2021 Porsche Cayenne

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2021
The Car Connection
2021
The Car Connection

The Car Connection Expert Review

Kirk Bell Kirk Bell Senior Editor
January 14, 2021

Buying tip

If performance is the goal, the Cayenne GTS model hits the sweet spot with lots of power and handling prowess but not the full-blown Turbo price tag.

features & specs

AWD
Coupe AWD
E-Hybrid AWD
MPG
19 city / 23 hwy
MPG
19 city / 23 hwy
MPG
Coming Soon
MSRP
$67,500
MSRP
$76,500
MSRP
$81,800

The 2021 Porsche Cayenne has sport sedan moves and prodigious power, and it can carry the family in comfort.

What kind of car is the 2021 Porsche Cayenne? What does it compare to?

The Porsche Cayenne kicked off the idea of the luxury performance SUV. It’s a five-passenger mid-size crossover offered in standard and coupe body styles. 

Is the 2021 Porsche Cayenne a good car?

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Porsche pours excellence into the Cayenne. It can deliver off-road capability, on-track performance, and room for the family in a high-tech, luxurious environment. We rate it highly at 7.0 out of 10. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

What's new for the 2021 Porsche Cayenne?

Porsche adds the Cayenne GTS model to the lineup for 2021. The two plug-in models also get larger lithium-ion batteries with a usable capacity of 14.3 kwh, up from 11.3 kwh. The GTS model is the entry level for Porsche’s twin-turbo 4.0-liter V-8. 

Porsche offers the Cayenne in base, S, GTS, Turbo, E-Hybrid, and Turbo S E-Hybrid models, all in standard SUV and so-called “Coupe” body styles.

The Cayenne cuts the shape of a crossover SUV, but the details, including its nose and rounded fenders, channel the 911. The coupe body style creates a sportier look while sacrificing cargo space. Inside, the Cayenne is modern, sporty, and luxurious. 

Stellar performance comes standard and increases as you move up the scale. Four engines in various states of tune and two plug-in hybrid models offer power at every level. The base turbocharged 3.0-liter V-6 makes 335 hp and launches this SUV to 60 mph in as little as 5.6 seconds, while the E-Hybrid Turbo S combines the GTS and Turbo models’ twin-turbo 4.0-liter V-8 with an electric motor to create an ungodly 670 hp, a 183-mph top speed, and a 0-60-mph time of 3.6 seconds. No Cayenne is particularly efficient.

The Cayenne is a natural athlete on the pavement. A long list of performance hardware improves the handling and can make the Cayenne defy physics on a track. 

How much does the 2021 Porsche Cayenne cost?

The Cayenne starts at $68,850 for the standard SUV and $77,850 for the Coupe. It comes with partial leather upholstery, power seats, a 12.3-inch touchscreen infotainment system, navigation, and 19-inch wheels, and the Coupe adds a panoramic sunroof, adaptive dampers, and 20-inch wheels. Higher-end models can reach $200,000 when slathered with options, which Porsche is happy to offer. 

The Cayenne comes standard with automatic emergency braking, and is available with active lane control, adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitors, a surround-view camera system, and night vision.

Where is the Porsche Cayenne made?

In Zuffenhausen, Germany.

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2021 Porsche Cayenne

Styling

The 2021 Porsche Cayenne combines sporty looks with luxury and technology in a well-integrated package.

Is the Porsche Cayenne a good-looking car?

The look hasn’t changed all that much from the first Cayenne that debuted almost two decades ago. Yet, it’s contemporary and not stale, with a nose inspired by the 911 and full-width taillights that have not become a brand signature. It still cuts a traditional crossover SUV profile, but it’s attractive on the outside and luxurious on the inside. That earns it an 8 for styling. 

The standard Cayenne has a fast rear roofline that saps some cargo space and the Cayenne Coupe has a faster roofline that robs even more. It’s a lifestyle choice for those who enjoy the sportiness it implies.

