Best Performance SUV: Porsche Cayenne Turbo S

Some might not think much of the performance aspect when considering an SUV, but there are many options available that deliver awe-inspiring power. This is prevalent in the luxury segment, where the additions of models like the Jaguar F-Pace have made this market flush with excellent choices.

However, there is one model we found that performs better than the rest. The Porsche Cayenne Turbo S generates the exhilarating power you would normally find on top-end sports cars. For this reason, it earned our choice as the best performing SUV available. Let’s take a closer look at all the amazing things this SUV can achieve.

Performance Equipment

The true measure of any performance vehicle is its engine. The Porsche Cayenne Turbo S comes equipped with the 4.8-liter twin-turbo V8 engine. This engine offers direct fuel injection, twin-turbo with charge air cooling and thermal management to generate pulse-racing performance indicative of sports cars.

Aiding its performance is its eight-speed Tiptronic S transmission. This transmission is versatile in that it adapts to your driving style to deliver the responsive performance you’ll crave. Thanks to its wide ratio spread you’ll receive better fuel efficiency—14 city mpg and 21 highway mpg. In addition, the transmission includes new capabilities such as auto start/stop function, which shuts off the engine when the SUV idles or approaches traffic lights.

Another great way the Porsche Cayenne Turbo S saves energy is with its Coasting feature. With Coasting, the engine decouples from the transmission and slows the SUV to idled speed, saving it energy. This is one more clever innovation that helps the SUV achieve better efficiency.


Agile Handling

Part of what makes this SUV such a captivating drive is its agile handling thanks in large part to the Porsche Traction Management System. This all-wheel drive system consists of many different components such as automatic brake differential, anti-slip regulation and an electronically variable, map-controlled multi-plate clutch.

The clutch works by monitoring road conditions continually, then in the case of cornering, the clutch distributes the necessary engine torque to the front wheels. This illustration shows the clutch delivers the perfect distribution of torque at all times to give you unrivaled handling.

Meanwhile, the steel spring suspension serves to deliver the smooth handling you want no matter the road surfaces. With its lightweight construction, you’ll receive better fuel efficiency, enhanced driving comfort and a smooth as ice handling.

Another component that makes the Porsche Cayenne S such a desirable model is the Porsche Active Suspension Management system. This works by using its electronic damping control system to read the damping force on each of the SUV’s wheels, accounting for driving style and road conditions as well. You also have the option to customize your drive by selecting from three modes on the center console including Comfort, SPORT or SPORT PLUS. Once you select your driving mode, the control unit adjusts the damping force on each wheel to deliver your preference.

To mimic the feel of driving a sports car, Porsche equipped its Cayenne Turbo S with the Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control. This is an anti-roll system which achieves fluid movement when cornering by reducing lateral body movement. It also possesses the capability to minimize sway on uneven road surfaces.

Performance Metrics

For performance enthusiasts, the Porsche Cayenne Turbo S doesn’t disappoint. As noted above, it comes equipped with a more than capable V8 engine. This engine delivers the following stats:

  • 520-horsepower at 6,000 rpm
  • Achieves a maximum torque of 553 lb-ft between 2,250 and 4,000 rpm
  • Top track speed of 173 miles per hour

Then there’s the acceleration aspect of the SUV, which is mind boggling. The engine can propel the SUV from 0 to 60 mph in just 4.2 seconds. With the Sport Chrono, this trims the time to a jaw-dropping 4.1 seconds. If you have a need for speed, this SUV is sure to feed that need in spades.


Off-Road Capabilities

The Porsche Cayenne Turbo S not only possesses the agile handling and sheer power to transform the mundane drives into the amazing, it can also tackle your off-road challenges with ease. Porsche equipped this SUV with three off-road modes to handle your varied needs.

Off-road Mode 1 includes adapted ABS to achieve the best traction. This mode also gives you the ability to raise the air suspension from High Level I to High Level II if you need to increase your approach/departure angle or wading depth.

Meanwhile, with Off-road Mode 2, you receive better handling and traction through the locked multi-plate clutch. This gives you the controlled handling you need to navigate difficult terrains. Off-road Mode 3 combines the electronically controlled variable rear differential with the all-wheel drive system to achieve superior handling in the most difficult environments. Here is a closer look at the off-road stats the Porsche Cayenne Turbo S possesses:

  • Approach angle/Departure angle with the steel suspension: 26.4 degrees/23.6 degrees
  • Maximum wading depth: 21.85 inches
  • Maximum ground clearance: 10.75 inches
  • Ramp break-over level with the steel suspension: 20 degrees


The Porsche Cayenne Turbo S delivers better horsepower than some of its competition like the Maserati Levante (345-horsepower) the Volvo XC90 T8 Hybrid AWD (400-horsepower) and the Jaguar F-Pace (340-horsepower). It’s important to note there are others in its class that generates more horsepower—the BMW X6 M AWD delivers 567-horsepower. Still, the all-around performance offered by the Porsche Cayenne Turbo S gives it an edge on its immediate peers.


Our Take

The Porsche Cayenne Turbo S possesses the agile handling and brisk acceleration normally found on high-end sports cars. Not only will it feed your need for exhilarating speed, it’s more than capable of tackling your off-road challenges. The SUV’s versatility, performance engineering, and exceptional speed place it in a class of its own.


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