First Drives

22 June 2012

First drive: Porsche Cayenne GTS

Is this the best Cayenne yet? It’s certainly up there…

Chris Mooney
Car image



Another Cayenne? What’s so special about this one?

It’s the sixth addition to the second generation of Porsche’s insanely popular 4x4, following the Diesel, Hybrid, S and Turbo into the range. And much like the excellent Panamera GTS – our pick of that model – Porsche wants this new Cayenne GTS to be seen as the SUV for people who love driving.

How does that work? Has it stopped weighing over two tonnes?

No. There’s still 2,085kg of weight to shift, to be precise. But the 4.8 litre petrol V8 from the Cayenne S has been fettled to bring it up to 414bhp from 394bhp, with the peak 510Nm torque coming in at 3,500rpm. And it’s 160kg lighter than its predecessor, all of which means a 0-100 of 5.7 seconds.

The suspension’s been fiddled with too – on the standard steel springs it’s now 24mm lower, or 20mm if you option air suspension. The rear track is also wider by 17mm than the S. Porsche’s trick active suspension management (PASM) is fitted as standard, and you can also add Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control (PDDC) to further reduce roll. The eight-speed Tiptronic S box is standard, with ‘shorter and sportier’ gear changes.

Whopping 360mm six piston brakes bring the whole package back to a halt, or you can even option the very effective ceramics that were fitted on our test car.

Anything else that’s new?

Well this could just be us, but the Cayenne seems to be getting less unattractive as it grows older: the larger air intakes at the front, the twin-blade spoiler at the back, and the black-rimmed rear light cluster make the GTS a far more resolved car than the original ugly duckling that emerged in 2003.

So is this really the ultimate driver’s SUV?

While the entire concept might be questionable, we haven’t driven a better one to date. This is quite something. With the Sport button pressed the lack of roll, sharp turn-in and weighty steering are remarkable for a car this size: just point and go. Frankly, until it comes to braking from speed it’s easy to forget all that mass surrounding you (although it’s worth pointing out we had PDDC specced on our car, which seems like the must-have box to tick).

Even in Sport (Comfort and Normal are also available), the ride handles broken surfaces extremely well, and that was on 21” wheels (20” come as standard). This was definitely not the case in the last Cayenne GTS. James will be pleased, even if the results came from extensive testing at the ‘Ring…

In fact, on public roads, you’re thankful of Porsche’s new Sound Symposer tech as the only visceral reminder of just how fast you’re going. Pressing Sport also means the V8 audio is piped into the cabin via the A pillars, the same tech fitted to the new 911. While it’s not up there with some of the classic V8 yowls of yore, it’s good fun.

But hold on. Surely if I wanted a fast Cayenne I’d just buy the Turbo?

Yes, the Turbo is a second quicker to 100, and you do have to work the V8 in the GTS to really hustle it, but the Turbo also costs more as standard. That’s the price of a well-worn second hand Cayman S for when you really want to have fun. OK, such trifling sums probably aren’t the concern of many Cayenne customers, but 17% of them still chose the GTS last time round. We know what we’d do…

Tags: porsche, cayenne gts