The interior is modern and far more minimalistic than the previous generation. An attractive 12.3 touchscreen sits front and center and it handles many of the controls that used to be lost in a morass of buttons.

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2021 Porsche Cayenne

Performance

The Porsche Cayenne can defy physics with sport sedan track performance or provide a relaxed trip to the grocery store.

Built on a premium platform and available with a variety of performance features, the Porsche Cayenne is a natural athlete that can also perform like it’s amped up on steroids. It has some off-road capability, too. We rate it an 8 for performance based on strong engines and slick moves. 

Is the Porsche Cayenne 4WD?

The Cayenne comes standard with all-wheel drive and offers a torque-vectoring rear differential.

How fast is the Porsche Cayenne?

How fast do you want it and how much money do you have?

Even the base Cayenne, with its 335-turbocharged V-6, is quick, posting a 0-60 mph time of 5.6 seconds with the optional Sport Chrono package or 5.9 seconds without it. Not bad for a daily driver. 

Move up to the twin-turbo 2.9-liter V-6 in the S model and the 0-60 sprint drops below five seconds. It spins up 434 hp and pushes the Cayenne to a top speed of 164 mph.

The E-Hybrid uses the base V-6 and an electric motor to create 455 hp. It can vault from 0-60 mph in 4.7 seconds, and it delivers immediate low-end grunt and smooth transitions from gas to electric power.

The GTS gets a twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V-8 that makes 480 hp, cuts the 0-60 mph time to 4.2 seconds, and enables a top speed of 167 mph.

A stronger version of that engine powers Turbo models, making 550 hp and 567 lb-ft of torque. It ups the top speed to 177 mph and drops the 0-60 mph time to 4.0 seconds. 

Porsche offers an even more powerful model in the Turbo S E-Hybrid. It teams the twin-turbo 4.0-liter V-8 with an electric motor to create 670 hp, which launches the SUV from 0-60 mph in 3.6 seconds and ramps up the top speed further to 183 mph. These babies are fast, and the GTS and Turbo models have a rich V-8 growl.

The basis for the Audi Q7 and Q8, Bentley Bentayga, and Lamborghini Urus, the Cayenne’s platform is high-end machinery built to perform on and off road. With up to 9.6 inches of ground clearance from its air suspension, the Cayenne has much of the off-road prowess of a Range Rover. It can ford almost 20 inches of water and scramble up a 45-degree hill, though the available summer tires aren’t suited to these tasks. 

Porsche Cayenne ride and handling

Porsche offers additional performance equipment for road and track duty, including rear-axle steering, air suspension, active anti-roll bars, a torque-vectoring rear differential, and carbon-ceramic brakes. 

The additional equipment helps the Cayenne defy physics as it hustles down a twisty road. It doesn’t suffer much body lean and stays supernaturally flat with the active anti-roll bars. The steering may be too heavy for some, but it’s sharp and communicative. Fat tires provide lots of grip to get the SUV moving and hug corners, while the rear-axle steering makes a big vehicle feel smaller through the esses.

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2021 Porsche Cayenne

Comfort & Quality

The 2021 Porsche Cayenne’s comfort matches its performance.

Porsche puts as much importance on interior comfort and luxury in the Cayenne as it does performance. We rate it a 9 here for its cosseting seats, passenger room, cargo space, and build quality.

With mid-size dimensions, the Cayenne can comfortably fit not just four but five, with enough width for three across in the back. The Coupe only has seating for four. Rear seat passengers benefit from seats that move forward and back, recline, and offer seat heating. They also have good leg room thanks to the 113.9-inch wheelbase. 

Front seat passengers have it even better with standard leather buckets with eight-way power adjustments. They’re sporty and offer lots of support during aggressive maneuvers. They get even better with 18-way power adjustments, an available massage function, and heating and cooling. 

An analog tachometer sits in the middle of the instrument cluster and it is flanked by a pair of 7.0-inch digital screens that provide a wealth of information. It’s a high-end, modern cabin. Also found up front are passenger grab handles for occupants to hang on for dear life when the driver unleashes up to 670 hp and takes corners like it’s a sports car. 

