Porsche demonstrated an SUV doesn't have to handle like a blimp when it launched the first-generation Cayenne in 2002. It's preparing to raise the bar yet again with an even spicier variant developed for maximum performance.
Offered only as a Coupe, the upcoming addition to the Cayenne range (whose name hasn't been made public yet) receives a twin-turbocharged, 4.0-liter V8 that delivers over 600 horsepower. It's not electrified in any way, and it exhales through a titanium exhaust system that's part of the diet engineers put the SUV on. Porsche told Autoblog it expects the new model will be about as quick to 60 mph as the 2022 911 GT3, which posts a 3.2-second time, and its top speed will lie somewhere north of 186 mph. An eight-speed automatic transmission spins the four 22-inch wheels via a water-cooled transfer case, while Pirelli P Zero Corsa tires transfer the V8's power to the pavement.
Comprehensive chassis upgrades are part of the transformation, too, including a three-chamber air suspension system that's 15% firmer than the one fitted to the GTS, a retuned active roll stabilization system, and a torque vectoring system that's been re-engineered for a higher level of lock. Rear-wheel steering is standard as well.
The images released by Porsche show the enigmatic Cayenne in full prototype regalia, so it's difficult to decipher precisely what designers have changed, though we're told the rear spoiler is bigger to provide more downforce. We also spot a wing fitted to the roof, and new-look rear air diffuser that surrounds the exhaust system's oval pipes.
With emissions regulations tightening around the globe and carmakers moving away from large engines, it's not unreasonable to speculate this Cayenne is Porsche's way of sending off the V8 with a bang. That's not the case, according to Hagerty, and the engine "still has several bright years ahead of it" before its escorted off the stage.
Porsche will introduce the next addition to the Cayenne range in the summer of 2021.