Coupe SUVs, and its top-drawer interior really makes you feel special. Above all, it drives and handles just the way you’d expect from anything that wears a Porsche badge. The performance could have been a bit more thrilling though, and with that in mind, we wish Porsche had brought in the Cayenne S Coupe instead.
- Porsche Cayenne Coupe
Engine: 2,995cc / V6 / 24-Valves / Turbocharged
Transmission: 8-Speed Automatic / All-wheel Drive
Power: 335bhp @ 5,300-6,400rpm
Torque: 450Nm @ 1,340-5,300rpm
Price: ₹1.32 crore (ex-showroom)
X-Factor: A chic body, comfortable ride, and superior handling, what more can you ask for?
• Confident handling
• Superior interior quality