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2021 Porsche Cayenne Performance


MSRP
$67,500
U.S. News Best Price Program

2021 Porsche Cayenne Performance Review

Scorecard

Performance: 9.5

The 2021 Porsche Cayenne is one of the top performers in the class. It handles more like a sports car than an SUV, and even its base engine delivers more than enough power for most driving situations.

  • "Porsche’s Cayenne for 2021 may be an SUV, but its lower center-of-gravity engine and lightweight aluminum construction make it ride and handle like a lithe sports car. Acceleration and passing power are never in short supply." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "Of course, power is pointless if it isn't properly harnessed, and the Cayenne's innate athleticism and sublime handling traits ensure it lives up to the German brand's illustrious history." -- Car and Driver
  • "Slinging the Turbo from apex to apex on serpentine Austrian roads, submitting to the hammering violence of its V-8, it was easy to forget that this was an SUV by any definition. … This SUV's class-topping agility, steering and braking are as compelling as any straight-line feats." -- Automobile Magazine (2020)

Engine Options, Horsepower, and Acceleration

  • Base engine: turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 with 335 horsepower and 332 pound-feet of torque
  • Available engines:
    • twin-turbo 2.9-liter V6 with 434 horsepower and 405 pound-feet of torque (S)
    • twin-turbo 4.0-liter V8 with 453 horsepower and 457 pound-feet of torque (GTS)
    • twin-turbo 4.0-liter V8 with 541 horsepower and 567 pound-feet of torque (Turbo)
  • Drivetrain: all-wheel drive
  • Transmission: eight-speed automatic

Every engine in the Cayenne is a powerhouse. Porsche estimates that the base Cayenne takes just under six seconds to go from zero to 60 mph. The twin-turbo V6 in the Cayenne S should satisfy all but the most performance-oriented shoppers. The S and GTS models make that zero-to-60 sprint in 4.9 and 4.5 seconds, respectively, and the top Turbo model does it in as little as 3.9 seconds.

  • "The eight-speed automatic transmission is thoroughly competent, rattling off shifts so precise I thought it was a dual-clutch, and it holds gears at appropriately high revs when placed into one of the sportier modes, although I prefer to use the shift paddles for a bit more control." -- CNET
  • "The new-for-2021 GTS model gets a twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V8 (replacing its predecessor’s turbocharged V6) that delivers abundant acceleration through 6-digit speeds with a vocal exhaust note. Fitted with a suite of performance upgrades, it delivers exhilarating sports car performance in the chassis of a roomy crossover SUV." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "The … standard 3.0-liter V6 moves the base model without complaint. It goes about its business in a workaday manner, never feeling overstressed nor especially sporty. The S model's twin-turbo 2.9-liter V6 … has noticeably more punch when you give it the spurs. This zestier engine better matches the chassis. No such ambiguity exists with the Turbo. With prodigious power and an exhaust note that announces attitude, the Turbo means business. There's effortless thrust available at all revs." -- Edmunds (2020)

MPG Estimates

The EPA has not evaluated the 2021 Cayenne as of this writing. The similar 2020 base Cayenne gets typical figures for the class. We do not yet have ratings for the GTS trim.

  • Cayenne: 19/23 mpg city/highway
  • Cayenne S: 18/22 mpg
  • Turbo: 15/19 mpg

Handling and Braking

The Cayenne is a blast to drive. Well-weighted steering, strong brakes, and a stiff suspension all help turn this SUV into a corner carver. At the same time, the ride is generally comfortable, although the coupe rides a bit more firmly because of its larger wheels. All-wheel drive is standard.

  • "The Cayenne is all about performance, but the Porsche crossover isn’t alone in this category. Companies such as Audi, BMW, Mercedes, Jaguar, and Land Rover offer performance-tuned crossovers that are very competent. What sets the Cayenne apart is its focused engineering and tuning – Porsche has a long history of racing and that winning DNA is found in all the Cayenne models. Porsche Cayenne is truly in a league of its own." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "And the lowered, more stiffly tuned suspension provides a supple ride that’s actually comfortable." -- Autoweek
  • "… [The Cayenne] can keep up with supercars on winding roads. Punch the throttle mid-way through a hairpin turn and the Cayenne won't flinch, the rear end rotating around with immediacy before the car shoots forward down the next straightaway. A big SUV it might be, but the Cayenne is still a formidable driver's car. … The one caveat is that the 22-inch wheels, which are unique to the Coupe, hamper the ride quality somewhat." -- CNET (2020)
U.S. News Best Price Program

2021 Porsche Cayenne

MSRP: $67,500 - $166,200

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