Porsche Cayenne VS Audi SQ5
- Looks cool
- Beautifully engineered
- Fast yet comfy
- Modest warranty
- Upper model $$$
- Great chassis
- Loaded with tech
- Petrol engine is smooth and fast
- Could look a bit more exciting
- Now knocking on $100k
- Warranty package starting to look short
It was only a matter of time. More than a decade ago BMW kicked off the German luxury SUV coupe 'thing' with the X6, followed by the smaller X4.
Mercedes-Benz returned serve with its GLE and GLC Coupes, and more recently Audi has joined the party with the Q8. Now the domino effect has reached Porsche, with the Australian introduction of this car – the Cayenne Coupe.
Question is, does its carefully sculpted form compromise its intended SUV function? Happily, Porsche invited us to the local launch drive program, so we can find out.
|Engine Type||4.0L turbo|
|Fuel Type||Premium Unleaded Petrol|
Audi's SQ5 is one of those marvellous cars that kind of came out of nowhere and instantly defined a genre. Technically, it probably shouldn't have existed. And for a company that is pretty much straight down the line, the decision to launch it as a diesel seemed extra odd. Not that we minded, of course.
The diesel engine was a masterstroke; André the Giant brawny, and with some clever engineering to make it sound like it actually wasn't an oil-burner. But it wasn't just a straight-line screamer - the SQ5 could corner, and it was tremendous fun while doing so.
So this second-generation car had a lot to live up to. But then - heresy of heresies - we found out that, for the moment at least, the SQ5 would be coming with a petrol engine. Without that Herculean torque figure, it's also slightly slower to the 100km/h benchmark.
So has Audi ended our love affair (by that I mean the one between the SQ5 and me)?
|Engine Type||3.0L turbo|
|Fuel Type||Premium Unleaded Petrol|
The Cayenne Coupe is a logical extension of Porsche's determined push into the world of SUVs, yet logic isn't the key driver here.
Not cheap at any level, it's an emotional choice that's all about the optics. A swoopy, beautifully proportioned beast that'll poke your adrenal gland as effectively as it'll carry your kids and groceries.
Our pick is the twin-turbo V6 S. Massive performance and plenty of fruit without the top-shelf price tag.
It's no hot hatch, but it's fast, stylish and plenty enough fun to be considered the ultimate family all-rounder. Unless your kids are freakishly tall or you need to regularly carry wardrobes, it's a great family wagon that can easily deal with the day-to-day stuff, with a comfortable ride and plenty of space.
Some families, like mine, like some genuine performance with their practicality, and the SQ5 is all the car you'll ever need. It may not be the diesel, it may not have that lovely gravelly silliness, but it still looks and feels great, and is full of some of the most advanced tech in a fast SUV today.
Most important, though, it's just as much fun as it ever was.
Is the SQ5 still on your list without the diesel? Or are fast SUVs the work of the devil?
Porsche describes the Cayenne Coupe as a "more progressive, athletic and emotional" version of the third-generation Cayenne, and it's hard to disagree with that assertion.
The Cayenne Coupe's nose and front doors are unchanged from its more upright sibling, but the car is in fact fractionally longer, lower and wider (at the rear). LED headlights are standard across the board with the Porsche Dynamic Light System fitted to all but the entry-level car. That brings swivelling main beams and static cornering lights.
The windscreen angle is shallower and the front roof edge has been lowered 20mm. And the steeper roofline falls gently to the rear, and you start to see the impact of an extra 18mm of width back there.
Other tweaks include repositioning of the rear numberplate into the bumper and an adaptive rear spoiler which extends by 135mm at speeds of 90km/h and above.
The cabin will be familiar to current Cayenne owners, the front section essentially unchanged with a broad centre console and configurable media and instrument displays. The biggest changes inside are in the back.
Standard fit is effectively a two-seat rear, although the 'comfort' three-seater rear bench from the Cayenne is available as a no-cost option.
