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[Behind the Wheel] Porsche offers fun and comfort with Cayenne Coupe

Porche’s Cayenne Coupe (Porsche Korea)
Porche’s Cayenne Coupe (Porsche Korea)

It’s been 18 years since Porsche released the Cayenne, its first sport utility vehicle, but skeptics still questioning the vehicle’s “Porsche DNA.”

Undeterred, the carmaker has continued to bolster its SUV lineup, and sales show Porsche’s decision was right.

Its SUV sales now double those of smaller sports cars in some markets, including the US. In Korea, the Cayenne is attributed as having set the pace for the popularity of premium SUVs.

This year, the carmaker confidently presented a new SUV model and the first coupe type in its SUV lineup, the Cayenne Coupe. Two types of Cayenne Coupe -- a standard and a turbo version -- arrived at Korean dealerships in early April.

With the distinctive fastback roof line and the slanted rear window, Cayenne Coupe draws a sleeker, and more sporty look from the third-generation Cayenne, while packing the same strong performance and innovative chassis system of the standard model.

The Korea Herald had a chance to test drive Cayenne Coupe on a 56-kilometer route from Porsche Cheongdam Studio in Seoul to Pocheon, Gyeonggi Province, on June 17.

The one-hour drive came as a joyful if somewhat short experience, as the crossover SUV proved to be competent, with its smooth driving experience, and also fun, with its different drive modes.

Hopping into the Cayenne Coupe for the first time, I found the internal space slightly compact for a large SUV -- probably due to the lower ceiling -- but spacious enough, with a surrounding sense of stability.

Porsche lowered the Cayenne’s roof line by 20 millimeters for the coupe, and at the same time, it dropped the back seat by 30 millimeters to give riders enough headroom.

The classy interior was boosted with the classic key-turning to start the car, and the characteristic center-console grab handles, also on the door side, were reminders of the car’s sporty origin.

The standard rear accommodation seats two, but this can be adjusted to a three-seat bench, without an extra cost.

On the road, the Cayenne Coupe glided through the asphalt highway and on the rugged concrete road without much noise or vibration. 

Inside Porche’s Cayenne Coupe (Porsche Korea)
Inside Porche’s Cayenne Coupe (Porsche Korea)

The Cayenne Coupe is powered by a 3.0-liter turbo charger V6 engine with 340 horsepower. The highest speed for the basic model is 234 kilometers per hour, and Cayenne Turbo Coupe goes up to 286 kph.

It takes 6 seconds for the Cayenne Coupe to go from 0 to 100 kph and just 3.9 seconds for Turbo. The 2,095-kilogram basic model feels surprisingly light from the behind the wheel.

The four driving modes -- Normal, Sport, Sport Plus, and Individual settings -- are controlled by the selector dial attached on the steering wheel and can also be adjusted by the touch screen.

The Normal mode is the default setting, ideal for commuting and cruising, according to a Porsche representative.

When adjusted to Sport and Sport Plus modes, the car immediately gave a better throttle response, sharper shifts and stiffer suspension.

Picking up speed under the Sport mode, the engine was louder, but there seemed to be little change in performance. It was the Sport Plus that really made a different driving experience

While purists might not agree, the Sport Plus mode was enough to prove that it has the characteristics of a Porsche, especially considering that it is an SUV which also promotes stability and smoothness.

Porche’s Cayenne Coupe (Porsche Korea)
Porche’s Cayenne Coupe (Porsche Korea)

The base Cayenne Coupe starts at 116.3 million won, which is higher than the regular Cayenne.

A panoramic glass roof is also installed standard, an upgrade from the original Cayenne. But the top can also be replaced with a lighter carbon-fiber roof by purchasing the Lightweight Sport Package, which takes 22.4 kilograms off of the vehicle’s weight.

Since arriving in the Korean market in early April, 348 units of the Cayenne Coupe were sold in the first two months.

By Jo He-rim (herim@heraldcorp.com)
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