- Available for £52,000
- 3.0-litre and 2.9-litre V6 and 4.0-litre V8 turbo petrols & hybrids, all-wheel drive
- Big choice of powertrain and chassis options
- Lovely cabin, big boot, unsurprisingly good to drive
- 4.0 GTS is a great pick if you can find one
In 2020 we put together a PH Buying Guide on the second generation (958) Porsche Cayenne that was sold between 2011 and 2018. The main conclusions reached in that guide were that the 958 Cayenne was a beautifully built, practical and versatile family car with real pedigree and no duffers in the extensive range of engines. We also noted that it was available on the used market at prices starting from £15,000. The most affordable used gen-twos now start from £14,000; a value drop of only £1,000 in the 20 months since our buying guide, showing the widely held respect for these do-it-all cars.
Both of the first two Cayennes dug Porsche out of a potentially terminal financial situation. The baton of Porsche's best-selling vehicle has since been passed to the Macan but the subject of today's buying guide, the gen-three Cayenne that came out in 2018, remains an important cog in Porsche's worldwide sales effort.
Taller, wider and lower than its predecessor, but with no change to the wheelbase, the gen-three is built in Slovakia on the Volkswagen Group MLB platform (Bentayga, Q7, Urus) that was designed to accept just about any mode of propulsion, from petrol to full electric. Weight-saving was an important part of the new Cayenne proposition, so around half of its body (including the front wings, doors, side panels, roof and tailgate) was made from aluminium. The use of a lithium-ion polymer starter battery saved another 10kg.
The overall result was a reduction in the average gen-three Cayenne's weight by 60kg relative to the gen-two - 'relative' being the word. These SUVs could never be described as small or light cars. In S form the new car still weighed 2,125kg, and the batteried-up E-Hybrids crunched the scales to the tune of at least 2,360kg. Fortunately, the efficiency of the Porsche powertrains and all-wheel drive systems meant that even the slowest 340hp base model could whoosh through the 0-62mph run in six seconds flat, or less than that with the Sport Chrono pack fitted - hardly sluggish for such a big beast.
Although the range of power units available to the MLB platform would normally and naturally include a diesel engine, the gen-three was destined never to have one thanks to the 'dieselgate' scandal. In February 2018 Porsche announced that in light of growing consumer scepticism about diesel (their words) it was pausing the production of all its diesel-powered models. Two of the most harshly dieselgate-spotlit models - the Macan S and Panamera 4S - were immediately removed from the range. Eight months later the company confirmed that the oil-burner pause was permanent and that as a result there would be no diesel gen-three Cayennes.
Many saw that as a shame because the Porsche diesels were historically excellent from both driving and economy standpoints. It wasn't too disastrous, luckily, as Cayenne buyers were hardly shortchanged when it came to highly credible power options. Customers could choose between a 3.0 single turbo V6 petrol in the base model, a 2.9 twin turbo V6 petrol in the S, a petrol-electric plug-in the E-Hybrid combining the 3.0 V6 with a 13kWh battery, or a twin-turbo 4.0 V8 in the Turbo (replacing the old 4.8). Later, a 460hp/457lb ft 4.0 V8 GTS model would join the range between the S and the Turbo, along with a 640hp Turbo GT and a 680hp Turbo S E-Hybrid.
The styling of the new 2018 Cayenne was designed to continue the process of narrowing the visual gap between it and the 911. The Coupe version that was launched in 2019 to compete with cars like the Range Rover Velar and BMW X6 helped to further integrate the Cayenne into the Porsche range. Although it was identical to the standard Cayenne ahead of the A-pillar, the Coupe's extra length and width gave it the look of an upsized Macan or, if you concentrated on the 20mm lower roofline, the area around the new C-pillar, rear doors and rear side windows and the new roof spoiler, more than a whiff of 911. From the rear the gen-three's slimline full-width rear light panel distinguished it from the gen-two. Double-bar running lights at the front marked out the Turbo models. All in all, the gen-three was a clever development of the Cayenne offering.
Spec for spec, the slightly wider Coupes were around 45kg heavier than the estates. The standard Coupe roof was pano glass, but if you went for the Lightweight Design package (one of a few such packages on offer) you got a GT3 RS-style double-bubble carbon fibre roof in gloss black that cut the overall weight of the car by 21kg, all of it high up, which from a handling perspective was where you would want to lose weight. The small active spoiler below the rear window that deployed at 56mph or that could be buttoned into action received an extra lip on Lightweight Design cars.