A huge panoramic fixed glass roof is standard but if you want to go full racer spec a carbon turret is optional.
The new Q5 is the usual studied restraint from Ingolstadt. No, it's not a striking piece of design, and some find it hard to tell the new car apart from the old one. Move up to the SQ5 and again it's a bit of a sleeper. The 21-inch wheels look brilliant, and the deeper bumpers and skirts, along with the lower ride height, add a bit of aggression, too.
Inside, the Nappa leather is very nice, especially with the detailed stitching and diamond quilting. There's more space in here than there was before, so while still cosy it doesn't feel tight. As with the rest of the Audi range, the new interior lifts the best bits of the A4, which thankfully did not include the weird pin-stripe detail on the console trim. It has gone the only way it should - out.
At just under 5.0m long, a little under 2.2m wide and close to 1.7m tall the Cayenne Coupe is a sizeable machine, and those in the front, divided by that wide, tapered centre console, are provided with plenty of space.
In terms of storage, there are two cupholders in that console as well as a small oddments tray, a lidded armrest/storage box between the seats, a decent glove box, and big bins in the doors with room for large bottles.
There are two 12-volt outlets, but be prepared if you're a USB-A user (Luddite?), there are two outlets in that centre storage box, and they're both USB-C.
Rear passengers sit 30mm lower than in the standard Cayenne and sitting behind the driver's seat set for my 183cm height, I enjoyed plenty of head and legroom. So here, the coupe roofline factor, isn't much of a factor at all. And the backrest angle is adjustable, which is a nice touch.
There are two cupholders in the fold down centre armrest, map pockets on the back of the front seats as well as individual ventilation outlets and two more USB (C) jacks.
The boot is where the rubber hits the road in terms of practicality, and despite the sloping rear end boot capacity is still generous in the first three models – 625 litres with the rear seat upright, for the Coupe and S Coupe, expanding to more than 1540 litres with the 40/20/40 split-folding backrest lowered.
The Turbo shrinks slightly to 600/1510L, and the addition of the Turbo S E-Hybrid's Lithium-Ion battery pack, electric motor and associated componentry means its cargo capacity is reduced by around 17 per cent to 500/1440L.
There are tie-down anchors at each corner of the floor, a 12-volt outlet, good lighting, and the spare is a collapsible space saver.
Maximum towing capacity for the non-hybrid models is 3.5 tonnes for a braked trailer (Turbo S E-Hybrid 3.0 tonnes) and 750kg unbraked. Porsche's 'Trailer Stability Management' system is standard.
As before, the SQ5 is comfortable but cosy. Front-seat passengers are, of course, perfectly fine, and rear-seat dwellers have reasonable head and leg room - our six-foot-two teenager was happy enough back there. Rear-seat passengers can also choose their own climate-control temperature.
Two cupholders are provided front and rear, for a total of four, and the doors each have pockets with bottle holders.
Based as it is on the Q5, boot space is up over the old model by 10 litres, meaning between 550 and 610 litres when the rear seats are in place, and then 1550 litres with the seats folded. Like its cousin the Tiguan, the rear seats slide forward and back.
Price and features
The Cayenne Coupe launches with four models with prices ranging from close to $130,000 to just over $290,000, before on-road costs, a slight price premium over the existing Cayenne line-up. Key competitors are the usual German suspects in the shape of the Audi A8, BMW X6 and Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupe.
Entry point is the Cayenne Coupe at $128,000, followed by the S at $166,200, then the Turbo steps up to $253,600, with the flagship Turbo S E-Hybrid weighing in at $292,700.
