Lee Sibley By Lee Sibley 2 weeks ago

2024 Porsche Cayenne S V8 review

9WERKS tests the new V8-engined Cayenne S both off and on road… is it the most capable Porsche in the lineup?

Kielder Forest, Northumberland. Among the trees (there’s plenty of them) and mud (there’s plenty of that too), a seven-strong lineup of new Cayennes are taking on the terrain, far away from any discernible asphalt.

We’ve already squelched our way through treacle-like mire, and negotiated the cars over craggy rocks, making use of the Cayenne’s highly polished Off-Road drive mode, and adaptive ride height. Currently, we’re making swift progress over a knobbly gravel track, though if you closed your eyes, you could genuinely be convinced you’re riding on yet another terribly-bumpy and completely knackered stretch of British blacktop. We’re serious: it is so remarkable, the way this Cayenne irons out the imperfections underneath us. 

We’re long-time fans of the Cayenne here at 9WERKS. Your humble author used to run a face-lifted Gen1 (or ‘E1’ to those not in the know) and we previously put a third-generation e-hybrid Cayenne to the test with a pan-European road trip from the UK to the Porsche Museum in Stuttgart. So, we’re well aware how brilliantly versatile these things can be, but how does the fourth-generation Cayenne move the game on? 

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Porsche GB has a couple of models available for us to test, namely the Cayenne e-hybrid, which now boasts up to 45 miles of pure electric range (doubling that of its predecessor) and the fully ICE’d Cayenne S. As evangelists of the internal combustion engine – and with full support of Porsche’s innovative eFuels venture – it’s the petrol-engined Cayenne S we’re specifically interested in today.

There’s big news here: gone is the twin-turbocharged V6 lump as found in the old Cayenne S, replaced by a four-litre V8 engine that’s once again boosted by two turbochargers. Power is a mighty 475PS, with 600Nm maximum torque – that’s 35PS and 50Nm up on its V6 predecessor. 

It sounds utterly delightful too, emitting a fruity bark on start-up, developing into a bassy growl under acceleration. It’s not a fake sound plumbed into the cabin, either: the V8 Cayenne S sounds just as fantastic from outside, without delving into the realms of anything which might upset your neighbours. Ideal for Porsche customers who may enjoy some added flair to their daily driving, we can thank the optional PSE (Porsche Sports Exhaust) for the V8 Cayenne’s beautiful soundtrack, notifiable by those black tailpipes complementing the gorgeous Montego blue hue adorning our press car. 

Out on the public road, we soon find out the Cayenne’s deliverance of its 475PS is silky smooth, offering a refined yet purposeful injection of power, should you wish to get a wriggle on. 

While it’s certainly no 911, the Cayenne’s chassis is impressively robust, equipped here with adaptive air suspension as an option. The entire range now boasts PASM, with two-valve damping technology (for separate rebound and compression), fine-tuning the S to best deal with the many nuances characterising our roads.

We’re most impressed by the optional rear-axle-steering system (RAS), allowing the Cayenne to pivot at pace on a sixpence, giving it the sort of dexterity we’d normally associate with one of Porsche’s two-door offerings. Twinned with the firmer chassis and sharper throttle response delivered in Sport mode, the Cayenne becomes a genuinely fun and engaging driving tool, in a completely different way to what we’d experienced not 30 minutes ago when deep into the dirt tracks of Kielder forest.

The Cayenne has long been Porsche’s brilliant one-car-does-all machine. Here, the bandwidth has been increased ever further, offering more refinement to way the way the Cayenne drives both on and off road.

Photos by Dan Bathie