Graz, Austria—Coupe-like sport utility vehicles have almost become commonplace since BMW launched the X6 more than a decade ago.
The Bavarian manufacturer alone has three—the X6 along with the smaller X2 and X4—all derived from traditional SUVs. Mercedes-Benz jumped on the bandwagon with Coupe versions of the GLC and GLE, while Audi did the same with the Q8, a new model based on the Q7.
Now, it’s Porsche’s turn to follow suit. The all-new 2020 Cayenne Coupe is scheduled to go on sale in Canada sometime during the fourth quarter of this year.
There are three separate models to choose from including the base Cayenne Coupe ($86,400), the Cayenne Coupe S ($101,500) and the Cayenne Coupe Turbo ($148,000). In typical Porsche fashion, the list of options is quite extensive. Heck, you could easily push a Turbo model close to $200K!
In terms of styling, the 2020 Porsche Cayenne Coupe is all about making a sporty statement. It stands out from the conventional Cayenne with a steeply raked windshield and a 20-millimetre lower roofline that ends with a black spoiler atop the rear liftgate.
A closer look at the vehicle reveals an 18-millimetre increase in body width, redesigned rear doors and fenders, plus available 22-inch alloy wheels wrapped in Pirelli P Zero tires (285/35ZR22 front, 315/30ZR22 rear). My tester also featured the Lightweight Sport Package.
All Cayenne Coupe models incorporate a standard panoramic sunroof with sunshade, the glass section covering almost a full square metre. The aforementioned Lightweight Sport Package replaces it with a carbon fibre roof that reduces the vehicle’s weight by 21 kilos. Elsewhere, the licence plate was moved from the liftgate to the rear bumper for a cleaner look.
Once inside the 2020 Porsche Cayenne Coupe, you’ll realize that the cabin is nearly identical to the regular Cayenne. The instrument panel has a big tachometer in the middle with seven-inch HD displays on each side, the sport steering wheel has the same rotary-style drive mode selector, and the centre console houses a 12.3-inch wide screen along with haptic controls. Black leather seats with a fabric centre in a houndstooth pattern and various carbon accents are also part of the Lightweight Sport Package.
Every Cayenne Coupe offers two individual rear seats positioned 30 millimetres lower than in the regular Cayenne. Customers can specify a classic bench seat instead at no extra cost.
335, 434 or 540 Horsepower
Unsurprisingly, the 2020 Porsche Cayenne Coupe uses the same powertrains we all know and love, with standard all-wheel drive and an eight-speed automatic transmission featuring paddle shifters.
Blessed with a twin-turbocharged 4.0-litre V8 rated at 540 horsepower, the top-line Cayenne Coupe Turbo is a real monster, accelerating from 0-100 km/h in just 3.9 seconds. That being said, the twin-turbo 2.9-litre V6 in the Cayenne Coupe S is pretty formidable, too, unleashing 434 horsepower and proving only a second slower when equipped with the Lightweight Sport Package.
On the winding roads of Eastern Austria, near the Slovakian border, I actually preferred driving the S model than the Turbo. It felt sharper when entering corners due to a lighter mass over the front axle.
Front suspension geometry is particularly well executed. The same goes for the speed-based adaptive steering system. As a result, the Cayenne Coupe S handles almost as beautifully as a genuine sports car, which is quite a feat for an SUV that weighs more than two metric tons.
This model’s driving dynamics are much more satisfying than those of the BMW X6, by the way. Credit goes to the Sport Chrono pack fitted as standard on every Cayenne Coupe, allowing you to easily adjust the behaviour of the vehicle with a simple twist of the drive mode selector on the steering wheel.
In Sport Plus mode, all systems and chassis dynamics maximize performance. The air suspension, specifically, drops to the lowest possible ride height. For even more responsiveness, you can push a button in the middle of the drive mode selector, which will boost throttle response for 20 seconds—ideal for quick passing manoeuvres on any byroad.
Another factor that made the Cayenne Coupe S so satisfying to push around was the set of ceramic composite brake discs, which are approximately 50 percent lighter than comparable cast-iron discs and therefore reduce unsprung weight considerably. With these brakes, the big Porsche inspires confidence as it remains exceptionally stable under hard braking and resists brake fade during sporty driving.
To sum up, the 2020 Porsche Cayenne Coupe not only boasts racier looks, but also delivers increased sportiness and sharper dynamics. For driving enthusiasts who are willing to sacrifice some versatility (cargo capacity is reduced by 140 litres), this is a no-brainer.