Above and beyond the safety tech covered separately in the Safety section, standard features on the Cayenne Coupe include: the Sport Chrono system, 20-inch alloy rims, 'Porsche Active Aerodynamics' (with adaptive rear spoiler), LED headlights, 'four-point' daytime running lights and tail-lights, auto rain-sensing wipers, dual-zone climate control, panoramic roof, privacy glass, eight-way electrically adjustable sports front seats with driver memory package (14-way 'Comfort' front seats are a no-cost option), partial leather interior, multi-function sports steering wheel with manual shift paddles, gloss black interior elements, stainless steel sill guards, 10-speaker hi-fi audio (with digital radio), auto tailgate, cruise control, 12.0-inch touchscreen display managing navigation, audio and car systems, plus twin scrollable digital screens in the instrument display.
The S adds: air suspension, 21-inch alloy rims, metallic paint, twin dual-tube tailpipes, the 'Porsche Dynamic Light System', front seat heating, stainless steel pedal covers, and Bose 14-speaker/710W Surround Sound audio.
On top of that the Turbo lands: 'Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control', 22-inch wheels, the rear apron in the exterior colour, ambient lighting, four-zone climate control, 18-way electric 'Adaptive Sports' front seats with memory package, seat heating (front and rear), front seat ventilation, 'Comfort Access', a 'smooth-finish' leather interior, steering wheel heating, interior trim package in brushed aluminium, and floor mats.
Then, aside from ridiculous performance, the Turbo S E-Hybrid tips in with: 'Porsche Torque Vectoring Plus', recuperative braking, 22-inch 'RS Spyder' design wheels (including wheel arch extensions in the exterior colour), and 'Parking pre-climatisation'.
One factoid I really like telling people is that the SQ5 was, for quite some time, the biggest-selling single Q5 model in the country, despite costing upwards of $90,000 on the road.
This new car weighs in at $99,611. Standard are 21-inch alloys, three-zone climate control, a 10-speaker stereo, ambient interior lighting, a comprehensive safety package, reversing camera, around-view cameras, front and rear parking sensors, auto park, keyless entry and start, nappa leather interior, active cruise control, electric heated front seats, sat nav, auto LED headlights, auto wipers, an electric (foot-wavey) tailgate, a wireless hotspot, Audi's 'Virtual Cockpit' digital dash and a space-saver spare.
The media system is Audi's MMI system, which is displayed on the 8.0-inch screen perched on the dash. Controlled by a rotary dial or a touchpad just in front of the dial, it's also got Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard. The sound is good and it's even better if you go for the $5600 'Technik package', which adds a 19-speaker Bang & Olufsen system, head-up display and the brilliant Matrix LED headlights, all of which we had on our test car. While $5600 isn't messing about, it's a fair bit of stuff, especially when you consider the Matrix LEDs alone cost half of that on some Audis.
Engine & trans
All Porsche Cayenne Coupe engines feature an all-alloy construction, and direct-injection, with the cylinders arranged in a vee - the Coupe and S featuring six, the Turbo and Turbo S E-Hybrid, eight. Outputs range from properly powerful to utterly outrageous
The Cayenne Coupe is powered by a 3.0-litre (single, twin-scroll) turbo V6 featuring 'VarioCam Plus' (variable valve timing and lift on the inlet side) to produce 250kW/450Nm.
The Big Kahuna Turbo S E-Hybrid precisely doubles the base car's peak numbers. Yep, 500kW (670hp!) and 900Nm.
Central location of the V8's twin-scroll counter-rotating turbos in the inner 'hot V' (between the cylinder banks) optimises packaging and improves throttle response by shortening shortens the length of the exhaust plumbing to the turbos and the distance compressed air travels back to the intake side of the engine.
Iron coating of the cylinder linings and a chrome nitrite finish on the piston rings is claimed to improve durability and reduce oil consumption by up to 50 per cent compared to Porsche's previous 4.8-litre naturally aspirated V8.
All models feature Porsche's eight-speed 'Tiptronic' 'Shift-by-Wire' auto transmission, with drive going to all four wheels via an active AWD system built around an electronically variable, map-controlled, multi-plate clutch.
The two-tonne-plus (tare) SQ5 streaks from0-100km/h in 5.4 seconds, with power reaching the road via Audi's Quattro system with a mechanical centre diff. Torque is generally apportioned 40/60 front to rear, but can be 85/15 either way when needed. The eight-speed ZF continues on and is, as ever, brilliant.