Cargo space is good, but not as voluminous as other mid-size crossovers. It has a useful 27.5 cubic feet behind the rear seats, which can fold in a 40/20/40 split to increase storage to 60.3 cubic feet or 54.3 cubes in the Coupe. Hybrid models lose a few cubic feet to their batteries.

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2021 Porsche Cayenne

Safety

Porsche makes automatic emergency braking standard but charges for other active safety features.

How safe is the Porsche Cayenne?

As a high-end vehicle, the Porsche Cayenne doesn’t get a safety score because it hasn’t been crash-tested by the IIHS or the NHTSA. 

The Cayenne comes standard with automatic emergency braking and front and rear park assist, but the other safety features are optional. They include active lane control, adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitors, a surround-view camera system that also helps when off-roading, and night vision.

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2021 Porsche Cayenne

Features

2021 Porsche Cayenne buyers have a variety of model choices.

The Cayenne takes on many personalities, with standard SUV and Coupe body styles, models for families and track performance, and a never-ending list of customization options. We rate the Cayenne a 7 for features, adding points for good standard and optional equipment, as well as its infotainment system, but we remove a point for overall value.

Which Porsche Cayenne should I buy?

The Cayenne represents its best value in its base trim. Base Cayennes begin at $68,850 and come standard with partial leather seats, eight-way power front seats, a 12.3-inch touchscreen infotainment system with wireless Apple CarPlay compatibility, navigation, satellite radio, a 10-speaker audio system, LED headlights, and 19-inch wheels. The sportier $77,850 coupe version adds adaptive dampers, 20-inch wheels, a panoramic sunroof, and the Sport Chrono package with additional drive modes, launch control, and a digital and analog dashboard clock.

The best combination of luxury and performance should is the GTS. Priced at $108,650 ($111,850 for the coupe), it is meant for performance, with the twin-turbo V-8, an air suspension, a lowered ride height (0.4 inch), a torque-vectoring rear axle, a sport exhaust system, and 21-inch wheels. 

How much is a fully loaded 2021 Porsche Cayenne?

The top of the lineup is the $164,550 Turbo S E-Hybrid model. It comes with air suspension, carbon-ceramic brakes, active anti-roll bars, a torque-vectoring rear differential, 18-way heated and power-adjustable front seats, a 14-speaker Bose audio system with 710 watts, the Sport Chrono package, and more.

Notable options include a 21-speaker Burmester audio system, rear-axle steering, and all of the interior trim choices you can imagine. 

Cayenne infotainment

The Cayenne’s standard12.3-inch center touchscreen is mostly intuitive, though some controls are buried and some functions could be easier to use. The voice recognition system works well, and Apple CarPlay is standard but Android Auto isn’t available.

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2021 Porsche Cayenne

Fuel Economy

The 2021 Porsche Cayenne is great at most things, but not fuel efficiency.

Is the Porsche Cayenne good on gas?

No Cayenne is efficient and those with more power drink more gas. The thriftiest Cayennes with the single-turbo 3.0-liter V-6 check in at 19 mpg city, 23 highway, 20 combined. That earns the Cayenne a rating of 3 for gas mileage. 

Move up to the S models with their twin-turbo V-6s and the ratings fall to 18/22/20 mpg for the standard Cayenne and 18/22/19 for the Cayenne Coupe. 

The GTS and Turbo models derive their power from a twin-turbo 4.0-liter V-8 in different states of tune. They all get 15/19/17 mpg.

The 2020 Cayenne E-Hybrid got 21 mpg combined and had 14 miles of electric range but a larger battery for 2021 could improve those numbers. Same goes for the Turbo S E-Hybrid’s 18 mpg combined and 12-mile electric range.

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$67,500
MSRP based on AWD
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7.0
Overall
Expert Rating
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Styling 8
Performance 8
Comfort & Quality 9
Safety N/A
Features 7
Fuel Economy 3
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