Mechanically the Coupe was unchanged. 20-inch alloys, front and rear parking assist and Sport Chrono were all standard. Prices for the default 340hp 3.0 litre V6 Coupe (150mph, 6.0 0-62) started at just over £62,000, but the Coupe entry price has since risen to £67,100 for the base 3.0, which is today joined by the 440hp S (5.0sec/163mph, £79,340), a 462hp E-Hybrid (5.1sec/157mph, £75,300), a 460hp GTS (4.5sec/168mph, £92,150), a twin-turbocharged 550hp/567lb ft 4.0 V8 Turbo (3.9sec/178mph, £113,000), a 680hp 4.0 Turbo S E-Hybrid (3.8sec/183mph, £134,000, and a 631hp Turbo GT (3.3sec/186mph, £147,500). Specced-up 'Platinum' editions are dotted throughout both ranges, so pretty much every imaginable buyer base is covered. The Cayenne estate range mirrors the Coupe's (apart from there not being a Turbo GT) and these days starts at £62,450 new.
For the purposes of our spec sheet we've gone with the range-middling S, which dished up 440hp and 406lb ft across a wide spread of revs, delivering a trouser-wrinkling 0-62mph time of 5.2sec (0.3sec less than the old S needed) and a top speed of 163mph.
On the used front, even early gen-three estates from 2018 are going to cost you a minimum of £52,000, which isn't much of a saving on the £56k they started off at in 2018. That £56k was the notional price without options, and as we all know there is no Porsche without options, so it's not an exact comparison, but it's clear that low depreciation is in play here, a sure indicator of sought-after, high-quality vehicles. Does the Cayenne accurately fit that description? Let's dip in.
SPECIFICATION | PORSCHE CAYENNE S (2018-on)
Engine: 2,894cc V6 24v twin turbocharged
Transmission: 8-speed automatic, all-wheel drive
Power (hp): 440@5,700-6,600rpm
Torque (lb ft): 406@1,800-5,500rpm
0-62mph (secs): 5.2sec
Top speed (mph): 164
Weight (kg): 2,125
MPG (official combined): 30.1
CO2 (g/km): 212
Wheels (in): 8.5 x 18 (f), 9.5 x 18 (r)
Tyres: 245/40 (f), 265/40 (r)
On sale: 2018 - now
Price new: £55,965
Price now: from £52,000
Note for reference: car weight and power data are hard to pin down with absolute certainty. For consistency, we use the same source for all our guides. We hope the data we use is right more often than it's wrong. Our advice is to treat it as relative rather than definitive.
ENGINE & GEARBOX
It's hard to pick a favourite Cayenne powertrain, as they're all excellent. Having said that, the GTS is hard to ignore. Originally with a naturally aspirated 4.8 V8 and then a turbocharged 3.6 V6, it reverted to a V8 in the gen-three, smaller in capacity than the first one at 4.0 litres but this time with the ample compensation of double turbos to produce 460hp and 457lb ft.
It had a near-90hp power shortfall vis-a-vis the identically engined Turbo thanks to its different ECU, but the GTS's willingness to rev and the differences in its chassis setup (steel versus air in the Turbo) brought the GTS into a sunny place, especially with its standard sports exhaust (activated in Sport mode, a centrally mounted alternative was available) and reduced sound-deadening. The Turbo did the 0-62 in 4.1sec, had a 177mph top speed and was reassuringly expensive to fuel, but could feel somehow bridled by its own mass and the need to keep it under control. The GTS returned around 20mpg in enjoyment mode. We found no GTS gen-threes on sale in the UK as we were going to press, which perhaps tells you something.
Power figures on the hybrid models looked impressive but somehow didn't directly translate into electrifying performance on the road. The single turbo 3.0 in the standard and E-Hybrid models was essentially an Audi engine, while the 2.9 twin-turbo V6 in the S was a 'proper' Porsche unit - albeit one that had appeared in two Audi RS cars.
Of the Cayenne's real driving modes there were three - Comfort, Sport and Sport + - as well as a configurable Individual mode. The £774 Sport Chrono option brought you a wheel-mounted drive mode selector and a launch control function in Sport +. You also got four off-road modes: Mud, Gravel, Sand and Rock - and more than 20 inches of wading depth capability, which was more than an old Defender had. The towing rating was unchanged from the gen-two at a beefy 3,500kg.