At this stage, Porsche is quoting combined cycle (urban, extra-urban) fuel economy figures in line with Euro 5 standards, ranging from 4.4L/100km for the Turbo S E-Hybrid, through 9.9L/100km for the 'base' V6, through 10.0L/100km for the S, to the thirstiest model, the Turbo, at 12.3L/100km.
CO2 emissions start at 100g/km (Turbo S E-Hybrid), rising to 225g/km (Coupe), through 229g/km (S), and finishing at 280g/km (Turbo).
Auto start-stop, with coasting function, is standard on the non-hybrid models, minimum fuel requirement is 95 RON premium unleaded, and you'll need 75 litres of it to fill the hybrid's tank, rising up to 90 litres for the other models.
Swapping through multiple models, with multiple drivers, on the media launch made it impossible to capture meaningful 'real world' figures, so we'll wait until a Cayenne Coupe hits the CarsGuide garage to record our own numbers.
And as engine outputs rise, 0-100km/h acceleration times drop from an impressively rapid 6.0sec for the entry Coupe, through 5.0sec for the S, to 3.9sec for the Turbo, and 3.8sec for the Turbo S Hybrid. The Hybrid's more than 300kg heavier than the Turbo, so only a tenth faster.
Even in the base Coupe thrust is solid, urgent in the S, and brutal in the Turbo. Although it's already on sale in dealerships, the Turbo S E-Hybrid was a no-show at the media launch, but we'll be driving and reviewing one on home soil soon.
Despite turbos sitting in the way of a pure exhaust flow, the accompanying engine note and exhaust rumble is satisfyingly tough. Push hard in the Turbo and the howl emanating from the rear envelops the entire car.
All models feature Porsche's eight-speed 'Tiptronic' 'Shift-by-Wire' auto transmission, and it's just about as good as a conventional torque-convertor unit gets. Smooth yet precise, and satisfyingly quick in manual mode.
All models are equipped with 'Porsche Active Suspension Management', better known as PASM, which allows for on-the-fly suspension tuning to a firmer setting, plus air suspension on the top three models. Suspension is aluminium multi-link front and rear.
The Cayenne Coupe rides on 20-inch alloy wheels, the S on 21s, while the Turbo and Turbo S E-Hybrid roll on 22s, and the ride comfort / handling balance is amazingly good.
The Sport Chrono package is also standard on all variants enabling adjustment of chassis, engine, and transmission response through 'Normal', 'Sport', 'Sport+' and 'Individual' settings.
Select Sport or Sport+, then soften the suspension off to the Comfort setting and you have a perfect open road combination. This is a superb touring car.
Despite a bonnet, tailgate, doors, side sections, roof and front wings fabricated in aluminium, kerb weights are pretty chunky. The Coupe and S weigh just above 2.0 tonnes, the Turbo is 2.2 and the Turbo S E-Hybrid tips the scales at 2.5 big ones. But all models feel planted and well balanced on a quick B-road run.
And then there's the little Sport Response button in the centre of the Sport Chrono mode dial on the steering wheel. It's essentially a short-cut to Sport+, which tightens up responses and allows the turbos to overboost for a short period. Hit it and you have a 'push-to-pass' pick up for up to 20 seconds.
Electromechanical 'Power Steering Plus' features on all models and it's flat-out brilliant. Accurate, with great road feel and spot-on (variable) weight.
And brakes range from big to enormous, with professional grade ventilated rotors all around and four-piston front calipers on the Coupe, six-piston units on the S, and no less than 10-piston aluminium monobloc monsters on the Turbo and Hybrid. They all work in a fuss-free, confidence-inspiring way.
We covered some smooth graded dirt roads on the launch drive and Porsche is confident in the Cayenne Coupe's ability in tougher off-road terrain.
