2019 Porsche Cayenne S Review: S is For Shnell

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2019 Porsche Cayenne S Review
2019 Porsche Cayenne S | Photo: Porsche

If purists thought the Cayenne was an imposter in the Porsche lineup, demand proved them otherwise pretty darn quickly.

Since 2002 (launched in Canada in 2003), the Porsche Cayenne no less than doubled Porsche’s sales. Now at its third generation – which the manufacturer calls E3 – it gets very little physical changes in terms of shapes.

But in reality, every body panel on the new 2019 Porsche Cayenne S, well, brand new. The extensive use of aluminium for these panels and a few technical tweaks here and there managed to shave 500 pounds off Porsche’s hot pepper-named SUV. Not bad!

We took the new Porsche Cayenne S for a spin in the Laurentians to see how this new generation panned out.

2019 Porsche Cayenne
2019 Porsche Cayenne | Photo: Matt St-Pierre

Advanced lighting and V6 Turbo power

Other than the changes in materials, the Cayenne S gets a new taillight design in the rear that resembles other vehicles in the Porsche lineup, as well as a pair of headlights called Porsche Dynamic Light System in the front. These units carry 84 individual LEDs that can be selectively disabled in case there is an oncoming vehicle to avoid blinding the driver. It is like having an organic high Beam that selects what it lights up and what it doesn’t.

Mechanically, the E3 gen Cayenne S gets a new 2.9-litre six-cylinder twin-turbo V6 that boasts 434 horsepower and a very satisfying 406 lb-ft of torque.

This powerplant did a great job at propelling the Cayenne S through the variety of road surfaces and elevations we encountered, but it seemed to falter a bit upon pressing the pedal at start-up. This mild symptom could be attributed to the 8-Speed gearbox engaging with a lag. But once the Cayenne S hits the road, the gear changes are impressively quick and seamless.


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For 2019, the Cayenne S gets a totally new suspension system. In fact, there is no more double wishbone type system in any of the Cayennes. This change was made to benefit lateral dynamics. The adaptive air suspension is standard on Turbo, optional on the S we tested.

2019 Porsche Cayenne S
2019 Porsche Cayenne S | Photo: Porsche

Along with the well-balanced chassis, these new bits make the Cayenne S worked in every way possible to keep me stuck to the ground. When driving it spiritedly and running it through its paces on winding mountain roads, the experience highly resembled that of a high-performance sedan or wagon rather than an SUV.

A new, minimalist feel inside the cabin

Inside, the 2019 Porsche Cayenne S is the slick people hauler you would expect it to be, and this year it carries a bit of the Panamera gene. Our tester was outfitted with Adaptive Sport Seats (18-way) with Memory Package that provided a snug comfort. On the dashboard, the latest PCM software gets a crystal clear 12,3-inch screen that provides fast responses to commands.

Designers “cleaned up” the area with the cluster of buttons around the shifter, replacing it with a minimalist touch panel. Speaking for myself, I prefer traditional buttons, for their look and feedback when pressing them. But I have to admit that Porsche did a great job with this new addition, making the area less cluttered and ensuring that the new commands felt “real” to the touch.

With a 92,600 base price ($120,000 total on our well-equipped tester), the Cayenne S is a great option if you want turbocharged performances in your Cayenne without dishing out the 139 700$ base price for the hot-rod Turbo variant.


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