- 2020 Porsche Cayenne Turbo Coupe Pros and Cons Review: Defying Logic
Forget physics, Porsche’s uber-SUV is right at home at Best Driver’s Car.
Porsche Cayenne Full Overview
- Supercar performance
- Well-hidden weight
- Great fun to drive
- Sick-pumpkin appearance
- High price
- It’s an SUV
“How do you explain it?” I asked the Porsche PR man standing along the K-wall at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca.
Legendary wheelman/human lap timer Randy Pobst had just finished his hot laps in the 2021 Porsche Cayenne Turbo Coupe during our 2020 Best Driver’s Car, and something had gone, well, not quite right. Quite wrong some might even say. See, Porsche is owned by the Volkswagen Group, as is Audi, and Audi owns Lamborghini. At our 2019 BDC, Lambo’s Urus had set the SUV lap record at Laguna Seca, at 1:40.90. You maybe see where this is going. The Porsche, which stickers for $82,559 less than the Lambo, beat the Urus with a 1:40.27 lap. “Well,” Mr. Porsche PR Man said, his eyes rolling up into his skull and looking for a way to spin it, “the rear brake rotors are a bit bigger.” Yeah, 1.5 inches (16.1 versus the Urus’ 14.6) is a bit bigger, if not much, much bigger …
Did I mention that we loved the Porsche SUV? “This thing’s better than the Ferrari—it stops!” Pobst half-joked. Said a very relaxed editor-in-chief Mark Rechtin: “I’m trailing the Porsche 911 Turbo S and watching it skitter and seesaw over these awful agricultural road bumps that haven’t been paved in decades. Meanwhile, I have the Cayenne in Comfort shock mode, and I’m just gliding over everything, doing 110 mph.”
Features editor Scott Evans was a bit more agitated in his praise. “This thing just breaks my brain,” he said. “I can think of quite a few sports cars that don’t handle this fluidly and a ton that don’t ride this well while doing it. And this thing’s an SUV with an off-road mode. This shouldn’t be possible.”
The key point Evans raised is that quite a few sports cars aren’t as good to drive, which is true for (almost) every other SUV ever made, as well. (The Cayenne was invited to Best Driver’s Car based on its dominating win in our Super SUV shootout.)
I’m still trying to figure out exactly what makes this thing tick. When I first drove it, I was stymied trying to identify what, aside from the roof and an 18mm-wider rear track, differentiates the Turbo Coupe from the regular Cayenne Turbo. I still don’t know.
I will say that my single best moment of this year’s Best Driver’s Car was hunting down the mid-engine Chevy Corvette at Laguna Seca while driving the Porsche Cayenne Turbo Coupe. Ridiculous, I know, but here we are. I never actually caught the Chevy, but if we had stayed out for a few more laps, I’m claiming I would have. Yes, I was driving as hard as I could and my colleague in the Corvette obviously wasn’t, but still.
The Porsche just makes it so easy; burying the throttle solves everything. “The degree of confidence that I have, as a non-professional, non-racing driver, in this car (ahem SUV) is incredible,” Rechtin said. Amen. SUVs aren’t supposed to behave like this on a racetrack. They’re supposed to oversteer and not stop and just kinda suck. The Cayenne Turbo Coupe? It came alive.
Does that make the Cayenne Turbo Coupe a contender for the podium? With this year’s pack, not really. But most years we have 12 entrants, and this year due to the health crisis we were limited to seven. I would posit that, had we delivered a full field, the Cayenne would have finished seventh out of 12, not seventh of seven. And that is a heck of a result for an SUV competing against supercars, an SUV that not only blitzes a racetrack but also hauls four people and their stuff in complete comfort for a weekend out of town.
Looks good! More details?
|POWERTRAIN/CHASSIS||2020 Porsche Cayenne Turbo Coupe|
|DRIVETRAIN LAYOUT||Front-engine, AWD|
|ENGINE TYPE||Twin-turbo 90-deg V-8, alum block/heads|
|VALVETRAIN||DOHC, 4 valves/cyl|
|DISPLACEMENT||243.9 cu in/3,996 cc|
|POWER (SAE NET)||541 hp @ 5,750 rpm|
|TORQUE (SAE NET)||567 lb-ft @ 1,960 rpm|
|WEIGHT TO POWER||9.2 lb/hp|
|SUSPENSION, FRONT; REAR||Multilink, coil and air springs, adj shocks, adj anti-roll bar; multilink, coil and air springs, adj shocks, adj anti-roll bar|
|BRAKES, F; R||17.3-in vented, drilled, carbon-ceramic disc; 16.1-in vented, drilled, carbon-ceramic disc, ABS|
|WHEELS, F;R||9.5 x 21-in; 11.0 x 21-in, forged aluminum|
|TIRES, F;R||285/40R21 109Y; 315/35R21 111Y Pirelli P Zero Corsa N0|
|TRACK, F/R||66.4/66.5 in|
|LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT||194.5 x 78.4 x 65.1 in|
|TURNING CIRCLE||37.8 ft|
|CURB WEIGHT||4,999 lb|
|WEIGHT DIST, F/R||56/44%|
|CURB WEIGHT||4,999 lb|
|WEIGHT DIST, F/R||56/44%|
|HEADROOM, F/R||38.2/38.3 in|
|LEGROOM, F/R||41.1/40.0 in|
|SHOULDER ROOM, F/R||59.1/56.5 in|
|CARGO VOLUME||53.4 (beh front seat) 21.1 (beh rear) cu ft|
|ACCELERATION TO MPH|
|PASSING, 45-65 MPH||1.7|
|QUARTER MILE||11.7 sec @ 116.8 mph|
|BRAKING, 60-0 MPH||100 ft|
|LATERAL ACCELERATION||0.98 g (avg)|
|MT FIGURE EIGHT||24.1 sec @ 0.82 g (avg)|
|2.2-MI ROAD COURSE LAP||100.27 sec|
|TOP-GEAR REVS @ 60 MPH||1,400 rpm|
|PRICE AS TESTED||$160,250|
|AIRBAGS||10: Dual front, f/r side, f/r curtain, front knee|
|BASIC WARRANTY||4 yrs/50,000 miles|
|POWERTRAIN WARRANTY||4 yrs/50,000 miles|
|ROADSIDE ASSISTANCE||4 yrs/50,000 miles|
|FUEL CAPACITY||23.7 gal|
|EPA CITY/HWY/COMB ECON||15/19/17 mpg|
|ENERGY CONS, CITY/HWY||225/177 kWh/100 miles|
|CO2 EMISSIONS, COMB||1.17 lb/mile|
|RECOMMENDED FUEL||Unleaded premium|
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