Robb Report test drives the new third generation Porsche Cayenne

Robb Report test drives the new third generation Porsche Cayenne

For an insight into the engineering integrity and performance focus of the third generation Porsche Cayenne, look no further than its pop-up rear spoiler.

Fitted to the flagship Turbo, at high speeds it angles upwards on hard brake applications, with the aim of settling the rear of the five-seat SUV for sharper, more consistent deceleration.

It’s claimed to reduce stopping distances from about 250km/h – for those wondering – by about two metres. That equates to shaving less than one per cent off its braking efforts, but it’s indicative of the efforts Porsche has gone to infusing some of its sports car pedigree in the Cayenne.

Not that any 911 driver will mistake a two-tonne-plus SUV for the lithe, loveable sports car that defines the brand.

Physics conspire against that, something on display when you pitch into a bend.

The three-chamber adjustable height air suspension with active damping and lightweight architecture are shared with the Panamera.

But the unique high-riding body means the Cayenne has a degree less fluidity and composure of a Porsche sports cars, its unique firmer tune doing a brilliant job of keeping the body flat, especially by SUV standards.

   Mark Horsburgh

   Mark Horsburgh

What the steering lacks in tactility it makes up for with directness, and outright grip levels are phenomenal, with tyres up to 21 inches in diameter clawing the bitumen beautifully.

For the first time, the Cayenne gets broader rubber on the rear, too, something that teams with the rear-biased drive to enhance the eminently sporty flavour.

Suspension aside, there’s plenty of Panamera elsewhere, too, with the new suite of engines shared between the two.

However, whereas the Panamera uses a twin-clutch transmission, the Cayenne targets comfort and a seamless engagement with a more traditional eight-speed torque converter.

So, if you want to strain your neck muscles on take-off, you’ll have to try harder. Those autos may bring sweeter, cleaner take-offs, but they lack the brutal launches that make the PDK setup so suited to the sporty side of the Porsche ledger.

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