Despite initial resistance when the Cayenne debuted two decades ago, it has become one of the most important vehicles in Porsche’s lineup, comprising about 30 percent of its sales worldwide. The current third-generation Cayenne has been out since the 2019 model year and received a refresh in time for 2024.
This is not your average facelift. It’s a significant improvement over the previous year, a departure from the new generation as it shares much of the same chassis and crash structure. The 2024 Cayenne features a new look, with a reworked front fascia with larger air intakes, restyled headlights, more prominent fenders and a subtle hood bulge. The rear also gets a makeover, with new taillights and a tailgate that makes it look wider than before.
Inside, a new 12.6-inch curved digital instrument display appears alongside the PCM 6.0 infotainment system and its 12.3-inch touchscreen. The previous gear selector lever has been replaced with a smaller toggle found in other Porsches and moved to the dashboard. That frees up some space on the center console for more storage and a new climate control panel. The Cayenne also offers a 10.9-inch touchscreen for the front passenger, similar to the one found in the Taycan.
The Cayenne lineup has been dramatically reduced from nine trim levels to four. The base 348-horsepower Cayenne starts at $80,850, while the 468-hp Cayenne S will set you back another $16,500. At the top of the range is the uncomfortably tempting 650-hp Turbo GT with a $200,000 price tag. It is only available in coupe body style and is currently exclusive to the US market. Slotting above the base model is the plug-in turbo V-6 Cayenne E-Hybrid with 463 horses at $93,350. A fully electric Cayenne will arrive in a few years and will overlap with the internal combustion model.
Drive the Cayenne Turbo GT
We had the chance to drive the Cayenne Turbo GT on some of our favorite roads in Southern California to see how the changes affect this sportiest of utility vehicles. The Turbo GT certainly deserves its position as the spiciest of the Cayenne. If it had a Scoville rating, it would easily replicate its six-figure price. Acceleration should be similar to the insane 2.8 seconds we recorded in the ’22 model, and when you pin the pedal to the floor, you’ll be met with one of the most glorious V-8 engines this side of the Jaguar F-type. .
Off the line, the Turbo GT stumbles for a while as it struggles to keep the sticky Pirelli tires from going up in smoke and ready for the next gear, but it’s still impressive and rocking. Standard ceramic composite brakes are up to the task of slowing this roughly 5100-pound SUV, and firm pedals add further reassurance.
Stepping into a turn, the Cayenne’s steering is Porsche-like with its precision and effort. Standard adaptive air springs and a lightweight carbon roof keep the Turbo GT from feeling too heavy as it tracks through curves with little body roll. A bump in the middle of a corner can momentarily throw the rear tire off the line, but the Cayenne regains grip and composure before you can react.
Just as impressive as its cornering prowess is the Turbo GT’s comfortable ride. The drive mode dial returns to Normal, and the suspension relaxes its stiffness for the kind of smoothness needed for longer trips. Prominent road noise will add some long-distance fatigue to the rear.
Cayenne S Drive
We also drove the Cayenne S on the same road, and the difference was obvious but not dramatic. The big news for this midrange model is the return of the V-8 engine replacing the previous V-6, bringing an extra 34 horses. But you won’t find the Turbo GT’s theatrical growl in the S, which instead has a rather bland sound that could be mistaken for a six-cylinder.
The Cayenne S also comes with a more conventional adaptive suspension that lacks the range of comfort or performance that the Turbo GT benefits from. It’s more jittery and jittery on rough pavement and less solid in long sweeping turns. Air suspension is available as a $2390 option, however, and we highly recommend it for both the Cayenne S and base models, whether you’re looking for handling performance or not. Even with these additions, the Cayenne S costs half as much as the Turbo GT.
Of course, performance is only part of the Cayenne equation. It’s still a luxury SUV, and the interior lives up to expectations with ease. While we could do with a little more piano black on the center console, the cabin is wrapped in premium materials, and there’s a solid edge behind it all. Apart from the road noise mentioned above, the interior is free of any squeaks, squeaks and excessive wind noise.
Moving the gear selector to the dash also allows for a wireless charging pad that sits nicely under the dash and is a nice pairing with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. You also get storage pockets and a larger cup holder. The new climate control panel thankfully keeps some physical toggle switches for hassle-free adjustments. Secondary controls are capacitive touch buttons that require looking away from the road to use.
We’re not convinced the optional passenger touchscreen is worth the $1490 price tag, but there’s a certain cool factor, nonetheless. It allows front passengers to enjoy their own streaming entertainment, control some of the vehicle’s features, and play co-pilot with navigation, even though the center touchscreen is just next to it. The display polarization filter makes it visible to the driver as a black plastic dash element to eliminate interference. Our main issue with this display is the potential for motion sickness for more sensitive passengers.
All in all, the changes make the 2024 Porsche Cayenne more desirable than ever. For drivers who want more performance than the existing base Cayenne, the Cayenne S is sure to get your heart rate up. We would suggest that you opt for spring suspension for a wider spread of both comfort and handling. As noble as the Turbo GT is, its nearly $200,000 price tag seems steep. But if we had the kind of bank balance that could absorb such a blow, you better believe we would.
2024 Porsche Cayenne S/Turbo GT
Vehicle Type: front engine, all wheel drive, 4 or 5 passenger, 4 door wagon or hatchback
S, $97,350; S Coupe, $103,750; Turbo GT, $197,950
twin-turbocharged and intercooled DOHC 32-valve 4.0-liter V-8, 468 or 650 hp, 442 or 626 lb-ft
Wheelbase: 114.0 in
Length: 194.1–194.2 in
Width: 78.1–78.5 in
Height: 64.9–66.8 in
Passenger Volume, F/R: 54/50–51 ft³
Cargo Volume, Behind F/R: 24–27/52–60 ft3
Curb weight (C/D estimate): 4900–5100 lb
PERFORMANCE (C/D EST)
60 mph: 2.8–4.2 seconds
100 mph: 7.0–8.5 seconds
1/4-Mile: 11.1–12.7 seconds
Top Speed: 169–189 mph
EPA FUEL ECONOMY (C/D EST)
Combined/City/Highway: 16–18/14–16/19–21 mpg
With a background in design and open-wheel racing, Mark Takahashi worked his way up to art director at car and motorcycle magazines. He parlayed that into a career as an automotive journalist and has reviewed thousands of vehicles over the past few decades.