By the time you read this, it will have been six months since I built these 2024 Porsche Cayenne prototypes (seriously, the restrictions are weird). And while I’m glad I had the foresight to jot down lots of detailed notes in Past Me before they disappeared forever from my fast-moving brain, my overall takeaways really owe a lot to the upgrade. Can not be done. 2024 Cilantro is good because it is integrated, comprehensively optimized.
Note, 2024 Cayenne isn’t exactly new. It’s really just a mid-cycle refresh of the current E3-generation SUV. Some minor styling adjustments are hidden under the camouflage, and Porsche confirms that the Cayenne’s bumpers, fenders, hood, and lights have all been restyled. New colors and wheel designs are also in the cards, but don’t expect a radical visual change, really.
Instead, the headline talking points are a lineup of more powerful engines, updated cabin tech, and new suspension hardware. All that will be revealed when the 2024 Cayenne debuts in April, but for now, here’s what I learned after taking Porsche’s prototypes for a spin.
More power across the board
None of the Cayenne’s engines are new, but they all have more power. The base model’s turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 has 349 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque – increases of 14 and 37, respectively – and all Cayennes continue to use the eight-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive. Despite being an entry-level engine, the 3.0-liter V6 is a peach, with plenty of power for your typical suburban daily driving.
The best news is that the Cayenne S loses its old twin-turbo 2.9-liter V6 in favor of a twin-turbo 4.0-liter V8. Powerful as it was, the 2.9-liter engine seriously lacked character, so the wallop and growl of the V8 is sure to cure those blues. This V8 is essentially a detuned version of the 4.0-liter engine used elsewhere in the Cayenne range, producing 468 hp and 442 lb-ft in the S. But again, a V8 is a lot more entertaining. The Cayenne S is better for it.
This is immediately noticeable after a quick run through the canyons outside of Malibu, California. The Cayenne S absolutely rocks, with better low-end thrust and a bellowing soundtrack to match. I wonder how this will affect the inevitable V8-powered Cayenne GTS, but I guess we’ll cross that bridge when we get there. As it stands, the S is dope, and I can’t really see the need or desire for more.
Speaking of more – like, more – Porsche will continue to offer the Cayenne in the guise of the Ultra Cool Turbo GT. Unlike every other Cayenne, which will be available in both traditional SUV and swoopy-roof coupe body styles, the Turbo GT will use only the latter. It gets a small power boost as well, now making a healthy 651 hp – up from 631 – plus a carryover 627 lb-ft.
The Turbo GT isn’t just about power, though. With its reworked suspension (more on that in a moment), the top-shelf Cayenne truly feels like a sports car, with quick reflexes, a whole crap-ton of grip, and a sense of urgency you’ll find many. It will not be found in people. Other midsize performance SUVs.
Hybrid options with more electric driving range
Hybrids will be a big part of the 2024 Cayenne lineup. These plug-in models will benefit from a larger battery pack with a capacity of 25.9 kWh – up from 17.9 – which will increase electric driving range. How much, exactly? It’s still TBD. But considering the 17 miles of EPA-estimated EV range the current Cayenne E-Hybrid has, it should at least move that figure into the mid-20s. And because it will use an 11-kW onboard charger instead of the currently optional 7.2-kW setup, the Cayenne can charge its battery faster than before.
Total system output for the 2024 Cayenne E-Hybrid — which combines a large battery with a 3.0-liter turbo V6 gas engine — is 463 hp and 479 lb-ft. Interestingly, while that’s an 8-hp increase, torque is actually down by 37 lb-ft. No matter, instant electric torque off the line makes the Cayenne E-Hybrid absolutely quick, and transitions between fully electric and hybrid driving are seamless. Porsche says it worked to improve smoothness when switching between regenerative and mechanical brakes, but it’s still not quite there. Maybe some fine-tuning before showtime will fix it.
Four Cayenne E-Hybrid models will be offered globally, including a China-only version with a less powerful 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4 engine. The two additional PHEVs we’ll get in the States are mid-range hybrids — think Cayenne S territory, as well as something higher-end. For that last one, expect something like the latest version of the insane Cayenne Turbo S E-Hybrid, which currently makes a ridiculous (and amazing) 670 hp.
The new suspension is a good thing.
From the base Cayenne to the bonkers Turbo GT, Porsche’s SUV is great to drive. And while updated powertrains play a big part, more important is the chassis, which gets a complete rework for 2024.
The new hardware consists of two-chamber air suspension and two-valve dampers, replacing the old three-chamber air and one-valve damper design. The main difference you might notice is a wider spectrum of firmness, ranging from ultra-plush to super-stiff. It also allows for a clearer separation between the Cayenne’s drive modes. Comfort is more comfortable while Sport Plus is… more than sporty.
From the base Cayenne to the bonkers Turbo GT, Porsche’s SUV is great to drive.
Of course, this is an optional suspension. Standard kit adds steel springs with Porsche’s active suspension management tech, and while not as sophisticated as the two-and-two Air setup, I don’t see the majority of Red Pepper buyers caring that much. I have been Even on its base chassis, this SUV likes to bounce into a corner, with communicative and responsive steering channeling those sharp reflexes. Torque vectoring tech and rear axle steering are also available for quick maneuvers.
Familiar tech is good tech.
If you’ve been in a Taycan EV, the interior of the 2024 Cayenne will look very familiar. Porsche won’t let me take a photo of the SUV’s cabin – something to think about, right? But I promise Tycon’s influence is strong.
In front of the driver, there’s a curved 12.6-inch digital gauge cluster that’s binnacle-free, so it looks recessed into the dashboard. This is the biggest change to the Cayenne’s interior, and with no solid housing around the screen, forward visibility is greatly improved.
In the center of the dash, there’s 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 features and controls. In addition, the 2024 Cayenne has a digital climate control panel on the center console – again, like the Taycan – in addition to a large engine stop/start button to the left of the steering wheel.
Coming this spring.
Final details like pricing and fuel economy estimates won’t be available for a few more months. But I don’t expect the 2024 Cayenne to command significantly more than the current SUV, which starts at $73,650 (including $1,450 destination charge). Apart from the base, S, E-Hybrid, and Turbo GT variants tested here, expect a whole mess of other Cayennes to launch in due course.
From the engines to the chassis to the infotainment tech, all the updates to the 2024 Can make the already awesome SUV even better. When the wraps come off the production car in April, I have no doubt that the new Cayenne will be just as awesome as before.