Air suspension models can be switched between 'Normal', 'Gravel', 'Mud', 'Sand', and 'Rock' modes and for the hardcore adventurers maximum clearance (between the ground and water-sensitive parts) is 500mm for the Coupe, 530mm for the S and Turbo, dropping to just 280mm for the Turbo S E-Hybrid.
Approach angle for the Coupe is 25.2 degrees (27.5 for the other models), break over is 18.7 degrees (21.3), and departure angle is 22 degrees for the Coupe, 24.2 for the S and Turbo, then 24.4 degrees for the Turbo S E-Hybrid.
The old SQ5 wasn't perfect, by any stretch, but goodness gracious was it a barrel of laughs. No car as heavy or as high-riding as the SQ5 had any right to be so much fun, but somehow it was, without the compromise of a super-hard ride or a din from fat tyres.
The numbers are a bit of a compromise; weight is down by around 130kg, but you're also missing 200Nm compared to the old car. The colossal torque figure was a big part of that car's appeal, and I did miss it. However, once I'd got over that, I found something just as fun underneath.
As with the rest of the Q5 range, it's quieter on the cruise and the cabin is once again the best in the business, borrowing much from the A4. With adaptive dampers set in comfort mode, it's comfortable and compliant and road noise is kept to a minimum. I'm not a huge fan of the light steering in this mode, but it's set to be low stress rather than man-handled.
Step up into Dynamic and everything beefs up; the ride stiffens and the car actually drops to lower the centre of gravity. The exhaust opens up and starts popping and farting, too, while the steering weights up and the throttle drops any easygoing slack.
Throwing it down through the bends of some NSW Blue Mountains back roads, this car sparkles. It's tons of fun (literally), with the security of the of the Quattro drivetrain underneath. The exhaust isn't quite enough to make me want to wind the windows down on a cold morning, but it's amusing enough inside given the stereo plumps up the racket a bit.
Despite being down on torque, it still feels very strong in the mid-range. It doesn't quite have the organ-squishing punch of the diesel, but the smoother, more linear delivery feels more conventional, particularly with most of the power heading to the rear wheels.
The Cayenne Coupe hasn't been assessed by ANCAP or Euro NCAP, but its outstanding dynamics go a long way towards avoiding a crash.
You'll also pick up a reversing camera, 'Parking Distance Control' (front and rear) and a tyre pressure monitoring system.
But if all that fails to prevent a crash the airbag count runs to eight (dual front, dual front side, curtain and knee bags for the driver and front passenger).
An active bonnet helps minimise pedestrian injuries and there are two top tether points and ISOFIX anchors for child seats/baby capsules in the two rear positions.
The SQ5's five-star ANCAP rating (May 2017) comes courtesy of eight airbags, ABS, stability and traction controls, exit warning system (which lets you know if you're about to clobber a cyclist, pedestrian or approaching car), cross-traffic assist (stops you turning across approaching traffic), blind-spot warning, forward collision warning (up to 250km/h), around-view camera and front and rear AEB.
There are three top-tether restraints and two ISOFIX points.
The Australian Porsche range is covered by a three year/unlimited km warranty, which, like Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz lags behind the mainstream market where the majority of players are now at five years/unlimited km, with some at seven years.
But a 12-year (unlimited km) anti-corrosion warranty is included, as is twenty-four-hour roadside assistance, renewed every time you service your car at an authorised Porsche centre.
The main service interval is 12 months/15,000km, and no capped price servicing is available, with final costs determined at the dealer level (in line with variable labour costs by state/territory).
Audi offers its three year/unlimited kilometre warranty, which is competitive in the segment, but much cheaper cars (and Lexus, for that matter) offer more. You can pay for a further four years and up to 160,000km on top of the standard warrant. Roadside assistance is yours for the duration of the standard warranty.
Servicing comes every twelve months or 15,000km, and you can purchase a plan to cover the first three years or 45,000km, whichever comes first, for $1870 - which is $280 more than any of the other Q5s.