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First drive: Porsche Cayenne GTS. Image by Porsche GB.

First drive: Porsche Cayenne GTS
People often talk about the ‘sweet spot’ of a given range, but few spots can be sweeter than the fabulous Cayenne GTS.

   



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Porsche Cayenne GTS Coupe

5 5 5 5 5

In reverting to V8 power for the inevitable GTS version of the third-generation Porsche Cayenne, the German company has not only created the absolutely unquestionable 'go-to' model in the SUV's current range, but it might also have spawned one of the most technically gifted SUVs yet built, of any size or price. You pay a lot for a Cayenne GTS with choice options on it, but it is worth every single penny, trust us.

Test Car Specifications

Model tested: Porsche Cayenne GTS Coupe
Pricing: Cayenne Coupe range from £62,129, GTS from £88,750, car as tested £123,451
Engine: 4.0-litre twin-turbocharged V8 petrol
Transmission: PTM all-wheel drive, eight-speed Tiptronic S automatic
Body style: five-door performance coupe-SUV
CO2 emissions: 260g/km (VED Band Over 255: £2,175 first 12 months, then £475 per annum years two-six of ownership, then £150 annually thereafter)
Combined economy: 25.2mpg
Top speed: 168mph
0-62mph: 4.5 seconds
Power: 460hp at 6,000-6,500rpm
Torque: 620Nm at 1,800-4,500rpm
Boot space: 625-1,540 litres

What's this?

Probably the best Porsche Cayenne of all. Now, we all knew this GTS was coming - it hasn't just been heavily signposted by GTS models in other contemporary Porsche ranges, not least the very similar Macan GTS which was recently launched, but also by its two predecessors. In 2007, the first Cayenne GTS (avert thine eyes from its hideous form!) arrived with a 405hp V8 and then, when the second-generation Cayenne hoved into a view, a 420hp V8 GTS appeared in 2012. However, when the Cayenne Mk2 was facelifted in 2015, the GTS went from 4.8-litres of nat-asp V8 to 3.6-litres of biturbo V6. Never mind that it went up to 440hp, the Cayenne GTS fans were up in arms about the loss of a pair of pistons.

Thus, this time around, here's the GTS plugging what looks to be a very small gap in the current Cayenne range, between the V6-powered Cayenne, Cayenne E-Hybrid and Cayenne S models, and then the two V8 kings - namely, the 550hp Turbo and the demented-if-flawed Turbo S E-Hybrid, all 680hp of it. To both balance out the V6-V8 sides of the Force in the Cayenne range and also to satisfy the GTS eight-pot diehards, the new Cayenne GTS uses a detuned iteration of the Turbo's 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8, rather than an evolved version of either the 3.0-litre or the 2.9-litre V6s elsewhere in the SUV's family.

That doesn't give it much of a horsepower advantage over the 440hp Cayenne S, the new GTS capped at 460hp. That, though, along with a robust 620Nm, is enough to see the 2,250kg Cayenne GTS run 0-62mph in 4.5 seconds, hit 100mph from rest in 10.6 seconds, go from 0-124mph in 17.6 seconds and also squeeze from 50-75mph in-gear in a mere 3.2 seconds, topping out at 168mph where legal. Serious stats, for something so big. And Porsche is playing the 'most driver-focused' card with the GTS, citing various technical details that should get enthusiasts drooling; we'll examine those in greater detail in the driving section below.

Visually, this latest Cayenne follows traditional Porsche GTS themes. It has a predominantly black-detailed exterior and 21-inch RS Spyder Design alloys, again in black, as well as some bespoke colours - like the signature Carmine Red (£1,683) in the images. It comes as a 'regular' Cayenne from £85,930 or, for an additional £2,820, as the more rakish GTS Coupe tested here. First controversial point coming up: how good does a Carmine Cayenne GTS Coupe look? Genuinely, this is the first truly handsome and outright desirable Cayenne we've seen across 17 years of production; not only is it finally a coupe-SUV that works on the aesthetic front, it's so easy on the eye that we're finally of the opinion that this is what a Porsche SUV should look like, even more so than the Macan. Look at it in dead-side-on profile and tell us we're wrong.

The interior doesn't let it down either, because a Mk3 Cayenne has a wonderful cabin anyway, the Coupe doesn't sacrifice much in terms of rear-seat passenger comfort or boot space, and the GTS is once again enlivened with things like black leather upholstery with a checked fabric centre section to the seats, an Alcantara-clad steering wheel, an optional £669 Alcantara trim package and lots of black detailing plus GTS logos. To place it a little more in the Cayenne hierarchy, it's around £15,000 to £16,000 cheaper than a basic Turbo and a massive £37,000 less than the power player in the Porsche's line-up, the Turbo S E-Hybrid, although it's also £15,000 more than a Cayenne S Coupe - for an extra half-a-second off the 0-62mph time and 5mph more flat out. And we've not talked about options yet...

How does it drive?

That £37,000 price advantage betwixt Cayenne GTS Coupe and Cayenne Turbo S E-Hybrid is almost totally obliterated if you start going tick-box crazy at ordering time and you end up plastering on £34,701 of extras, as seen here on S-GO 8270. As standard, the GTS has an eight-speed Tiptronic S automatic gearbox and Porsche Traction Management (PTM) active all-wheel drive, as well as a steel-sprung suspension set-up teamed to Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM) dampers with a specific state of tune and 20mm-lower ride height, integrated Porsche 4D Chassis Control, Porsche Torque Vectoring Plus (PTV Plus) with its electronically controlled limited-slip rear diff, Power Steering Plus and, of course, whopping tyres measuring 285/40 ZR21 front and 315/35 ZR21 rear to provide all the grip you could possibly need.

