If you’re looking for information on a newer Porsche Cayenne, we’ve published an updated review: 2019 Porsche Cayenne Review
Although this is the final year for the 2018 Porsche Cayenne in its current form (an all-new model is set to arrive in 2019), this powerful luxury SUV continues to give rivals fits, delivering exceptional levels of luxury, performance and style few others can touch. As one of the first of its kind, the Cayenne still sets the standard for a large pack of competitors that include the BMW X5, Land Rover Range Rover Sport and Audi SQ5. An impressive 8-trim lineup for 2018 is punctuated by numerous engine choices, including a hybrid option. While each model offers varying trim treatments, the most significant difference lies under the hood. Performance clearly gets preference here, with even the base V6 model pumping out a respectable 300 horsepower.
What’s New for 2018?
The Cayenne carries over largely unchanged for 2018. An all-new 2019 model is set to arrive in dealer showrooms this fall. See the 2018 Porsche Cayenne models for sale near you
What We Like
Impressive power and handling; high-quality interiors; fuel-efficient plug-in hybrid option; sports-car performance in an SUV
What We Don’t
Extensive options list quickly escalates the already elevated base price; offers practical but not as voluminous options as other SUVs; punishing fuel economy in high-powered gas versions
All Cayenne models offer potent levels of performance compared to competitors, and their brawn is proportionate to their prices. An 8-speed Tiptronic automatic is standard on all models, as is a sophisticated all-wheel-drive system. The base Cayenne features a 300-hp 3.6-liter V6 with 295 lb-ft of torque. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates for this model are 19 miles per gallon in the city and 24 mpg on the highway. The Cayenne S features a twin-turbocharged 3.6-liter V6 good for 420 hp and 406 lb-ft of torque. EPA estimates for the S are 17 mpg city/24 mpg hwy.
The Cayenne S E-Hybrid’s 416 hp helps it hit 60 miles per hour in 5.4 seconds, although it’s the 435 lb-ft of torque that creates the satisfying, seat-squishing sensation when the right pedal is buried. Expect 22 mpg combined and 47 mpg equivalent in hybrid electric mode.
The GTS uses the same 3.6-liter twin-turbocharged engine found in the S but bumps output to 440 hp and 443 lb-ft of torque. EPA estimates are 16 mpg city/23 mpg hwy.
The Turbo model’s twin-turbocharged 4.8-liter V8 elevates hp to 520 and torque to 553 lb-ft, with fuel economy estimates of 14 mpg city/21 mpg hwy. The Turbo S uses this same engine only, with output at 570 hp and 590 lb-ft of torque. EPA estimates for the Turbo S are identical to the Turbo at 14 mpg city/21 mpg hwy.
Standard Features & Options
Porsche offers the Cayenne in eight trims: Cayenne, Cayenne Platinum Edition, S, GTS, S E-Hybrid, S E-Hybrid Platinum Edition, Turbo and Turbo S.
The Cayenne ($61,650) comes with active all-wheel drive, an 8-speed Tiptronic automatic transmission, 18-inch wheels, bi-xenon headlights, rain-sensing wipers with heated washer nozzles, heated side mirrors, dual-zone automatic climate control, a power rear lift gate, 10-speaker PCM audio with a 7-in touchscreen display, Bluetooth, fog lights, leather seating surfaces, 8-way power front seats and a refrigerated glove box.
The Cayenne Platinum Edition ($67,750) adds 20-in RS Spyder-style wheels, 8-way leather sport seats with Alcantara inserts and unique interior and exterior trim and badges.
The Cayenne S ($78,450) has a more powerful engine, plus 19-in wheels, a power sunroof and front and rear parking assist.
The Cayenne S E-Hybrid ($80,950) adds speed-sensitive power steering, Porsche Car Connect with a smartphone app, an adaptive suspension, an onboard charger and a hybrid readout display screen.
The Cayenne S E-Hybrid Platinum Edition ($83,850) adds the same features as the S Platinum Edition.
The Cayenne GTS ($99,650) gains a pneumatic air suspension, 20-in wheels, an upgraded suede and leather interior, performance brakes, an adjustable sport exhaust and 14-way power front seats.
The Cayenne Turbo ($119,150) features 14-way power front seats, LED headlights, an air suspension, 14-speaker Bose surround-sound audio, a heated and power-adjustable steering wheel, heated rear seats and 19-in wheels.
The Cayenne Turbo S ($162,650) adds such performance enhancements as Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control (PDCC), carbon-ceramic brakes and the Sport Chrono package.
Porsche has endowed the Cayenne with virtually every technological goodie available, but those creature comforts come at a price. For example, a Bose surround-sound system adds $1,690, while a 1,000-watt Burmester setup runs $5,690; Porsche Car Connect costs $540, while a satellite-radio receiver requires $750; and expect to pay $2,890 for a rear-seat entertainment system.
When it comes to driving aids, the Cayenne can be ordered with adaptive cruise control, lane-change assist, an active air suspension and PDCC. Ceramic brakes add nearly $9,000 to the sticker price.
With the rear seats folded, the Cayenne offers 62.9 cu ft. of rear-storage volume, which is less expansive than some models in this segment, but then again, this SUV is more about the S than the U.
Porsche’s Cayenne boasts crash-safety engineering that includes a chassis strategically reinforced with high-tensile steel, force limiters on the front seats and rollover detection that triggers seat-belt pretensioners and curtain airbags. Additional airbags are in front, passenger and driver’s-knee locations. High-strength crossmembers protect the doors and bumpers.
Neither the government nor the independent Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has crash-tested the Porsche Cayenne.
Behind the Wheel
Performance varies dramatically from model to model, but the entire 2018 Porsche Cayenne lineup boasts genre-defying performance capabilities. The S E-Hybrid’s copious torque makes it the surprise performer of the bunch, especially when the shifter is clicked into S, sharpening throttle response and putting the transmission into a more aggressive mode of attack. The S E-Hybrid can also drive on electric-only mode at speeds up to 78 mph.
The GTS version ups the ante, but for truly awe-inspiring performance, the Turbo and Turbo S are the models of choice. Start/stop technology makes for serene red-light experiences, but Sport mode in this SUV transforms it into an aggressive, lurching beast. Similarly, the suspension can transform from floaty to stiff with the touch of a button, and its most-aggressive handling modes make it so quick to turn that it becomes easy to forget you’re in a hulking animal of an SUV.
Other Cars to Consider
2018 BMW X5 — BMW’s X5 trims range from the xDrive35i’s turbocharged 6-cylinder to the X5 M’s 4.4-liter turbocharged V8 that churns 567 hp. BMW’s X5 offerings are more philosophically in line with Porsche’s driver-focused Cayenne models than Audi’s.
2018 Land Rover Range Rover Sport — The Range Rover offers luxury and attention to design detail comparable to the Porsche, but its considerably higher curb weight keeps it from competing head-to-head against Porsche in performance.
2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT — The Grand Cherokee SRT may not have the same level of luxury or panache as the Cayenne, but with 475 hp under its hood and a sub $70,000 price tag, it’s certainly worth a test drive. The new Trackhawk version delivers 707 hp, trouncing the most powerful Cayenne.
Used Porsche Cayenne Turbo S — A 2012-2016 Porsche Cayenne Turbo S will give all the performance and features of a new Turbo, but due to its lackluster resale value, it will cost a lot less.
You’ll have the best of both worlds in the satisfying yet reasonably economical plug-in S E-Hybrid. The number of boxes to check off on the options list depends on your bank balance.