First drive: 2023 Porsche Cayenne in India
When Porsche invited us to explore the refreshed Cayenne amidst the picturesque landscapes of northeastern India, it was a welcoming departure from the typical circuits and mountainous terrains we usually encounter locally. Suffice it to say that the vehicle and the surroundings didn’t disappoint.
The Middle East is an important market for Porsche, particularly for the Cayenne. We were some of the early markets to have experienced the facelifted model in July. Overall, it’s more of a nip-and-tuck update, with slight cosmetic updates on the outside and a few techy bits on the inside.
We started our drive from Guwahati, Assam, to Cherrapunji, with a stay over at Shillong and back. We snaked through the twisty bits in a convoy of 10 vehicles, with a selection of SUV and Coupe models. Two days spent with the new Cayenne on twisties, highways, and city traffic gave us enough mileage to get acquainted with the updated model.
Exterior tweaks include updated front fascia with matrix LED headlights, incorporating Porsche’s four-point signature DRLs, with the rear boot lid design now in line with the coupe models, moving the number plate onto the rear bumper.
Porsche has also updated the rear taillights to be a single stripe running from end to end, in line with its other family members. The ‘Porsche’ logo at the rear is also more pronounced now. Cayenne rides on standard 20″ alloys, with optional sizes going up to 22 inches.
Over to the interior, Porsche has fully revamped the dash to incorporate the “Porsche Driver Experience”, inspired by their Taycan model. Changes are quite welcoming, including a fully revamped dash with a digital 12.6-inch curved display that’s fully customizable and vivid even on the brightest days.
The 911-inspired steering now features a drive mode selector. We like the clean and sporty steering wheel design, encompassing all modern-day steering functions without overloaded buttons.
The dash now features a central 12.3-inch touchscreen infotainment system and Porsche’s first optional 10.9-inch touchscreen for the front passenger. Other desirable optional extras include premium BOSE audio with surround sound, Porsche’s sport chrono package with the stopwatch in the centre of the dash, an off-road package and various interior colour choices.
For those who like to personalize even further, the ‘Porsche Exclusive Manufaktur’ program is available via the dealers, down to the seat colours and materials.
Porsche Cayenne engine specifications
The entry model we tested is motivated by a 3.0-litre, twin-turbo V6 paired with an eight-speed automatic. The engine now makes 348 hp with a healthy dose of 500 Nm of torque. Dash to 100 kph from a standstill is achieved in around 6 seconds, with a top speed of 248 kph.
Acceleration is smooth and brisk but will not raise the hair at the back of your neck, which would need upgrading to higher trims. Speaking of higher trims, the Cayenne S now gets a standard twin-turbo V8, boasting 468 hp. The ME region will get all the trims, including the Turbo GT (for coupe) and Turbo E-Hybrid later.
Ride quality and comfort
All Cayenne models ride on standard air suspension now, improving ride quality over bumpy surfaces without compromising on the sporty handling. Snaking through the windy country roads of Shillong and Cherrapunji, it cornered flat with next to no body roll, and the handling was confidence-inspiring, albeit we were driving below the vehicle’s limits. That being said, the overall driving experience is motivating and athletic.
Overall, the new Cayenne offers the segment an unmistakably Porsche driving experience, coupled with welcoming interior updates. Prices start at AED 368,900 for the base ‘Cayenne’ trim to AED 811,400 for the Turbo GT spec.