Everything You Loved and More: The 2019 Porsche Cayenne

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky

The Macan may be Porsche’s best-selling vehicle, but it owes all of its success to the Cayenne. When the SUV began production in 2002, we all scoffed and claimed it would never work. But the vehicle’s success has had us feasting on crow for the last 15 years.

About to enter its third generation, the Cayenne doesn’t appear to have changed much at a glance. Appearances are often deceptive, however, and this would be a prime example of the phenomenon. For 2019, the SUV comes equipped with new engines, new brakes, a new transmission, and gobs of added tech.

Visually, Porsche says the “the new Cayenne retains a strong visual connection to its predecessors.” If that’s code for saying it looks nearly identical to the previous model and, by extension, all modern Porsches, then it wasn’t very difficult to decrypt. But the German automaker knows it has an incredibly well-established design language. It’s not about to shake things up for the sake of being different.

The only obvious difference is the wider grille, which now appears as a more singular piece. There’s still three separate air dams, but the slats are positioned in a way that makes them look contiguous. Porsche is also outfitting the Cayenne with more lighting options and makes extensive use of LEDs.

Retaining the same wheelbase as its predecessor, the new model manages to squeeze 15-percent more cargo capacity behind its rear seats without sacrificing the familiar shape. However, that adds roughly 3 inches to the Cayenne’s overall length for a total of 194 inches.

Despite the increase in length, the Cayenne hasn’t gained any weight. Depending on the configuration, it can be as much as 143 pounds lighter than its outgoing counterpart. Weight distribution for the base model is approximately 55 percent front and 45 percent rear.

There’s more good news from beneath the hood. Porsche has furnished the 2019 model year Cayenne with your choice of two turbocharged V6 engines. The base unit is a 3.0-liter single-turbo mill with 340 horsepower and 332 pound-feet of torque, while the Cayenne S offers a 2.9-liter twin-turbo V6 with 440 horsepower and 406 lb-ft.

According to Porsche, the base model should reach 60 mph in 5.9 seconds, or 5.6 with the Sport Chrono package. For the Cayenne S that number drops to 4.9 seconds and 4.6 seconds with Sport Chrono. From a performance perspective, that’s as good and better than the automaker’s current GTS-trimmed SUV.

All new Cayennes will come standard with an updated eight-speed Tiptronic transmission with quicker response times in lower gears. Porsche’s Traction Management all-wheel drive system also comes as standard and provides five traction settings, including four for “mild off-road terrain.”

The Cayenne will also have 911-inspired staggered wheel sizes. Although, why Porsche would bother on a front-engined SUV with off-road capabilities is unclear. Porsche did say the model was “designed to be the sports car within its segment.” But it also might just come down to how good it looks.

Suspension tech remains a cut above with aspects borrowed from the Panamera. Active suspension damping is standard, with optional three-chamber air suspension, active stabilizer bars, and rear wheel steering via Porsche’s dynamic chassis control package.

Also improving performance is a novel braking technology that Porsche claims is first in the world. Available only as an option, these high-performance “Surface Coated Brakes” consist of a cast-iron disc with 70 micrometers of tungsten-carbide coating. The result is a mirror-like finish and superior performance with less wear and a longer lifespan.

Inside the cabin, the Cayenne borrows from the Panamera again with its new 12.3-inch touchscreen and black-glass capacitive control surfaces. The interface’s layout and organization can be customized, saving up to six individual profiles that recall cabin comfort setting, driving mode preferences, assistance technologies, and audio settings.

Driving assistance and safety upgrades are decent, including an optional thermal night vision system, lane change assist, lane keeping, traffic sign recognition, parking assist with surround view, and InnoDrive adaptive cruise with traffic jam crawling.

The 2019 Cayenne launches with a base price of $65,700, while S models start at $82,900. However, after an additional $1,050 destination charge and a laundry list of optional extras, you’ll soon be paying thousands more than you originally intended. Fortunately, you have until the summer of 2018 to save up.

[Images: Porsche]

Matt Posky
Matt Posky

A staunch consumer advocate tracking industry trends and regulation. Before joining TTAC, Matt spent a decade working for marketing and research firms based in NYC. Clients included several of the world’s largest automakers, global tire brands, and aftermarket part suppliers. Dissatisfied with the corporate world and resentful of having to wear suits everyday, he pivoted to writing about cars. Since then, that man has become an ardent supporter of the right-to-repair movement, been interviewed on the auto industry by national radio broadcasts, driven more rental cars than anyone ever should, participated in amateur rallying events, and received the requisite minimum training as sanctioned by the SCCA. Handy with a wrench, Matt grew up surrounded by Detroit auto workers and managed to get a pizza delivery job before he was legally eligible. He later found himself driving box trucks through Manhattan, guaranteeing future sympathy for actual truckers. He continues to conduct research pertaining to the automotive sector as an independent contractor and has since moved back to his native Michigan, closer to where the cars are born. A contrarian, Matt claims to prefer understeer — stating that front and all-wheel drive vehicles cater best to his driving style.

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2 of 14 comments
  • IBx1 IBx1 on Aug 31, 2017

    What happened to their interior design? It went from classy to Playskool. Besides that, they still can't figure out what to do with that dumb radar lens on the front.

  • ToddAtlasF1 ToddAtlasF1 on Sep 01, 2017

    Do all these CUVs outsell their associated and traditional car lines because most of the people who can afford them are too old to fold into sports cars? I saw an article in the WSJ today about CUV sales v. car sales for a number of 'sports car' brands. People are buying the CUVs, but why? Nobody grew up wanting a Porsche station wagon, and surely nobody is stupid enough to think that a shield on a VW truck is as cool as a 550 like the one James Dean died in. I get caught behind this junk all the time in my neighborhood, which has narrow winding roads that Porsche barge pilots can't stay in their own lane of while maintaining the speed limit. These tubs have replaced Lincoln Continentals as the rolling roadblocks of blue hairs, at least in my subdivision.

  • The Oracle This thing got porky quick.
  • Kwi65728132 I'll grant that it's nicely kept but I'm not a fan of the bangle butt designs, and I know better than to buy a used BMW while living anywhere in the world other than in the fatherland where these are as common as any Honda or Toyota is anywhere else.
  • ChristianWimmer When these came out I thought they were hideous: now they’ve grown on me. This one looks pretty nice. Well-maintained, low mileage and some good-looking wheels that aren’t super fancy but not cheap-looking or boring either, they are just right.
  • Aja8888 Someday in the far away future, all cars will look the same, people will be the same color, dogs will be all mixed beyond recognition, and governments will own everything. That car looks like my son's Hyundai Tucson without badges.
  • Tassos Of course, what the hell did you expect? A SERIOUS, BEAUTIFUL car you can ACTUALLY USE AS YOUR DAILY DRIVER???............. NOOOOO, THIS IS TIM WE ARE TALKING ABOUT. SO HE FINDS SOME OBSOLETE POS WHICH IS 22 years old, .............AND HE PURPOSELY MISSES THE BEAUTIFUL MODEL, THE Classical Beauty E39 that ended in 2003. ...........So he uses his column as a WASTEBASKET once again, to throw the first year of BMWs BANGLED 5 series (as in the INFAMOUS CHRIS BANGLE WHO SCREWED UP THE DESIGN ROYALLY). ................................................ As Dr. Evil, Fake Doctor Jill Biden would scream at the top of her voice, so her senile idiot husband could hear her, "Good Job, (Tim)! You answered all the questions and ticked all the boxes!" ..... KEEP UP THE S---Y work, Tim!