There are times when it’s extremely easy to write a review. I think those times usually occur when a model is brand new or when it has something overly good or bad about it. The vehicles that elicit a strong emotional reaction can go either way; the words can flow effortlessly or get stuck for days and days, wrapped up in the visceral experience the drive evoked (read: Audi R8 V10 Plus). And then there are the times when it’s like pulling teeth simply because the car is just… well, it just is.
So, where does the Porsche Cayenne S fall in the grand spectrum of vehicle review write-up ease? To put things into perspective: I’ve been staring at a blank document with the words “2015 Porsche Cayenne S Review” for a few days now. I wish I could say it’s because the Cayenne S stirs up such deep, soul-wrenching emotions; truth be told it’s more because it’s just too… right.
Maybe it’s just me. Maybe it’s a by-product of my line of work, of what I do on a daily basis, but the 2015 Porsche Cayenne S was pleasantly mundane. It wasn’t overly exotic or fancy. It wasn’t hugely impressive, but it wasn’t a letdown either. It just… was. And that’s precisely why this review has been so difficult to write. I could very well get away with simply writing: “The 2015 Porsche Cayenne S just is.” Trust me, I tried.
Let me explain further: While the 2015 Porsche Cayenne S features a new 3.6L twin-turbo V6 mill that produces 20 more horsepower than the previous model, the 420 ponies seem to be just right. Not too much, nor too little. And the 406 lb-ft of torque pushes you back gently in your seat; but is neither extreme nor lazy. The Cayenne S strikes a wonderful balance in the Cayenne lineup. It offers up just enough power to feel like you’re driving a higher performance version without being balls-out insane (a la GTS and Turbo S), and without the ball-reducing price tag, too.
Mated to an 8-speed Tiptronic S transmission, the 2015 Cayenne S is smooth and well-behaved in all situations. Even when pushed hard, the Porker takes it all in stride, selecting the ideal gear (unless you want to shift yourself in which case the metal steering-column-mounted paddles await your input), making sure you’re in the optimal power zone at all times. The 0-100km/hr jump can be made in 5.5 seconds in the Cayenne S. Again, not the fastest, but just right.
A well-balanced look
I’ve always been a fan of the Cayenne’s exterior look. There was such backlash when it first appeared, but I think Porsche did a fantastic job in keeping with the family “look” and translating it onto an SUV platform. And the brand new Macan only solidifies that harmony. Just last year, the Cayenne was given minor plastic surgery with a slight facelift that streamlined the front end and made the rear even more taught -- all good things that help the Cayenne further fit in with its 911 brethren.
Inside, the standard Porsche experience is had. The button-filled centre stack is far less intimidating than it is practical, and oh-so easy to navigate and get used to. And, oh, that 918 Spyder steering wheel! I love that Porsche let that beautifully designed and engineered piece trickle down its lineup. It’s comfortable to hold, buttons are perfectly placed, and it’s the ideal size: Just right.
The seats offer up plenty of comfort and space for those up front and in the rear. And there’s so much open space and light in the 2015 Porsche Cayenne S, thanks in no small part to the ginormous moonroof that stretches right over the rear bench. A baby seat install was easy-peasy, and my son had plenty of room back there.
So, really, there’s nothing gloriously amazing about the 2015 Porsche Cayenne S, but there’s also nothing glaringly bad. It doesn’t scald your tongue with something horrid, nor does it leave a bad taste in your mouth. It’s the ideal blend of performance, comfort, style, and exclusivity. And sitting at a base price of $84,500 it really is “just right” in terms of the lineup. Sure, you could spring for the Turbo S and have ALL THE POWA (please read in Clarkson voice), but then you’d have to dish out close to $200k. Yikes.
For a fraction of that, you get the ideal blend of Cayenne-ness that’s sure to keep you satisfied and feeling just right for quite some time.