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Porsche Cayenne GTS Car Review | December 7, 2007

Driven November 2007

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Along with anyone with a modicum of good taste, when I first heard that Porsche was building an SUV I was horrified. But if the idea of a Porsche SUV was too awful to contemplate for Porsche purists, the reality of the Cayenne was even worse. I think I did sick in my mouth when I actually first saw this mutant version of the 911. It mings.

However, Porsche has been laughing all the way to the bank. Over 150,000 Cayennes have been sold, and at the launch of the GTS, the suits from Stuttgart described the Cayenne as a "cash cow". And with pre-tax profits for 2006/07 at £4.1 billion, up from £1.5 billion, they ain't kidding.

You might recognise the GTS name - it was made famous by the 904 Carrera racers of the Sixties. And, rather naughtily, Porsche has christened its new niche SUV supercar the Cayenne GTS, which goes on sale in February with prices starting at £54,995.

But the good news is that it is actually rather sporty. It looks as sporty as an SUV can and not unlike the Cayenne Turbo - it's got a Turbo style body kit with twin rear roof spoiler, sexy 21-inch alloys and low profile tyres sitting in flared wheel arches.

It has been lowered by 24mm and is the first model within the Cayenne range to feature a combination of steel springs and PASM (Porsche Active Suspension Management), only found so far in its sports cars. You also get an extra 20bhp from the 4.8-litre V8 thanks to an upgraded and enlarged intake system.

The Cayenne GTS comes with a six-speed manual gearbox as standard, but most people will choose Porsche's automatic (an option at £1,760) and air suspension with PDCC (Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control). But if you are serious about getting sporty then go for the manual with the steel springs (don't go for the new GTS-exclusive Nordic Gold colour - yuck), settle your booty in the bespoke, super-comfy and supportive seats and prepare for the most fun you can have in an SUV.

It sounds bloody awesome. Hit the Sports button - standard on the GTS, sharpening up the throttle responses and shifting the PASM dampers into sport mode - and a valve opens in the rear exhaust, filling your ears with a sound an SUV has no right to make. It's fast, doing 0-62mph in 6.1 seconds and hitting 157mph. But it's the way it corners and handles that is most impressive - you forget you are in a big, bulky two-tonne SUV.

Hats off to Porsche for building the sexiest-driving SUV in the world. It might be pig-scaringly ugly, but the performance is as blinding as beer goggles. But then, beauty is in the eye of the beer holder.

Emma Parker Bowles

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