Review: Porsche Cayenne GTSBy Philip Shoulder
March 18, 2013
Driven: Porsche Cayenne GTS Porsche’s SUV combines the poise of a sports car with off-road credentials
It is no exaggeration to say that when Porsche’s Cayenne SUV was launched in 2002 it caused quite a stir.
The SUV co-venture with Volkswagen was thought by some to be compromising the world famous sports car maker’s thoroughbred DNA.
Eleven years and a generation later, the Cayenne has successfully dispelled these fears becoming an established and respected member of the growing premium sporting SUV segment.
It was, and remains, the best handling on-road/off-roader, offering driving dynamics rivalling many sporting saloons and coupes.
Naturally there have been some changes over the years.
A facelift in 2007 saw Porsche’s first diesel and the second generation launched in 2010 ushered in the firm’s first hybrid variant.
Cayenne now offers the choice of five different engine options, including both petrol and diesel V6 and V8s.
This GTS model sits between the petrol V8 S and Turbo models and although by far from the quickest (that honour goes to the 542bhp Turbo S), it promises to be the sharpest and most driver-focused Cayenne in the range, thanks to a revised chassis set-up, lower ride height and quicker-shifting eight-speed automatic gearbox.
With 414 bhp (20 more than the V8 S) from its normally aspirated V8 it’s still a quick machine by any standards. 0-60 is dispatched in 5.7 seconds and it’ll storm on to 162 mph.
Visually the GTS has more aggressive looks than its lesser brethren, thanks to an extensive body kit including the Turbo’s big-intake front bumper, roof spoiler, blacked out exterior trim and larger wheels.
Further standard features include a sports exhaust system and Bi-Xenon headlights.
In the cabin both driver and occupants feel cocooned, thanks to supportive leather chairs and plentiful head and legroom, although the rear bench comfortably seats two or three people, there’s no seven seat option . Boot space, although not class-leading, is nevertheless generous at 670 litres seats up and 1780 litres seats down.
The 60/40 split function allows flexible luggage/passenger accommodation, although the seats don’t fold completely flat, restricting ultimate carrying versatility.
The dashboard layout and transmission tunnel switchgear closely resembles that of the Panamera, although being an SUV the positioning is more upright. Except for the slightly restricted rear three quarter view, visibility is good.
GTS guise affords Porsche’s SUV a considerably more sporting theme than lesser variants. There’s a SportDesign steering wheel with paddle-shift, alcantara trim in abundance and the extra touches in our car equipped with interior package made it feel sporty and opulent in equal measure.
Equipment levels are respectable, rather than generous for a car of this price.
Although electric seats, cruise control, parking sensors and dual-zone climate control are standard; sat-nav, heated seats, privacy glass and even Bluetooth isn’t.
Optional kit remains expensive too.
The Porsche Communication Management (PCM) including navigation module, costs £2,157.00, and you’ll have to fork out £1,327.00 if you want the superb active air suspension.
On the road you’re immediately aware that this GTS Cayenne has been set up for driver reward.
The steering is more progressive and direct and the throttle response crisper, with little more than a blip on the throttle causing the V8 to emit a glorious growl and the car to surge forwards.
Acceleration is very strong indeed and the GTS feels much quicker than the figures suggest.
The ride is firmer than less sporting Cayennes, but with optional air suspension, ride comfort is not only improved, but is also adjustable. Although sport mode shows off the car’s ultimate dynamic prowess, unless you’re driving on a race track, Normal mode offers the best compromise of control and comfort.
All this talk of on-road performance makes it easy to forget that Cayenne GTS is still a serious off-roader and capable of negotiating 45% declines and descents.
A brace of clever electronic systems including Porsche Stability system (PSM) and Porsche Traction Management (PTM) further enhance its mechanical all-terrain capability.
All Porsches are driver-focused machines, but GTS models raise the bar.
This ‘GTS magic’ has worked wonders on the Cayenne, endowing it with a great deal of the subtlety and poise usually only found in the company’s sports cars. Although it can’t claim to be the fastest of the breed – the fire-breathing Cayenne Turbo and Turbo S put paid to that – the balance of driver appeal, everyday usability and cost make this one of the most desirable Cayenne models and a real contender for those in the market for a premium sporting SUV.
|Max Power:||414 bhp at 6500 rpm|
|Max Torque:||515Nm at 3,500 rpm|
|Max Speed:||162 mph|
|Acceleration: 0-62 mph||5.7 secs|
|MPG (combined):||26.4 mpg|
|CO2 emissions: (g/km)||251 g/km|