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The 2019 Porsche Cayenne has a familiar face that hides new insides

Screens are in and physical buttons are out

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2019 Porsche Cayenne
2019 Porsche Cayenne

The 2019 Porsche Cayenne is a pretty significant car, because when one goes to buy a new Porsche these days, there’s a good chance it will look like this.

That’s probably why the German company didn’t change the looks or overall size too much for this new model shown Tuesday and scheduled for sale next year. Look past the exterior, however, and there’s a lot of new tech going on elsewhere.

2019 Porsche Cayenne

Like the new Panamera models, the 2019 Cayenne ditches most of the old car’s physical buttons for screens and touch-sensitive panels to use all of the controls. The centerpiece of the dash is now a 12.3-inch touchscreen, also from the Panamera. Directly in front of the driver is a combination of physical gauges and two 7-inch displays that can be manipulated via steering wheel-mounted switches to show the information the driver needs at that time – navigation, audio, vehicle diagnostics, etc.

Because even though it’s an SUV, it’s still a Porsche, and driving is meant to be a big part of the experience. So don’t go looking for the new Cayenne to be at the forefront of self-driving tech, even though things like a night vision camera and adaptive cruise control with traffic jam assist are available. A new option for this SUV is the so-called Off-road Precision App. Porsche says it allows rough-terrain drives to be documented in detail so Cayenne drivers can look at a video and figure out how to improve their skills.

An app can track a Cayenne driver’s off-road drive and use video recordings to show where they can improve

When it reaches US dealerships next year, the 2019 Cayenne will initially come in two gasoline-powered models with standard all-wheel drive: the base Cayenne with a 3.0L V6 turbo, 340 horsepower and 332 pound-feet of torque and the Cayenne S, with a 2.9-liter twin-turbo V6 making 440 horsepower and 406 pound-feet. A replacement for the current Cayenne S E-Hybrid has yet to be announced, but expect it and more powerful models to be announced shortly.

Which also means a high-performance plug-in hybrid along the lines of the Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid could happen, as Porsche has been touting that the future of their high-end models involves a plug. But even now, the Cayenne gets from 0 to 60 mph in as little as 5.6 seconds, and the Cayenne S does it in 4.6 – so neither of these Porsche SUVs should be described as “slow,” if you’re looking for performance.

To further improve that performance, the 2019 Cayenne weighs 143 pounds fewer than the equivalent 2017 model, according to Porsche, thanks to liberal use of aluminum in the exterior panels and body structure. A lithium-ion starter battery is also new and is said to contribute 22 pounds to that weight loss total.

A lithium-ion starter battery saves 22 pounds

A number of sensors are on board to keep the relatively tall Cayenne behaving more like one of Porsche’s low sports cars, so much so that a 48-volt electrical system is needed, making this one of the first gasoline-powered vehicles to adopt that technology.

While it looks familiar at first and doesn’t deviate too much from its popular predecessor, the 2019 Cayenne is primed to be a technological showcase for Porsche next year. You can order one now starting from $66,750 (or from $83,950 for the S model) before they appear at U.S. Porsche dealerships in the middle of 2018.