If you’re in the market for a sporty new luxury SUV, you’re probably interested in the 2016 Porsche Cayenne and the 2016 BMW X5. Both offer excellent driving dynamics, handsome styling, powerful available engines and a lot of equipment.
But which is better? And which one should you get? To help you answer those questions, we’ve created a close comparison of both models, but first let’s see what’s new with the X5 and the Cayenne for the 2016 model year.
2016 Porsche Cayenne
After its facelift last year, the Cayenne’s sole change for 2016 is the reintroduction of three trim levels: the base-level Cayenne, the Cayenne GTS and the Cayenne Turbo S. The GTS and Turbo S also add power compared to their pre-facelift versions. See all 2016 Porsche Cayenne models available near you
2016 BMW X5
The X5’s sole change for 2016 is the addition of a new plug-in hybrid model, dubbed the X5 xDrive40e. See all 2016 BMW X5 models available near you
According to the reliability experts at J.D. Power, the Porsche Cayenne and BMW X5 both offer average predicted reliability. The two models also offer the same warranty coverage: 4 years or 50,000 miles of total bumper-to-bumper protection, giving the Cayenne and X5 a tie in this category. Simply put, don’t expect amazing reliability from these two models, but don’t expect to find yourself stranded by the side of the road, either.
The Cayenne offers a dizzying array of engine choices, all of which are mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission and standard all-wheel drive.
The base-level engine is a 3.6-liter V6 that makes 300 horsepower and goes from 0 to 60 miles per hour in about 7.3 seconds. From there, drivers can opt for the Cayenne Diesel (240-hp 3.0-liter turbodiesel V6 with 406 lb-ft of torque; 0 to 60 mph in 7.2 seconds), the Cayenne S (420-hp 3.6-liter turbocharged V6; 5.4 seconds), the Cayenne GTS (440-hp 3.6-liter turbocharged V6; 4.9 seconds), the Cayenne S E-Hybrid (416-hp 3.0-liter supercharged plug-in hybrid V6; 5.2 seconds), the Cayenne Turbo (520-hp 4.8-liter turbocharged V8; 4.2 seconds) or the range-topping Cayenne Turbo S (570-hp 4.8-liter turbocharged V8; 3.8 seconds). Like we said, it’s a dizzying array.
The X5 offers a pretty wide range of powertrains itself, all of which are also mated to an 8-speed automatic. Base models are offered in rear- or all-wheel drive and use a 300-hp 3.0-liter turbocharged 6-cylinder that’s good for a 6.4-second sprint to 60 mph. Next up is the diesel-powered xDrive35d, which makes 255 hp and 413 lb-ft of torque and can reach 60 mph in about 6.7 seconds. Then there’s the plug-in hybrid X5 xDrive40e, which boasts 308 hp and a 6.5-second 0-to-60 time, followed by the xDrive50i (445-hp 4.4-liter turbocharged V8; 0 to 60 mph in 4.9). Last on the list is the muscular 567-hp X5 M, which boasts a 4.0-second 0-to-60 time.
Our verdict? Both of these SUVs offer amazing performance, though the Cayenne edges out its BMW rival. But we don’t think performance-focused drivers would be disappointed by either one.
As with most modern luxury SUVs, the Cayenne and X5 offer virtually all of today’s latest safety features. Standard items in both models include side-curtain airbags, traction control and anti-lock brakes, while optional features include multi-angle camera systems, parking sensors, a blind spot monitoring system, forward-collision warning, lane-departure warning and adaptive cruise control.
With that said, both the Cayenne and X5 offer some unique cutting-edge technology you can’t get in the other model. For instance, only the Cayenne boasts an automatic post-collision braking system that brings the car to a safe stop after an accident. And only the X5 touts a feature that actually dries the brakes as you drive down a wet road.
Despite the few differences, however, shoppers especially interested in safety will find a lot to like about both the X5 and the Cayenne.
When it comes to technology, these two SUVs are once again near the top of the heap among luxury SUVs. Think LED headlights, automatic high-beam control, dual-screen rear entertainment systems, rear sunshades, heated rear seats, adaptive cruise control, amazing optional sound systems (Burmester in the Porsche; Bang & Olufsen in the X5), large central touchscreens, voice command and more.
Admittedly, there are some features you can get in the X5 but not in the Cayenne, and vice versa, but they’re few and far between, and they’re usually more esoteric options that won’t interest the majority of shoppers. Generally speaking, we think most technophiles and gadget lovers will be right at home in either of these two luxury SUVs.
When it comes to pricing, there’s no doubt that the BMW offers the advantage. Its base price is $55,700 with shipping compared to $60,600 for the Cayenne, and that gap only widens as prices go up. For instance, the 567-hp X5 M starts at $100,800, while the 570-hp Cayenne Turbo S is an eye-popping $160,600 before options.
Given the relative similarities between the Cayenne and the X5, then, the BMW should be the winner in the value category. But that’s before you factor in one important question: Just how much is the Porsche badge worth? Some shoppers will happily pay several thousand more to have the famous Porsche crest on the hood, and that insignia will likely help resale value, too. As a result, this category is difficult to assess, though we think most objective shoppers would probably consider the X5 to be a better value.
Both the 2016 Porsche Cayenne and the 2016 BMW X5 are excellent luxury SUVs with an eye on performance, equipment and top-quality interior materials. Choosing between them is difficult, but we think most sensible shoppers will likely pick the BMW, which offers about the same level of equipment for less money. With that said, drivers who aren’t on a tight budget may prefer to spend a few thousand extra to get the Porsche badge on the hood — and we don’t blame them.