Review: Why the Porsche Cayenne S is one of the best SUVs in SA

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There's a reason why Porsche won the SA Car of the Year titles consecutively a couple years ago, and it wasn't because jury members were paid to vote for its vehicles. Those cars won because all three previous winners were the best cars in its segments.

Even at the 2019 event, the Cayenne S had stellar performances on all aspects of the competition. It was exhilarating on the high-speed track, and it took to it as if it was born there, even for its size and weight, it felt like a very enthusiastic sports car.

And then, since it's a proper 4x4, it was the star pupil on the off-roading track. It floated through thick, soft, climbed inclines with ease, and then came down again at almost-90 degree angles. Not to mention it was raining down in buckets, so surfaces were super slippery. None of it mattered. The Cayenne S just gobbled up any challenge thrown at it and excelled at any task, even if it seemed daunting at the time. The car is a mechanical goddess.

It might be a big and burly SUV, but it most certainly is still a 'genuine sports car' at heart.

GALLERY: The best Porsche Cayenne S yet in 19 stunning photographs

porsche cayenne s
                                                         Image: Warren Wilson

The Cayenne S also isn't the kind of car most people would take off-roading, but its capabilities are astounding, and makes you feel absolutely safe behind the wheel.

Despite all of that, Porsche has been building faultless cars since the very first vehicles Ferry Porsche had created, and it's truly difficult to find something wrong with any of its products.

The Cayenne S is an all-rounder: It's luxurious without being obnoxious, an absolute pleasure to drive, and a good-looking vehicle. 

porsche cayenne s
                                                                    Image: Warren Wilson

The Cayenne S is powered by a 2.9-litre bi-turbo V6 engine and makes 324kW and 550Nm. It's mated to a delectable 8-speed tiptronic transmission.

It goes from zero to 100km/h in 5.2 seconds and 4.9-seconds with the Sport Chrono Package, and has a claimed top speed of 265km/h. 

It's claimed, combined fuel consumption is claimed at only 9.4 - 9.2-litres/100km is impressive for a car this size, and for the power figures it kicks out. I have driven smaller SUVs with a much higher consumption rate, so this is impressive. With that said, those figures are only attainable under the most conservative driving style because who wouldn't want to have their right foot planted in the corner on an open road when you're behind the wheel of this majestic beast? 

Inside, the Cayenne is still above the bar when it comes to its premium finishes. Everything is now digital, from the instrument cluster, to the centre console around the gear lever.

porsche cayenne s

                                                            Image: Warren Wilson

The Porsche Advanced Cockpit control concept is just a boon. The centre console with Direct Touch Control features an interface with a 'glass look' featuring touch-sensitive buttons for the most important functions like suspension, steering, and the exhaust systems, along with access to the compact gear selector.

The Porsche Communication Management (PCM) is displayed via a full-HD 12" touchscreen display with online navigation. The instrument cluster sits behind the multifunction Sports steering wheel: on the right and left of the typical Porsche analogue rev counter, which still has a classic look with a needle, there are two high-resolution displays which show virtual instruments and maps.

porsche cayenne s instrument cluster
                                                                           Image: Warren Wilson

Pricing starts from R1 319 000 for the Cayenne S with a 3-year DrivePlan or from R1 369 000 with a 5-year DrivePlan.
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