Porsche's Cayenne Coupe joins our long-term fleet

Published: 11 February 2021

► CAR lives with Porsche's Cayenne Coupe
► Ours is a V6 S with plenty of goodies
► Colin's regular reports in one place

Go on, ask me anything. I've got figures. I've got hand gestures. I've got comparisons. But mostly I've got a smile.

So far, much to my surprise, everyone who's wanted to talk to me about the Cayenne S Coupe (oh, the fun I've had telling people where the S goes in the name) is excited and pleased. Also, in many cases, they're a bit confused.

Postman. Car park bloke. Petrol station blokes. Rugby dads. Kids. They like the look of it, even though it's so black as to be barely visible when it's parked at night.

Interestingly, given that journalists tend to get hung up on this, nobody demands a breakdown of how much is shared with the Audi Q8 or Lamborghini Urus or VW Touareg or Bentley Bentayga. It seems my self-selecting focus group is ahead of me in that regard; they understand full well that some bits are unique and some bits are common, in cars as in computers as in shampoo. It's just the way stuff is made these days. In any case, the coupe shape makes it look like a Macan in some lights, so people aren't necessarily making those comparisons.

This means I haven't had much chance to give my speech about how the important thing with the VW Group is that the differentiation is all focused on the bits that matter. So, sure, you can catch a Touareg or a Q8 out of the corner of your eye and see the resemblance. But the way all the controls behave in the Cayenne S Coupe – major, minor, even voice control – is uniquely Porsche.

Furthermore, much of the brilliance is unique not just to Porsche, not just to the Cayenne, not just to the Cayenne S, but to the Cayenne S Coupe.

Which is what, exactly? Glad you asked. Generation three of the Cayenne is the first to have a Coupe variant. It seems to be the sort of thing people want – look no further than the raked-rear versions of the Merc GLE, BMW X5 and Audi Q7, and some newer SUVs have gone straight in with a coupe look, including the Urus and the Aston DBX. It's a thing, beyond logic, but a thing all the same.

In the case of the Cayenne, it's been very craftily executed. The roof does indeed slope more at the back, but some of it's illusory, as the bit above the occupants' heads isn't anything like as swooshy as the C-pillars. The A-pillars are re-angled too, to ensure a coherent look. And it's no coincidence that the SUV's three-seat rear bench has been replaced by two seats, so the passengers can slump. Their seats are set lower too. Only the tallest adults will want more headroom.

The Coupe gets an adaptive rear spoiler at the bottom of the rear screen, rising up by 135mm at 56mph (or if you press the button). It loses the rear wiper. And the rear wheelarches are fractionally wider.

So yes, you lose some boot space, but it's still a decent size, at 625 litres with the rear seats up (versus the SUV's 770), or 1540 with them down (against 1710). The aperture is less load-friendly, so this is not a vehicle for carrying wardrobes.

The S version, sitting roughly in the middle of the range (basic and E-Hybrid below; GTS, Turbo and Turbo S E-Hybrid above it) has Porsche's 2.9-litre turbocharged V6, driving all four wheels via an eight-speed dual-clutch transmission. It makes 435bhp at 5700rpm and 406lb ft at 1800rpm.

A full-length glass roof is standard (carbonfibre is an option). This one has a big bunch of options, from air suspension, rear-wheel steer and 22-inch wheels to upgraded Bose audio, a sportier front bumper and embossed headrests.

Cayenne Coupe LTT rear

It looks, feels, smells and drives nothing like a big Audi, big VW, Lamborghini or Bentley – all cars I very much admire. But as I said, nobody is asking about that. They want performance figures and they want a price. They all have a good laugh about that, especially the bit about how it's a £70k-ish car really, but this particular one is £90k-ish. And I join in the laughter, because I can't really imagine having 90k to spend on a car, let alone actually doing so.

But the more I live with it, the more I wish I had, because it's so magically good to drive, as I shall spend several months explaining.

Spec details of our new Cayenne Coupe

Audio upgrade
Bose Surround Sound adds £956, but it's sensationally good. I don't need an amazing sound system to enjoy my preferred music, which is generally so rough 'n' ready that a transistor radio can do it justice, but I really appreciate the way that this makes podcasts and radio plays so easy to listen to.

Sports seats
The Coupe comes with eight-way electronically adjustable sports seats with built-in headrests, but this car adds £308 of heating for the fronts and £320 of Porsche crest embossed on all four headrests. That's on top of the £2753 you pay for the two-tone black and red leather.

Adaptive air suspension
It's £1511. As well as offering levels of sporty firmness, it also offers a choice of ride height. Early days, but different settings do seem to make a worthwhile difference.

20s are standard, but these are optional 22-inch RS Spyder Design wheels, with their own wheelarch extensions. And for £1448, my rears join in the steering.

I hate towing things, but I love knowing that I could. This is a particularly elegant solution, for £858. One button in the boot makes it appear, another button makes it fold away again. If you don't know it's there, you really don't notice it.

By Colin Overland

Logbook: Porsche Cayenne S Coupe

Price £73,658 (£91,449 as tested)
Performance 2894cc turbocharged V6, 435bhp, 5.0sec 0-62mph, 163mph
Efficiency 23.2mpg (official), 23.5mpg (tested), 278g/km CO2
Energy cost 21.2p per mile
Miles this month 436
Total miles 1708

By Colin Overland

CAR's managing editor: wordsmith, critic, purveyor of fine captions