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The 21-inch wheels on this 2024 Porsche Cayenne E-Hybrid were a $4,270 options while tinted LED Matrix-HD headlamps added $3,410.Jeremy Sinek/The Globe and Mail

Twenty-some years later, the outrage has subsided. Even diehard Porsche sports car fanatics understand that profitable SUVs help subsidize the development of niche-market sports cars. As well, most sports car drivers own other cars, likely including at least one practical family vehicle like … well, why not a Porsche SUV? And the clincher: Anybody who thinks an SUV can’t drive like a sports car has never driven a suitably outfitted Cayenne.

With anticipation, we approach new models promising even better driving dynamics and innumerable other enhancements. This Cayenne isn’t all new – it’s based on the third-generation model released in 2017 – but it is “one of the most extensive product upgrades in the history of Porsche,” says Michael Schaetzle, the Cayenne product-line vice-president.

The transition to 2024 is a work in progress. Arriving first are the “base” Cayenne, E-Hybrid, S and Turbo GT. The latter is coupe only, while the other three each come as coupe or regular roofline. Still to be revealed are the GTS, Turbo and E-Drive Turbo.

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For now, the Turbo GT comes only as a coupe and other models in either body style, with this S Coupe showing that Porsche carries off the SUV-coupe concept better than most.Jeremy Sinek/The Globe and Mail

At a first-drive session, we test the E-Hybrid and the S, which have the most-changed powertrains. The E-Hybrid retains its detuned version of the base three-litre turbo V6, but its electric motor is boosted to 174 horsepower from 134, battery capacity grows to 25.9 kilowatt-hours from 17.9, and the on-board charger is upgraded. In the S, a four-litre V8 displaces the previous three-litre V6.

Official figures aren’t yet available, but the E-Hybrid’s bigger battery alone should stretch electric range to 39 kilometres from the previous official 27. I expect better than that. There are additional tweaks for improved efficiency, including more effective regenerative braking. And in our experience, Porsche’s EV range claims are conservative.

Combined outputs for the E-Hybrid are 463 horsepower and 479 lb-ft of torque – respectively five less and 37 more than the Cayenne S’s new four-litre twin-turbo V8.

For the S, the V8 has been extensively massaged for reduced fuel consumption and emissions. Resulting outputs of 463 horsepower and 442 lb-ft of torque are respectively 34 horsepower and 37 lb-ft higher than the former V6′s.

Meanwhile, the base Cayenne’s single-turbo three-litre V6 now rates 348 horsepower and 368 lb-ft – up 13 and 36, respectively – and the Turbo GT’s four-litre V8 gets a 19-horsepower hike to 650.

Across-the-board chassis enhancements include new two-valve dampers that broaden the bandwidth between comfort and performance. Other chassis options like torque-vectoring and rear-wheel steering have been fine-tuned.

Both Cayennes we drove were lathered with chassis options, and while the ride was consistently supple, we’d need track comparisons to detect whether their astonishing agility exceeds what we’ve experienced in past Cayennes.

Porsche partisans will never say “no” to more performance, but their devotion may be challenged by 2024 interior modernizations that, in the words of Porsche’s director of driver experience, Ivo van Hulten, “play with the tension between the analog and the digital worlds.

“The Taycan is very digital. On the 911, there’s still a lot of analog. Here, we wanted to bring those two worlds together,” he says, with features such as a digital tachometer and a dashboard drive-mode switch instead of a centre-console shift lever.

Porsche is promising an all-electric Cayenne mid-decade. For those who can’t wait, the E-Hybrid provides an effective stop-gap, while gas-powered holdouts can get their fix until the full battery electric vehicle arrives, and likely a few more years beyond. The 2024 models are available to order now for delivery mid-summer.

Tech specs

2024 Porsche Cayenne

  • Base model/as tested: E-Hybrid – $105,800/$145,940; S - $114,600/$171,689 (plus $2,850 freight and taxes)
  • Engine: E-Hybrid – three-litre turbo V6/130-kilowatt electric motor; S – four-litre twin-turbo V8
  • Transmission/drive: Eight-speed automatic/all-wheel drive
  • Fuel consumption (litres per 100 kilometres): TBA
  • Alternatives: Acura MDX, Audi Q8, BMW X5, Cadillac XT5, Genesis GV80, Jaguar F-Pace, Jeep Grand Cherokee, Lincoln Aviator, Mercedes-Benz GLE, Range Rover Sport, Volvo XC90


Design changes that include a new hood, grille and front fenders conspire to make the 2024 look wider and more muscular. New LED headlamps with matrix-beam technology can optimize light brightness and pattern in multiple ways, using speed, camera and navigation data. An even smarter high-resolution HD-Matrix LED version is optional.


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The digital-screen gauge cluster on the 2024 Porsche Cayenne is semi-free-standing though doesn’t look like it from the driver’s seat.Jeremy Sinek/The Globe and Mail

For experienced Porsche fans, the most contentious novelty might be the curved, free-standing 12.6-inch screen gauge cluster or the feeble little drive-selector toggle-switch protruding from the dash.

At least the gauge screen can be configured to look like the old analog cluster. And space freed up on the centre console allows enhanced storage, including side-by-side cupholders, and a handy panel of switches (some touch-sensitive with haptic feedback) for controlling climate.

A 12.3-inch screen does infotainment duty at centre dash, supplemented by switches on the steering column and the 911-like wheel. Passengers will appreciate their own optional screen to stream entertainment invisibly to the driver, who enjoys clear exterior sightlines and a widely adjustable driving position.


Porsche cites acceleration to 100 kilometres an hour in 4.7 seconds for the S and 4.9 for the E-Hybrid, but the latter feels like it launches harder; although the V8 exhibits minimal turbo lag, the hybrid gets a boost from its electric motor. As for the soundtrack, if the V8 were an opera singer, its voice would be closer to tenor than the rich, deep bass tones my ears prefer. Give me the refinement of the V6, but your tastes may differ.


Porsche stops short of Level 2 hands-free driving, but optional InnoDrive is a foot-free system that, on the open road, uses navigation data and cameras to control speed according to posted limits, and the topography of the road ahead, while optimally balancing efficiency, average speed and smoothness. The system also includes active lane-keeping assistance on major roads, and traffic jam assistance in urban congestion, but it’s all still hands-on.


Depending on body style and whether a hybrid battery usurps space, cargo volume varies from an unremarkable best of 762 litres down to as little as 644. All except the Turbo GT can tow up to 3,500 kilograms (7,716 pounds).

The verdict

A base Cayenne starts at “only” $89,800, but we’ve never driven one. Expect to pay a lot more for the models and options we drove, which variously combine performance, fuel economy, ride comfort and agility in ways that seem to rewrite the laws of physics.

The writer was a guest of the automaker. Content was not subject to approval.

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