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Porsche Cayenne GTS review

The Good

  • Rapid
  • Handles like a sports car
  • Practical

The Bad

  • Not particularly economical
  • Turbo engine is quieter than old V8
  • Cayenne S Diesel is almost as good
4.5

It’s Porsche’s cash cow extraordinaire but it also happens to be an excellent sporty SUV. Matt Joy reviews the new Cayenne GTS.  

The Cayenne is Porsche’s best-selling model by some distance. It’s got wide appeal, particularly for those who can’t fit their lives into anything smaller that’s Porsche-shaped, and brings the company sufficient cash so it can make more bonkers stuff like the 911 GT3 and Cayman GT4.  

Better still it’s now available in GTS guise, which those of you who have been paying attention will know is the shortcut to greatness; arguably the best Cayman, Boxster and 911 that money can buy wears the GTS tag, so the Cayenne version has a lot to live up to. We tested a standard GTS which costs £72,523 in the UK.

Design

“If you don’t like the way this Cayenne looks, then you need to buy something else altogether.”The Cayenne is a much better looking machine than it used to be. This second generation version successfully blends the typical Porsche styling cues onto something much larger than a 911. Ordinarily you need to be a little careful with colour and wheel choice to minimise the risk of creating a monstrosity, but no such worries here.

There’s a discreet bodykit which is colour-coded and helps to give the GTS a good stance, while the standard 20-inch matt-finished wheels complete the job. If you don’t like the way this Cayenne looks, then you need to buy something else altogether.

Practicality

The whole reason the Cayenne exists is to offer something with a Porsche badge for people who can’t fit their children into a 911, so you can enjoy space and practicality in abundance with the GTS. Up front is particularly lovely, with standard sports seats and Alcantara everywhere, while in the rear only the exceptionally tall will have anything to grumble about.

The same goes for the boot, which offers up a substantial 670 litres of space with the seats in place and up to 1,780 litres with them folded. There’s a reasonable amount of storage in the cabin too, certainly more than in the smaller sports cars.

Performance & handling

“Although it’s not as sweet a noise as the V8 it’ll still rattle windows.” The key change for this latest GTS compared to the outgoing one is the switch to a turbocharged V6 (shared with the Cayenne S) from a naturally aspirated V8. This will upset the purists of course, but the only thing you really sacrifice is the noise. The turbo unit dishes out more power and torque – now up to 440hp and 600Nm, respectively – and hooked up to the slick eight-speed automatic gearbox it is swift and easy to drive. The sports exhaust helps to make the most of the sound and although it’s not as sweet a noise as the V8 it’ll still rattle windows 

Porsche gave us our first taste of the GTS at its winter driving programme centre in northern Sweden, and while thick snow and ice doesn’t tell you a huge amount about straight line speed it tells you everything about a car’s chassis, and it performed near-miracles on the incredibly tight test track. It’s as precise and responsive as cars half its size and despite weighing two tonnes it will drift and slide like a scaled-up kart. Few owners will ever drive it in such ludicrous conditions, which just goes to show what a complete job Porsche has done.

Economy & environment

“The GTS doesn’t get the slick PDK gearbox but manages just fine with a clever eight-speed automatic.”Here’s where the switch from naturally-aspirated V8 to turbocharged V6 really pays off. The GTS is still going to use a fair bit of fuel of course, but it’s better than the outgoing model. The official figures are 28.2mpg combined and 234g/km of CO2, a significant improvement.

The GTS doesn’t get the slick PDK gearbox but manages just fine with a clever eight-speed automatic, which works fine with the stop/start for when you’re stationary and can also run in a coasting mode when the conditions are right, all of which help to chip away at the overall consumption. Of course the Diesel S version is better still and almost as fast, but that’s another compromise in itself. 

Equipment & value

As with other models in the GTS range the Cayenne version stacks up pretty well when it comes to the spec sheets. It costs a significant £12,300 more than the Cayenne S, but for that you get the hopped-up engine, sports exhaust, lowered suspension with Porsche Active Suspension Management, the big brakes from the Turbo, 20-inch wheels and the bodykit with gloss black detailing, electric sports seats and lots of Alcantara. Try and spec that lot onto an S and as well as not being able to manage it, you’d spend considerably more than £12,000.

Safety

The Cayenne is not only a sizeable and very well built machine in which to have an accident, it’s also going to go a long way to help you avoid a crash in the first place. The superb braking system, sophisticated suspension and substantial grip on offer means you stand a better chance of being able to avoid trouble. Euro NCAP haven’t tested the Cayenne, but the smaller Macan scored the maximum five stars.

Verdict

“The sense of well-being you get from behind the wheel is second to none.”The Cayenne GTS is the best example of a practical and comfortable SUV that doesn’t leave you sacrificing your desire to have fun. It’s still huge fun to drive, arguably more relaxing with the switch to turbo power and the sense of well-being you get from behind the wheel is second to none.

In many ways its biggest rival is the Cayenne Diesel S, as it is almost as fast, less thirsty and cheaper to buy, but that car is unable to match the GTS’s agility or visual appeal. BMW’s X5 M is another logical rival with performance to burn, but has something of an image problem, in the UK at least.

Specification

Engine3.6-litre V6 turbo
Power440hp
Torque600Nm @1,600-5,000rpm
Acceleration0-62mph in 5.2 seconds
Emissions28.3-28.8mpg
Economy234-228g/km
Price£72,523

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