2018 Porsche Cayenne revealed

THE third generation of the Porsche Cayenne SUV has become even more like a jacked-up, roomy 911, revealing an evolutionary design makeover but the promise of even sharper dynamics.

The heavily Macan-influenced Cayenne, due on sale in Australia midway through next year, will feature a newly developed eight-speed dual-clutch gearbox, and for the first time introduce staggered tyre sizes, electronic suspension, trick new brakes and all-wheel steering wrapped inside a new-look aluminium skin that doesn’t differ too much from the old one.

The range will initially feature two “newly developed” six-cylinder engines: a 3.0-litre turbo in the entry Cayenne developing 250kW, up 29kW over the model it repalces, and the Cayenne S with a 2.9-litre twin-turbo V6 -- a variation of the one that will power the new Audi RS4 -- producing 324kW/500Nm, a 15kW gain over its predecessor, and sprint from 0-100km/h in 6.0 seconds with a top speed of 265 km/h. Porsche says the version of the Cayenne S equipped with the optional Sport Chrono Package will hit 0-100km/h in 4.9 sec. Without it, that drops to 5.2sec.

2018 Porsche Cayenne SEach version of the Cayenne will come equipped with active all-wheel drive, an new version of the Porsche 4D Dynamic Chassis Control (electronic stabiliser system) that swaps out the old hydraulic system for a new 48-volt electrical one, three-chamber air suspension, and much more than just a token nod to off-road ability. The driver can select from four driving modes – Normal, Sport, Sport Plus and a customisable setting – via a dial on the steering wheel that features the same Sport Response mode that instantly taps the SUV’s maximum potential.

A severe weight loss program, including an all-aluminium panel body and alloy parts for the floorpan, front section and suspension system, as well as a lithium-ion battery, help to shed 65kg compared with the old model.

The move to the Cayenne’s lighter chassis has introduced a front axle featuring a separated link design and a multilink rear axle. The electric rear-axle steering system, which Porsche says was “tried and tested both in the 911 and the Panamera”, will help with cornering agility around and stability when changing lanes at high speeds. The reduced turning circle also makes everyday handling easier, it said. Mixed tyres – ranging from standard 19-inch to optional 21s – adopt a sports car attribute by staggering wheel sizes to also help improve dynamic ability while cornering.

While the new Cayenne sits on the same 2895mm wheelbase as the model it replaces, the overall length has grown 63mm to 4918mm. This has had an impact on interior space, with the boot alone growing in volume by 100L to 770L over the old Cayenne.

2018 Porsche Cayenne S interior revealedThe Cayenne’s newly developed eight-speed Tiptronic S gearbox features “shorter response times and sportier ratios in the lower gears” which help with both on-road performance and off-road capability. “At the other end of the expanded spread between comfort and sportiness, the overdrive eighth gear ensures optimised fuel consumption and relaxed highway driving,” Porsche said.

As an option, Porsche has developed a tungsten-carbide coating for its cast-iron disc brakes. Buyers who opt for the Porsche Surface Coated Brake system will stand out from the crowd with white calipers wrapping around discs that porsche says will develop a unique gloss after bedding in.

Inside, the Cayenne will gain the multimedia system developed for the Porsche Panamera, including a 12.3-inch touchscreen. An analogue tacho remains in front of the driver, but to either side are 7.0-inch screens that display all other relevant driving data, as well as additional information selected using the multi-function steering wheel.

The Cayenne also adds a thermal imaging camera that will spot animals – and wayward pedestrians – in the dark.

The third-gen Porsche Cayenne is available to order now in Europe. Porsche Australia says pricing and specification for the Cayenne and Cayenne S have not yet been finalised, but should be announced in early in 2018. Australian deliveries will start from mid 2018.

Sign up here to receive the latest round-up of Wheels news, reviews and video highlights straight to your inbox each week.