Why would I buy one?
- Exciting performance
- Brilliant handling
- Looks good
Why would I avoid it?
- Noisy and harsh ride
- Mute steering
- Interiors don’t feel special
It’s a Porsche. And it lives up to that name when it comes to driving dynamics. It is brilliant in that regard. Yes, it could do with a nicer ride, and more standard equipment would be welcome as well. But if it’s a more practical, spacious, and close to go-anywhere Porsche you want, the Cayenne Coupe certainly checks the box.
Engine and Performance
Power packed. Easy revving. And quite enjoyable. That’s the Cayenne V6 for you. It also hurls this wide, long, two-tonne beast to the horizon with surprising potency. So much so that everything - even things travelling at 100kmph - seem too slow on the road. Now this three-litre, V6, twin-scroll turbocharged, direct injection petrol makes almost 340bhp. And the torque at 450Nm is laid pretty thick as well. Plus, the engine has this lovely innate ability to dial in the revs with such ease and urgency that it makes driving the Cayenne quickly second nature.
Just to throw in some figures to give you a perspective. The claimed 0-100kmph time for the Coupe is a lively six seconds. And with the throttle buried in the carpet, Porsche says the Cayenne Coupe V6 can reach 243kmph. Plenty fast for something so big and heavy and orange.
If anything, I am not a fan of the way the engine sounds. It doesn’t have a strong and brawny note to go along with its charged performance. It sounds a little too metallic, a little stressed, and not one that’s enjoying all the wringing it’s getting. Plus, in Sport and Sport Plus modes (the Cayenne Coupe comes with four driving modes activated by a smart dial on the steering), the engine response and shifts can be unnecessarily jerky at times.
The gearbox though - an eight-speed tiptronic or torque converter in normal speak - is easy to manipulate via the paddle shifters. And even when left to its own wares, it goes about the job of shifting up and down the gearbox without much of a delay.
Ride and Handling
The handling on the Cayenne Coupe is brilliant. And if it were not coupled with ride quality, we’d probably be looking at close to a 10 on 10 here. It’s agile and sure-footed and forgiving, and it belies its size and weight. The ride on the other hand, is noisy and busy and not very likeable. Now the driving modes mentioned earlier change the way the air suspension on the Cayenne behaves as well. In Normal mode, the ride is still noisy and busy and a little harsh, and it is coupled with a side to side rocking movement which isn’t pleasant.
In Sport mode, the suspension firms up further. It’s still noisy and busy and harsh, but the side to side movement reduces dramatically. And we are more than willing to live with the slightly exaggerated bobbing movement at slow speeds that comes with the stiffer setup in Sport than being rocked around in Normal. Handling, of course, is sensational! You just can’t tell that the Porsche is a large, heavy car the way it turns into corners. And not just the fast sweeping ones. But the tight ones as well. You also don’t need to slow down dramatically. It’s amazing the kind of corner speeds the Cayenne Coupe can carry.
Even quick transitions from left to right handers or vice versa, are dealt with uncanny light-footedness. Moreover, the body roll isn’t pronounced, the tyres never seem to complain, and there’s always a handsome amount of grunt to pull you out of a corner and hurl you to the next one.
All this - or most of it at least - is down to electronic control systems. Porsche uses something called the 4D Chassis Control. Simply put, the steering, suspension, and traction related systems all work together to get the Cayenne around a corner in the quickest and least dramatic fashion. There’s four wheel steering, adaptive air suspension, and active driving assist system that can shame even the most ridiculous of American eating competition with their appetite to consume data.
These systems manage to keep the Cayenne flat around corners. These help keep the understeer to a minimum. And it begins every time you turn the steering. The steering itself, meanwhile, is as quick as a squirrel.
Interior Space and Quality
The Cayenne Coupe by all means and purposes is a four seater. You can fit in a fifth, but he or she will hate you for it. For the remaining four though, it’s a spacious, well appointed, rich and comfortable cabin. The quality of plastic all around is top class. There’s soft grain; there’s gloss black; there’s flat black; there are traces of aluminium. Plus, everything you touch or operate has that quality engineering feel to it that’s difficult to come by but very easy to love.
The seats - particularly upfront - are roomy, supple, supportive, and so comfortable, you wouldn’t mind tackling mad rush hour traffic or a monotonous 100kmph expressway run from behind the wheel seated in them. These are of course the optional ‘Comfort Seats’ part of the individualisation package and cost over Rs 3 lakh extra.
Not that there’s anything wrong with the rear seats. The rear bench has a fairly long seat squab, a tall seat back, and plenty of knee, shoulder and head room to keep even six footers happy. But thanks to the coupe roofline, the seats are a little closer to the floor than we would have liked. And that means thigh support isn’t great. But the front seats are better. To me, the front seats are like melt-in-your-mouth chocolate mousse, while the rear - still very tasty - is more like a bar of dark chocolate that’s just been pulled out of the refrigerator.
The boot meanwhile is pretty useable. It can hold large suitcases too. But they need to be of the long and wide variety and not very high courtesy the shape of the Coupe’s boot.
Features and Equipment
Call me greedy but if I am paying upwards of Rs 1.3 crore for a car, I’d like it to do the Macarena. But, since that’s never going to happen, I would settle for everything else. Maybe even the voice recognition feature from Johnny English’s Rolls Royce; it did save the world, after all. Unfortunately, everything else is an optional extra on the Porsche Cayenne Coupe. Take your pick - cooled seats that massage, a 360 degree camera, wireless charging, a cooled box, self park, and maybe soft close for doors - are all missing on the standard Porsche Cayenne Coupe. One can spec the Coupe with them, of course, (barring the Rolls’ feature) under the individualisation scheme, but...
Having said that, the Porsche is still a very well endowed car. Four zone climate control, a panoramic sunroof, electric tail gate, and a multimedia system that besides playing music from all sorts of inputs, is also your window into many other functions of the Coupe like ride height, driving modes, climate control, mood lighting, etc. And all this is standard, mind.
Also standard is the wonderful engineering, the plethora of safety systems from many airbags to vehicle stability systems, and the sea of sensors and wiring that make the Coupe the wonderful car it is to drive. In the end, these do justify the Cayenne’s hefty price tag; if not wholly, to a certain degree.
To truly like, appreciate, and enjoy a Porsche, one must show it some corners and chase them down at a manic pace. It’s only then does a Porsche shine. It’s the same with the Cayenne Coupe. The handling is mind boggling. The steering response is electric. And the urgency and potency with which the Coupe lays down the power at corner exits makes it fast and exciting to drive.
And this is important, because otherwise, in areas like ride quality, feature list, interior look and feel, and useability, it’s just par for the course. Nothing extraordinary.
Pictures by Kapil Angane