Every gen-three Cayenne had a ZF 8-speed Tiptronic S torque converter automatic trans with a manual mode. It was faster-reacting than the old Aisin box, but it was no PDK dual-clutcher. The ZF drivetrains did encompass 'sailing' and smoother stop-start functions though. They also offered manual changes through the lever as well as through the wheel paddles, a nice touch.
These gen-three Cayennes were something of a tech-fest when it came to the chassis. In some models this tech-heaviness introduced a sense of detachment that anyone with a modicum of discernment would easily notice in a back-to-back comparison between a three and a two. Still, the new Cayenne handled rather better than you might think from something this heavy, with daft amounts of grip in the dry and point-to-point progress that could be little short of surreal in the more powerful versions. Inevitably there was a limit on how much influence electronic trickery could bring to bear on the laws of physics and nature, but taken as a whole the new Cayennes were massively capable.
All V6s and the GTS rode on steel springs. The old gen-two double-wishbone front suspension was upgraded to a rear-end type multilink arrangement on the three. Security and grip was conferred by the standard Porsche Traction Management active all-wheel drive system, auto brake differential and anti-slip. Staggered front to rear tyre sizes ramped up the 911 effect. The air suspension that was standard on Turbo and Turbo S E-Hybrid models but an option on others worked well, too, but enthusiastic drivers often preferred the handling precision of a steel-sprung car like the GTS (with its 20mm lower ride height and 21in wheels) over the additional ride height choices provided by air.
Another option on all cars bar the air-sprung Turbo S E-Hybrid, which got it as standard, was PDCC (Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control), an electromechanical active roll stabilisation system designed to minimise body roll in hard cornering. This was something that many of those who went in for anything more than five-tenths driving thought was worth having on a car of this bulk and height. You could actually have air on your GTS, along with rear-wheel steer, which was an option on all models, as were variable steering and a torque-vectoring rear diff. Rear-steer in the Cayenne was perhaps more about improved low-speed manoeuvring in Californian car parks than it was about handling enhancement at higher speeds. Happily the regular steering was comfortingly meaty and accurate, with the usual weight provisos.
PASM, Porsche's electronic active damping system, was a £1,000 option on the base Cayenne but standard on the S and on all the other more powerful models, plus (we think) on all Coupes. With PASM's fluid-filled dampers in normal/comfort mode, i.e., with no restriction in the flow of oil, the ride was very smooth. Sport mode tightened flow and body control, a useful attribute on such a big vehicle, albeit at the cost of extra firmness which could make the ride a bit knobbly on British roads, especially with any of the bigger wheel options. Overall, though, PASM was a worthwhile feature on the Cayenne.
All Cayennes had autonomous emergency braking with pedestrian detection. S and GTS models had slightly larger brake discs. Porsche Surface Coated Brakes - iron discs coated in tungsten carbide - were a £2,100 option, but that was still less than a third of the price of PCCB full carbon brakes which could be awkward to operate on the heavy hybrid models in particular. The PSCB design was reckoned to reduce brake dust production by 50 per cent and overall brake wear by 35 per cent. White was a slightly odd choice of colour for the calipers, though. Squealing brakes has been a common complaint with this model and they're not that easy to quieten down. There was a recall to fix a brake warning light that didn't let you know that your pads were about to wear through.
The use of aluminium and lightweight steel gave the new Cayenne a better front-rear weight distribution than the old one, around 55/45 percent front/rear in basic trim. Torsional rigidity was up by 20 per cent. The Porsche also had a usefully short wheelbase for the class. That didn't really impinge on interior space because none of the vehicles in this class were small, but it did add brownie points when it came to overall wieldiness.
You'll see quite a few Cayennes advertised with PDLS (Porsche Dynamic Lighting System) or PDLS +. The standard system adjusted dip beam coverage to suit the speed you were doing and altered the direction of the beam when cornering, again in line with your speed but also with your steering angle. PDLS + added a dynamic main beam that came on at around 40mph and that automatically varied its intensity and range when oncoming traffic or vehicles in front of you were detected. It also gave you Intersection Assistant which actuated cornering lights to broaden and extend your light coverage Pano roof seals have occasionally been known to leak.
