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Porsche Cayenne Turbo Coupe review: the way it should always have been 

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Motion shot of the Porsche Cayenne Coupe.
Porsche Cayenne Coupe first drive: the way it should always have been 

Three generations in, Porsche has finally turned the Cayenne into a universally liked premium SUV. Even the purists now grudgingly accept its presence in the range, acknowledging that its commercial success allows Porsche to continue to make incredible sports cars. But now, is Porsche risking the ire of these diehard enthusiasts by launching a new body style for the Cayenne, one that is incongruously called a Coupe?

To be fair to Porsche, it isn’t a massively risky move into unchartered waters. The large ‘coupe-SUV’ genre was effectively invented by BMW with its X6 well over a decade ago, and since then we’ve had the Audi Q8 and Mercedes GLE Coupe join the ranks. Not to mention other ostensibly sporty-looking SUVs that are only offered in one body style, such as the Jaguar F-Pace, Maserati Levante and Alfa Romeo Stelvio.

Porsche wades in with the Cayenne Coupe. While the front-end is unchanged, the roof is 20mm lower than the regular model’s, which is emphasised by a more raked windscreen. The sweeping roofline and fixed roof spoiler are unique, too, and Porsche’s designers have, to these eyes, done a far better job of removing visual bulk from the rear of the car than most of its rivals.

At first glance you may not notice that, underneath the little lip spoiler above the rear lights (LED items, like in the Cayenne proper, but of a different design and without the massive ‘PORSCHE’ script across the middle), there’s a larger aerofoil that automatically opens at 56mph. Meanwhile the number plate has been moved to the new rear bumper to give the Coupe a distinctively sporty appearance.

More subtly, the rear doors and wings have been redesigned and widened to give the Coupe more muscular haunches. And while the door openings are a little smaller than the regular Cayenne’s, the rear seats are not tiny. To help with headroom, Porsche lowered the seating point by 30mm, so adults are perfectly comfortable back there.

The design of the Cayenne features some firsts from Porsche, including the 22-inch rims and optional carbon-fibre roof.

As standard, the Cayenne Coupe gets two individual rear seats, which is wonderfully extravagant, but buyers can choose the more flexible five-seat layout for no additional cost. The rear seat backs split, fold and recline and, though the boot is nearly 150 litres less capacious than that of the normal Cayenne, it’s still massive by any measure – if less useful for carrying large and bulky items.

We suspect that Cayenne Coupe buyers will be more interested in the front-seat experience. There, they’ll find wonderful new sports seats with integrated headrests and a vast amount of electric adjustment, not the mention the impressively connected high-tech dashboard. Depending on options, a cool houndstooth fabric material forms part of the upholstery and it’s all illuminated by a gorgeous full-length glass roof, standard across the range.

The interior of the Turbo Coupe is about as opulent as you'd expect for a vehicle of this calibre.

That is unless you opt for the tempting carbon fibre roof. Some will love how this looks, but it also reduces weight and the centre of gravity of the car - if you need further justification for the expense (it comes as part of a package that costs about £7,500). Before that, of course, you need to choose which model suits your budget, as there’s a price walk of some £40,000 from top to bottom. The entry-level Cayenne Coupe gets 335bhp from a turbocharged 3.0-litre V6, the Cayenne S Coupe’s twin-turbocharged 2.9-litre V6 makes 434bhp and the range-topper is the Cayenne Turbo Coupe, featuring a biturbo 4.0-litre V8 petrol engine, putting out a fearsome 542bhp and 568lb ft to all four wheels via an excellent eight-speed automatic gearbox.

Sleek and cheerful; the design of the Cayenne Coupe makes it stand out out from the crowd.

‘Rapid’ doesn’t quite convey how fast this powerplant makes Cayenne Coupe. You soon forget that’s what you’re driving; so controlled is the car no matter how enthusiastically you’re pushing it. The air suspension (standard on the Turbo) and adaptive dampers have iron-fisted control over the body’s movements whether you’re quickly changing direction or braking hard when not quite in a straight line – and yet it’s a refined and comfortable cruiser, too, depending on the chosen driving mode.

This model is a surefire competitor for the BMW X6, and the Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupe.

Those brakes are mighty, and the pedal feels reassuring, while the tactile steering wheel telegraphs what’s happening at road level. The message from the wide tyres is usually that there’s a surfeit of grip and traction, though it’s surprisingly playful at the limit, as well, making it a big SUV that you’ll want to drive just for the sake of driving.

Now that sounds like something Porsche enthusiasts should be getting on board with, doesn’t it?

THE FACTS

Porsche Cayenne Turbo Coupe

TESTED 3,996cc, V eight-cylinder bi-turbo petrol, eight-speed automatic gearbox, four-wheel drive.

PRICE/ON SALE range from £62,129 to £104,729 (as tested)/now  

POWER/TORQUE 542bhp @ 5,750- to 6,000rpm/568lb ft @ 2,000- to 4,500rpm

TOP SPEED 177mph

ACCELERATION 0-62mph in 3.9sec

FUEL ECONOMY 20.2-20.8mpg/23.9-25.0mpg (EU Combined according to WLTP - depends on wheel size)

CO2 EMISSIONS 258-261g/km (depends on wheel size)

VED £2,135 first year, then £450

VERDICT Porsche has well and truly put the ugly SUV in its past, as the Cayenne morphs into the even more desirable Cayenne Coupe variant. It comes with a few practicality compromises, but the extra equipment, style and focus on dynamics should offset that for most buyers, especially the image conscious.

TELEGRAPH RATING Four stars out of five

THE RIVALS

BMW X6, from £59,080

The origin of the large SUV-coupe species. Ridiculously capable on the road, though its styling divides opinion. Due replacement any day now with new high-tech car based on current BMW X5.

Maserati Levante, from £58,370

Quite a different proposition, and not one that calls itself a ‘coupe’, but undoubtedly targeted at the same image-conscious set of buyers. The Cayenne is in a different league in most aspects.

Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupe, from £65,030

Wide range of engine options, including fire-breathing AMG models. Ungainly looking thing, but due replacement this year and we wouldn’t bet against Mercedes making it rather more alluring than before.

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