If you’re reading this, it’s been six months since I’ve driven these 2024 Porsche Cayenne prototypes (seriously, embargoes are weird). And while I’m glad Past Me had the foresight to jot down plenty of detailed notes before they vanished forever from my quickly squished brain, my overall impression can’t actually be attributed to any particular upgrade. The 2024 Cayenne is good because it has been coherently and comprehensively improved.
Note the 2024 Cayenne is not entirely new; This is really just a mid-cycle refresh of the current E3-generation SUV. A few minor styling tweaks hide beneath the camouflage, and Porsche confirms that the Cayenne’s bumper, fenders, hood and lights have all been redesigned. New colors and wheel designs are also in the cards, but really don’t expect a radical visual transformation.
Instead, the headline talking points are a lineup of more powerful engines, updated cabin tech, and new suspension hardware. All will be revealed when the 2024 Cayenne debuts in April, but for now here’s what I learned after driving Porsche’s prototypes for a lap.
More performance across the board
None of the Cayenne engines are new, but they all have more power. the Base model of the 3.0-liter turbocharged V6 has 349 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque — increases of 14 and 37, respectively — and all Cayennes still use an eight-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive. Despite being the entry-level engine, the 3.0-liter V6 is a peach, with more than enough power for your typical daily suburban drive.
The best news is that the Cayenne S ditches its old 2.9-liter twin-turbocharged V6 in favor of a 4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V8. As powerful as it was, the 2.9-litre engine was seriously lacking in character, so the thump and roar of a V8 will definitely cure those blues. This V8 is essentially a detuned version of the 4.0-liter engine used elsewhere in the Cayenne lineup, producing 468 hp and 442 lb-ft in the S. That’s not a significant improvement over the 2.9-ft engine’s 434 hp and 406 lb-ft, but again, a V8 is so much more entertaining. The Cayenne S is better suited for this.
You can tell right away after a quick run through the canyons outside of Malibu, California. The Cayenne S is absolutely frantic, with enhanced low-end thrust and a soundtrack to match. I have to wonder how that will affect the inevitable V8-powered Cayenne GTS, but I suppose we’ll cross that bridge when we get there. From the looks of it the S is dope and I can’t really see that I need or want more.
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Speaking of more – much more – Porsche will continue to offer it Cayenne in the ultra-cool Turbo GT guise. Unlike any other Cayenne, which will be available both as a classic SUV and as an SUV Swoopy roof coupe body stylesthe Turbo GT will only use the latter. It also gets a small boost in power, now making a healthy 651 hp – up from 631 – as well as carrying 627 lb-ft.
However, the Turbo GT is not just about performance. Coupled with its revised suspension (more on that in a moment), the top-of-the-line Cayenne really does feel like a sports car, with quick reflexes, an absolute ton of grip and a sense of urgency you won’t find in many other mid-range SUVs.
Hybrid options with more electric range
Hybrids will be a big part of the 2024 Cayenne program. These plug-in models all benefit from a larger battery pack with a capacity of 25.9 kilowatt hours – instead of 17.9 – which increases the electric range. By how much exactly? This is still TBD. But considering the current Cayenne E-Hybrid has an EPA-estimated EV range of 17 miles, which should shift this number at least to the mid-20s. And because an 11-kilowatt on-board charger is used instead of the currently optional 7.2-kW equipment, the Cayenne can also recharge its battery faster than before.
Total system output for the 2024 Cayenne E-Hybrid — which combines the larger battery with a 3.0-liter turbocharged V6 gas engine — is 463 hp and 479 lb-ft. Interestingly, while torque is up 8 hp, torque is actually down 37 lb-ft. Regardless, the instant electric torque off the line makes the Cayenne E-Hybrid perfectly fast, and the transitions between fully electric and hybrid driving are seamless. Porsche says it worked to improve smoothness when switching between regenerative and mechanical braking, but it’s still not quite there. Perhaps some pre-show fine tuning will fix this though.
Four Cayenne E-Hybrid models will be offered worldwide, including a China-only version with a less powerful 2.0-liter inline-4 turbocharged engine. The two additional PHEVs we’ll be getting in the States are a mid-level hybrid — think Cayenne S range — as well as some top-tier. For the latter, expect something like an updated version of the crazy Cayenne Turbo S E-Hybridwhich currently makes an absurd (and wonderful) 670 hp.
New suspension is good
From the basic Cayenne to the crazy Turbo GT, Porsche’s SUV is super easy to drive. And while the updated powertrains play a big part, arguably more important is the chassis, which will be thoroughly overhauled for 2024.
The new hardware consists of a dual-chamber air spring and a two-valve damper, replacing the old three-chamber air and single-valve damper design. The main difference you can feel is a wider range of firmness, ranging from ultra plush to pretty darn stiff. This also allows for a more tangible separation between the Cayenne’s driving modes; Comfort is more comfortable, while Sport Plus is… sportier.
From the basic Cayenne to the crazy Turbo GT, Porsche’s SUV is super easy to drive.
That’s the optional suspension, of course. The standard kit includes steel springs with Porsche’s Active Suspension Management technology, and while it’s not as sophisticated as the two-and-two air setup, I don’t see the majority of Cayenne buyers caring all that much takes care. Even on its base chassis, this SUV loves to be thrown into a corner, with the communicative and responsive steering giving those sharp reflexes. Torque vectoring technology and rear axle steering are also available for even sharper escapades.
Familiar technology is good technology
If you’ve sat in the Taycan EV before, the interior of the 2024 Cayenne will feel very familiar. Porsche wouldn’t let me photograph the SUV’s cabin – I have to leave that to the imagination, right? – but I promise the Taycan influence is strong.
In front of the driver is a curved 12.6-inch digital gauge that’s devoid of a housing, giving it the appearance of being recessed into the dashboard. This is the biggest change to the Cayenne’s interior, and with no chunky casing surrounding the screen, forward visibility is greatly improved.
In the center of the dashboard is a 12.3-inch screen that runs the same updated multimedia software you’ll find in the 911 and Taycan. On the right you can add an optional 10.9-inch passenger display with all sorts of redundant functions and controls. In addition, the 2024 Cayenne has a digital climate control panel on the center console – again like the Taycan – as well as a larger engine stop/start button to the left of the steering wheel.
Come this spring
Final details such as pricing and fuel economy estimates will not be available for a few months. But I don’t expect the 2024 Cayenne to ask for significantly more than the current SUV, which starts at $73,650 (including $1,450 for the Target). In addition to the base, S, E-Hybrid and Turbo GT variants reviewed here, expect a whole jumble of other Cayennes to hit the market in due course.
From the engines to the chassis to the infotainment technology, all the updates to the 2024 Cayenne make an already great SUV even better. When the production car wraps up in April, I have no doubt that the new Cayenne will be as compelling as ever.