With the Cayenne, Porsche has invented the sporty SUV. But the SUV coupe was invented by BMW – more than a decade ago, with the X6. Since then, BMW has taken the concept one class below, with the X4, and Mercedes-Benz has followed with the GLE Coupe and GLC Coupe. Even Audi has launched a sporty SUV – in the form of the Q8. But now Porsche wants to best them all – with the new Cayenne Coupe, which launches tonight.

Porsche has kept the sporty front end of the regular Cayenne intact, the differences begin with the A-pillar: The windshield has a lower angle, the roof describes a graceful arch and ends in a relatively low tail. The rear doors and fenders are pushed out to cover a wider track. And the side windows are shaped like the 911’s, even though the Cayenne Coupe is a four-door SUV.

The overall effect is successful, almost spectacular. Visually, there is not a sportier SUV on the road. The Cayenne Coupe oozes 911-ness and brand heritage.

Despite its relatively low-slung looks, there is plenty of interior space. In fact, rear headroom is virtually identical with the regular Cayenne. You sit perfectly in all four seats (a regular three-seat rear bench can be specified, too), and the trunk shrinks just moderately.

But to achieve this much space while keeping a beautiful silhouette, Porsche has resorted to three tricks: First, the rear seats are now fixed in a slightly lower position instead of laterally moveable. And second, the Cayenne Coupe actually features a somewhat bulbous roof. But this fact is masked, because it appears glossy black: A vast panoramic glass roof is standard – and a glossy carbon-fiber roof is available as part of a very attractive light-weight sport package. Thirdly, there is a very prominent roof spoiler that actually has purely cosmetic function.

The spoiler that’s actually functional sits lower: The area above the taillights can rise up like on the 992 or the Panamera, and it’s graced with a slim Gurney flap. And it is needed because this is an extremely fast SUV. Even the standard version, powered by a 340-horsepower 3.0-liter V-6, can manage 243 kph. The top-of-the-line Cayenne Turbo Coupe is fitted with a 550-horsepower 4.0-liter V-8 for a 0-100 kph sprint in 3.9 seconds and a 286 kph top speed.

Down the road, Porsche will offer a Cayenne S Coupe with a 440-horsepower 2.9-liter V-6, and there will be both a V-6 hybrid with 462 horsepower and a V-8 hybrid with at least 680 horsepower, like on the Panamera. Sadly, there will be no diesel. Originally, the Cayenne was supposed to be offered with a V-6 and a V-8 diesel, before the brand’s questionable decision to kill all diesels and emphasize electrics.

The Cayenne Coupe models will come to market in Europe in mid-May; the US will have to wait until mid-October. Prices in Germany are 83 711 and 146 662 euros for the regular and the Turbo models; the US prices are USD 75 300 and 130 100, respectively. Considering the Sport Chrono package, large wheels, the panoramic glass roof and a few other goodies are standard on the coupe, the decision whether to opt for a regular Cayenne or a Coupe amounts to a matter of taste. For us, the choice would be clear. This is the 911 of SUVs.

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