Tue, 31 October 2023
Porsche changed the landscape of luxury crossovers with its first Cayenne SUV in 2002. Now more than 20 years later, it continues to find ways to improve its already great design. With a mid-cycle refresh updating the design further, Kristian Harrison took the 2024 Porsche Cayenne Coupe S for a spin.
The focus for this model has clearly been centred on making the car look sportier than previous iterations, which has been achieved with a much sharper design. In particular, the headlights, front and rear bodies feature sleek lines and voracious curves that give the vehicle a classier look.
Under the bonnet, the excellence you would expect from a Porsche is guaranteed as standard, but this time there’s a bit of extra oomph. The 474bhp, V8 engine capable of 273kmph roars into life with remarkable response, and with acceleration from zero to 100kmph taking just 4.7 seconds, it’s fair to assume that the days of pesky lane grabbers storming ahead of you at traffic lights are gone.
As always, driving is most fun when you can use the gear shift paddles and twist the Drive Mode dial from Normal to Sport … and then Sport Plus. The car is incredible to drive in the latter, with the engine roaring and then crackling on deceleration to give you a true taste of speed.
Speaking of paddles, dials and displays, if you’ve spent time in a Porsche Taycan, you’ll recognise it immediately. The Cayenne’s redesigned dashboard ditches the analogue tachometer and now features screens galore. A curved digital gauge cluster offers a whole new experience and nearly everything about the centre console is new.
The gear shifter, for one, is now a chunky toggle switch and push-button combo on the dashboard, hidden behind the smaller 911-inspired steering wheel. I must admit that I embarrassingly forgot where it was multiple times during my experience!
Moving it there opened up lots of space on the centre console, though I’m not entirely sold on how the space is used. The new climate-control panel takes up a good chunk of the area and features a mix of mechanical and touch controls that seem more like a triumph of design than of great function. However, I did appreciate the wireless phone charger located under the centre stack.
The digital instrument cluster is crisp and bright despite being unshaded, whilst the screens are easy to navigate with little intuition required and are widely customisable so you always get exactly what you want in front of your eyes.
The Porsche Cayenne’s most impressive attribute has always been its ability to be all things to all people. It drives like a tall sports car when you want it to, but it also takes the kids to school comfortably. While interior space is unchanged, the 2024 Cayenne’s combination of new suspension dampers, new air springs and tires with slightly taller sidewalls make for an even more comfortable ride. Taking the car from the showroom in Sitra all the way north to Diyar Al Muharraq to pick up a friend who offered feedback on the passenger experience, then down to the Tree of Life to test off-road capabilities, really showed how this is a car for all terrains and road conditions. There’s no jostling from the plethora of potholes, speed bumps and rough turns that proliferate Bahrain’s roads.
Despite the hundreds of cars I have driven over the years, I can honestly say that rarely have ‘power’ and ‘smooth’ combined so well as it does with the Cayenne S Coupe, meaning that every minute spent taming this beauty was a pleasure.
For more information, visit the Porsche Centre Bahrain in Sitra or call 17 459-911.