Porsche has done well to differentiate the new Cayenne Coupe externally from its more humdrum stablemate, the Cayenne sport utility vehicle (SUV).
The most obvious difference is the Coupe’s lowered roofline (by 20mm), which slopes more towards its pert rear. Affixed on that rear are two spoilers: a fixed roof-mounted one and a trick adaptive one which extends by 135mm at speeds above 90kmh.
Despite the lower and sloping roof, I was able to fit my 1.78m frame comfortably in the second row. Boot space, however, has shrunk considerably, but you will still find around 600 litres of cargo capacity on board.
Looking up from the two-seat rear, you see either sky or a sea of Alcantara (if you opt for a carbon-fibre roof). A three-person bench is a no-cost option.
The carbon-fibre roof is 21kg lighter than the standard-issue glass ceiling. You can also go for various other carbon-fibre bits – inside and out – to reduce the weight further.
Likewise, you can also choose a car with less noise insulation.
Engine choices in the Coupe, S Coupe and Turbo are identical to the Cayenne SUV line-up, which means 335hp from a turbo V6 in the base Coupe, 434hp from a twin-turbo V6 in the S Coupe, and 542hp from a twin-turbo V8 in the Turbo Coupe.
All cars get an eight-speed Tiptronic S automatic transmission.
A hybrid Coupe, similar to the Cayenne e-Hybrid, is on the way.
On tight country roads, the Coupe does not feel very different from the standard Cayenne. In other words, its stops and steers with incredible alacrity.
As you approach a corner, your head tells you a car of its size and weight will have to slow down considerably to make it through safely.
But when you turn the wheel, the car’s torque vectoring kicks in and with an occasional chirp of tyres, the Coupe goes into the bend in a fuss-free manner, and out with a bellow of exhaust.
Torque vectoring applies braking to each wheel judiciously to optimise traction.
The car’s weighty but precise steering rack, coupled with its new rear axle steering, helps to keep you pointed exactly where you want to go – even if the sheer mass of the car wants to plough straight on.
Corner after corner gets devoured in the blink of an eye. Around sharper bends, the air suspension keeps body roll impressively in check, balancing out any keeling and absorbing bumps effortlessly.
The car is impressive on straight, open highways too. Wind noise remains non-existent as the speedometer crosses 100kmh.
As impressive as it may be, should you consider the Cayenne Coupe? After all, you are paying more for a car with less space and practicality, and which behaves similarly to the Cayenne SUV on the road, which is neither quicker nor faster and is essentially still a four-door all-wheel-drive.
Perhaps it boils down to styling. The Cayenne Coupe will appeal to those who find coupe variants of SUVs – such as those by BMW and Mercedes-Benz – more attractive, and are willing to forgo some function for form.
Porsche Cayenne Turbo Coupe
Price: From $621,888 without COE when it arrives by the first quarter of next year
Engine: 3,996cc 32-valve twin-turbocharged V8
Transmission: Eight-speed automatic with paddle shift
Power: 542hp at 5,750rpm
Torque: 770Nm at 2,000-4,500rpm
0-100kmh: 3.9 seconds
Top speed: 286kmh
Fuel consumption: 11.4 litres/100km
Agent: Stuttgart Auto
This article was originally published in The Straits Times.