All gen-three Cayennes had beautifully crafted and tactile interiors built around Panamera-style dual seven-inch TFT colour displays on either side of the analogue tachometer that was directly ahead of the driver. These were augmented by a large (12.3-inch) PCM centre-dash touchscreen that was both responsive and graphically sharp. Gen-threes also gave you sat-nav, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi hotspot, digital radio, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, LED headlights, front and rear parking sensors, dual-zone climate control, and a rear camera.
The Coupe's standard equipment included eight-way power seats, 20in wheels, Sport Chrono, PASM and (we think - it's easy to get bamboozled when researching the multitude of model variations) Remote Park Assist which would park up the car without any assistance from you, or without you in the car at all. Once you took these standard items out of the pricing equation there wasn't much of a premium to be paid for the Coupe. The GTS had an Alcantara wheel which was lovely.
The range of optional electronic gadgetry was huge, including 14- or 18 way powered front seats with massage, ventilation or heat functions, Bose or Burmester audio, 360-degree parking monitor, lane change and lane keep assist, heat-sensing Night Vision, traffic sign recognition, head-up display etc etc. You'll want to check that all of these work. None of these options were cheap when new so the secondhand buyer can benefit from the value they shed used. Some slightly frustrating issues have come to light in regards to CarPlay functionality.
Cayenne back seats could be slid back and forth for extra versatility. The Coupe's standard rear-seat setup was two single seats mounted lower to minimise the headroom cut and there was a no-cost three-seat option. Even with its new roofline the Coupe's boot space was a healthy 625 litres or 1,540 when the seats were down, although the Coupe Turbo had a bit less at 600 and 1,510 litres. The regular Cayenne got a 15 per cent/100 litre boost to its seats-up cargo capacity relative to the gen-two, taking it to 770 litres, which was quite a bit more than you got in a BMW X5 or Mercedes GLE. 1,710 litres were available when the seats were down, though 'down' in this case didn't mean 'flat'. The boot shape was usefully boxy and easy to use though, as long as the electric tailgate was working, which it didn't always do.
If you absolutely had to have an SUV then your grudging purchasing decision was made a whole lot easier by the 2018 arrival of the gen-three Cayenne. The Cayenne was always a very accomplished, beautifully made, practical and potentially high-performing machine, and although looks are always going to be a matter of opinion, it became much harder to level accusations of dumpiness at the latest iteration. The availability of an appealing selection of powertrains, none of which are in any way weedy, has made it easy for buyers to dial in the exact performance they require. Now there's no excuse, other than the usual one of lack of funds, for not being able to find the exact Cayenne for your needs.
At the end of the day your choice could easily boil down to a combination of brand loyalty, looks, and of course price. Pitched against rivals from BMW, Mercedes and Audi, most of the MLB Cayenne variants stand a good chance of being rated best in class in terms of driving satisfaction, with only the slightly inert Hybrids letting the side down a bit. On the point of price, what about Aston's DBX? Well, you won't find a used one of those for under £140,000. Is it nearly three times as good as a £52k Cayenne? That's your shout. All we'd say is, if you're in any way budget-driven, a gen-three Cayenne looks like good value despite - and once you've bought one, because of - its strong residuals.
The small used price differential between outgoing 2018 gen-twos and incoming 2018 gen-threes, at the bottom end of the range at least, can be at least partly ascribed to the non-availability of diesel threes. That big course change by Porsche means that you will often find only a couple of thousand pounds' difference between a well-specced gen-two 3.0 diesel and a gen-three 3.0 petrol with a similar mileage.
3.0 estates make up the overwhelming majority of used gen-three Cayennes. This was the most affordable new Cayenne in PH Classifieds at the time of writing, a 27,000-mile 3.0 at £52,500. You'll find quite a few 440hp 2.9 S cars around at £62k-£65k. The cheapest S on PH was this 36,000-mile estate in black with grey leather, Sport Chrono and Bose sound at £61,795. The 3.0 E-Hybrid offered an additional power hike to 462hp. This white 2018 estate version has 30,000 miles and a £63,995 price tag.
Coupes are much thinner on the ground than estates and tend to be lower mileage, too, as they're less often put to business use. That keeps values strong. Here's an 11,000-mile 2019 car in red with 22-inch wheels, the desirable Houndstooth seats and the Lightweight Sports package with the carbon roof. It's only a 3.0, but the asking price is £77k.
For big power fun this 550hp Turbo estate could have your name on it. Even though it's done 40,000 miles you'll still be paying hard for your pleasure at £81,980, but it does have the rather lovely Bordeaux red leather and a nice spec.
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