It would be wrong to characterize the upcoming mid-cycle refreshment in 2024 Porsche Cayenne than a mere facelift, as it’s more of a heart-lung transplant in the form of significant changes to many of its powertrains. The engineering team has also given him hip and knee replacements in the form of sensible tire and suspension tweaks. However, these are not geriatric maintenance procedures. They’re better thought of as bionic upgrades designed to improve the Cayenne’s state of being.
In addition, the cosmetic facelift elements are not to be judged. The prototypes we drove were effectively camouflaged with rattling black paint, beetle-eyed headlight mascara applications, and strategically taped-over taillights. The revised LED headlights and taillights are therefore hard to get excited about, but one key element stood out in all of this. The Cayenne’s stance was strengthened by larger-diameter tires. In off-roader terms, they’re 31-inchers, making them just over an inch taller than before.
This was not justified with increased off-road mobility, but with a higher rolling comfort and mechanical grip due to a larger contact area. Although the base wheels range from 19s to 20s, many wheels are the same diameter as before, which not only means there is more sidewall, but the tire assemblies also hold more air, which in turn allows Porsche to earn compound interest by reducing the Tire pressure is lowered a greasy. Indeed, the prototypes stuck like Velcro, but largely filtered out the worst textures that the rough and tortured asphalt of the narrowest Malibu canyons had to offer.
Some of the credit goes up a notch as now even the base model comes standard with adaptive PASM dampers. Air-sprung Cayennes go one step further, with newly designed springs that have two instead of three chambers. This apparent deficit actually represents a step forward as the PASM dampers now have separate rebound and compression adjustment valves, as opposed to the current single valve which attempts to regulate both. The result is much finer control and the ability to better optimize damping characteristics in response to given circumstances and the driver’s mode selection. Other optimizations include revisions to the rear axle steering system for improved maneuverability and a re-optimization of the rear torque vectoring system for better dynamics.
Even if the above updates are more important in daily driving, the revitalized and revised powertrains are the key difference here. Major changes were deemed necessary to meet the steady advance of emissions regulations, but as is often the case with modern powertrains, engine management strategies designed to burn fuel more completely also open the door to more power. This is the case here.
At the lower end of the range, the base Cayenne’s 3.0-liter turbocharged V-6 gets a 14-hp bump and makes 349 hp instead of the current 335 ponies. The increase in torque is even more noticeable, with the jump from 332 to 369 pound-feet representing an 11 percent increase. Meanwhile, the twin-turbo V-8 powering the absolutely insane Turbo GT at the top of the food chain will soon be making 651 hp instead of just 631 hp. Its torque remains unchanged at 626 pound-feet, indicating a likely capacity limit for the tow-away eight-speed Tiptronic S transmission.
The biggest changes take place in the middle of the range. Currently powered by an unloved 2.9-liter twin-turbo V-6 producing 434 horsepower and 405 pound-feet, the Cayenne S is returning to its V-8 roots. Its new 4.0-liter, short-stroke, twin-turbo V-8 makes 469 horses and 443 pound-feet, which is nearly 10 percent more of each. We could talk about its impressive throttle response and easy passing power, but our more childish sensibilities are perfectly content with its signature V-8 idle and the thunder it can echo off tunnel walls.
Meanwhile, the Mr. Spock in us really likes what Porsche has done with the E-Hybrid, which is actually a plug-in hybrid. The total combined power has increased slightly, from 455 to 464 hp. The role of the detuned 3.0-liter turbocharged V-6 has been reduced, but the strength of the electric half of the powertrain has been greatly increased. The electric motor now delivers 174 hp instead of 134 hp and is supported by a significantly larger battery with a gross capacity of 25.9 kWh instead of 17.9 kWh (around 20.6 kWh can be used compared to 14.3 kWh with the current E-Hybrid). A revised brake-blending system allows regenerative braking to continue to a standstill, and on our drive the E-Hybrid’s regenerative braking power and smoothness actually showed a significant improvement.
The goals for the rework are improved all-electric range, extended EV mode persistence, and better petrol engine MPG. We can’t comment on efficiency, and new EPA ratings aren’t available yet. Porsche proposes doubling its WLTP range in Europe. Here in the US, the current electric range is only 17 miles. We’re not expecting to see that doubling, but we do see 30 miles as a definite possibility – enough to make the 2024 Cayenne E-Hybrid a much more believable PHEV. What’s more, it can also charge faster with a new standard onboard charger rated at 11.0kW instead of this year’s pitiful 3.6kW standard and lackluster 7.2kW upgrade that costs $1230 will.
Adjustments in the cabin
Porsche has not left out the interior. The Cayenne gets a new Taycan-inspired curved instrument panel and central display. The 12.7-inch instrument display is great, and right next to it the Taycan’s switchable gear selector sticks out. A familiar 12.3-inch central touchscreen sits directly to the right, but thankfully that’s where the Taycan inspiration runs its course. The air vents just below are manually aligned, and below that is a fixed set of climate control buttons set into a small pane of glass, with a central volume knob placed just behind.
One of the things we appreciate most appears on the nicely contoured steering wheel, where the mode control wheel, which you can currently only get by ordering the Sport Chrono, comes standard. Meanwhile, the passenger gets their own 10.9-inch display, which is angled and polarized so the driver can’t see it. The idea is to let the passenger go as far as streaming video, but it’s not clear to us yet if that will stand up to US regulators. Another highlight in the cabin: the wireless mobile phone charging pad is cooled.
Pricing and the full range of specs won’t be released until the covers come off and the 2024 Cayenne is officially unveiled later this year. According to Porsche at this point, the prices will remain “at the level of the previous model after adjusting for equipment”. This could be code for a potentially significant step up for the base Cayenne, which now gets standard PASM, LED Matrix headlights, 20-inch wheels, the mode switch on the steering wheel, and other goodies. As for the Cayenne S, it’s a question of how much a V-8 transplant costs. And then there’s the E-Hybrid, whose new price at least reflects its larger battery. Still, the bionically-enhanced 2024 Porsche Cayenne should be well worth it, and it sure is going to cost well under $6 million, man.