Three quarter view of the new 2019 Porsche Cayenne Turbo. Photos by Benjamin Yong.
The Cayenne may be Porsche’s bread and butter product — representing 40 per cent of the company’s total sales in Canada since the original launch 16 years ago — but that doesn’t mean it has to be boring. And the 2019 Turbo variant proves the vehicle is anything but entering its third generation with a smaller yet more powerful engine and a whole lot of cutting edge technology. Read on.
Porsche enthusiasts have learned they shouldn’t expect any radical updates to the exterior, and this strategy remains true here.
The crossover has grown a little — 71 millimetres longer and 29 millimetres wider than the outgoing model, although the overall height is 20 millimetres lower for a sportier, hunkered down appearance.
One easy way to tell the 2019 apart from the rest is at the back. Similar to the Carrera, a thin light bar connects the taillamps, extending above the “Porsche” script in the centre of the liftgate. The rear valence possesses raised strakes housing quad tailpipes. The roof spoiler is adaptive, the centre section able to automatically articulate upwards.
Inside, the dashboard is almost unrecognizable compared to before. Previously known for having too many buttons and switches, the Turbo now has the Porsche Advanced Cockpit showcasing an ultra high definition 12.3-inch wide touchscreen monitor responsible for manipulating climate and entertainment settings among others, and two seven-inch HD screens flanking an analog tachometer displaying a variety of customizable information. Even the suspension and traction management controls near the shifter are haptic-feedback based.
Activating the dynamic mini-map function on the right side is life changing when navigating unfamiliar roads. That said, in my opinion there is such a thing as over digitization. I was playing around in the menus and at one point the electronic fuel gauge disappeared, not what one wants happening while out driving in the middle of nowhere. A lot of commands once executed with a single button push are hidden away in submenus. Certainly takes some getting used to.
On the performance side, the Turbo is powered by a 4.0-litre twin-turbocharged V8 motor, replacing the former 4.8-litre bi-turbo unit, mated to a eight-speed Tiptronic S automatic transmission. Output is up to 541 horsepower (+21) and 567 lb-ft of torque (+14), but feels much quicker because the turbochargers are now installed inside the cylinder’s V shape. This shortens the exhaust path improving engine responsiveness.
Unfortunately the amount of snow on the ground was so I didn’t get to push the crossover to the limit. However I did make good use of the wicked new brake setup. Called Porsche Surface Coated Brakes, the massive 415-millimetre front, 365-millimetre rear rotors are treated with a tungsten carbide layer increasing efficiency and, as a side benefit, generate virtually no brake dust and feature a mirror polish finish. Sitting overtop are white 10 (F) and four (R) piston calipers. The stopping power is immense, whether on dry pavement or the icy surfaces I experienced.