Except, you can obviously go further. Much further. Chief among the changes to the standard spec on our test car was the Black Lightweight Sports Package, at an eye-popping £6,692. This equips a Sports exhaust system with exit pipes finished in black (and they're centrally mounted, on the GTS Coupe only), 22-inch GT Design wheels in Satin Platinum, a heated and multifunction Sports steering wheel in Alcantara (yes, the Alcantara wheel we mentioned earlier is actually an option... sorry), the carbon interior package, a lightweight carbon roof to lower the vehicle's centre-of-gravity and a Sport Design Package in black. That's quite a bundle of toys that do much for the visual, acoustic and dynamic properties of the GTS, but we've not even got properly started yet.

We'll spare going through with you every last one of the extras that totted up to a car agonisingly close to £123,456, a price tag which would at least have satisfied those with mild OCD, and just focus on the salient points. Yellow callipers peeking out from behind those 22-inch wheels mean the Porsche Ceramic Composite Brakes (PCCB) have been fitted, for the princely sum of £6,321. You want your roof spoiler painted in high-gloss black? That'll be £273, please. Active anti-roll bars going under the pseudonym Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control (PDCC) is another £2,315. Adaptive air suspension to go on top of the standard PASM will set you back £1,511. And Rear-Axle Steering (RAS) to improve the Cayenne's agility is a not-insignificant £1,448.

Quite aside from more four-figure options and three-figure fripperies, such as thermally and noise-insulated privacy glass (£1,221), a Head-Up Display (£1,035), Adaptive Cruise Control with Lane Keep Assist and Traffic Sign Recognition (£1,986), Adaptive Sports Seats in the front that are 18-way electrically adjustable (£1,406), four-zone climate control (£581), red faces (no, not of embarrassment, but rather to match the exterior colour) for the Sport Chrono stopwatch/compass and the instrument dial (£245 apiece for each face) and a Bose Surround Sound System (£956), that's a hefty amount of spending to sharpen up the GTS. But here's the thing: you ought to tick all these selections. Because, if you do, then what you end up with is mighty, mighty close to genuinely-sporty-SUV perfection.

To drive, the Cayenne GTS Coupe as tested is pretty much without fault. True, it struggled to breach 18mpg while running around a lengthy loop in the south of England, incorporating Hayling Island and also large swathes of the South Downs National Park, and there's always ever so slightly the lingering suspicion that the pricey PCCB anchors are essential items, even just for road use (you try hauling in 2.25 tonnes of hard-charging leviathan on steel discs), but beyond that it's a marvellous display from the Porsche. Blimey, it's good.

Without doing anything more than manoeuvring it out of town, there's a tautness and alertness to everything the Cayenne GTS does which makes it feel much more like a genuine sports car, instead of a powerful SUV masquerading as such, and yet on 22-inch wheels and reduced 35-profile front/30-profile rear tyres, the ride quality is exceptional. So is the noise suppression in the cabin, although the twelve-hundred quid fancy glass will account for part of that. Nevertheless, while this is a machine that promises focused driving fun, it delivers handsomely on the everyday comfort levels that an SUV simply has to provide - no matter how sporty its outlook. Otherwise, why buy a fast SUV in the first place? Wouldn't you just go for a 'proper' sports car instead? Precisely.

Those lamenting the loss of the V8 for the Mk2.5 Cayenne GTS will be delighted by the twin-turbo lump in this thing. It plays all the right notes in precisely the right order, whether the Cayenne is in its more docile settings or if it has been ramped up into Sport or Sport Plus modes and the Sports exhaust is rumbling its accord with the 4.0-litre motor. Not only that, but the eight-speed torque-converter 'Tipper' is a fantastic gearbox, sharp and reactive with the Porsche in its manual shift format and unobtrusive but ever-ready when it's running as an auto. So you know the drivetrain is a peach from top to bottom, which means that when you're ready you can fully unleash it in confidence, to see if the chassis can match up to it.

If anything, the Porsche's underpinnings eclipse the powertrain. At 4.9 metres long, two metres wide and 1.65 metres tall with a near-2.9-metre wheelbase, this is not only a heavy machine but a physically big thing, too. And it never, ever feels it, not with all this standard and optional chassis tech loaded in; it's nimble, agile, playful and deeply, deeply rewarding. The RAS is particularly good, endowing the Cayenne GTS with a fleet-footed sensation in corners, without promoting that unnerving centre-pivot feeling that some four-wheel-steered cars can display. The air suspension and PASM does a magnificent job at keeping the Cayenne Coupe's bulky shell firmly in check, while the grip and traction levels are unimpeachable in the dry. However, it's the steering which is the high point, because it provides a superb interface to allow the driver to know exactly where the grip is, how the Porsche is shoving its torque to any given wheel and what the well-masked weight transfer is doing to the vehicle, all with the utmost clarity. In short, this is one of those SUVs with an immense level of discernible feedback and that's why it's so flippin' enjoyable and smile-inducing to drive.

Verdict

Save for its own, smaller Macan brother and the Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio, there is no finer-driving SUV available right now than the Porsche Cayenne GTS Coupe. True, you have to spend a lot to get it into its best fighting shape but when you think of the all-round-talented package you end up with - it blends the greatest parts of an SUV and a sports car in equal measure - then perhaps £123,000 isn't so bad after all. Not when there's a whole realm of hyper-SUVs that cost a good 50 per cent more than the Cayenne GTS above it in the marketplace, and yet none of which can drive anything like as sharply and as brilliantly as the masterful Porsche.

4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 Exterior Design

5 5 5 5 5 Interior Ambience

4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 Passenger Space

4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 Luggage Space

5 5 5 5 5 Safety

4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 Comfort

5 5 5 5 5 Driving Dynamics

5 5 5 5 5 Powertrain


Matt Robinson - 10 Jul 2020



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2020 Porsche Cayenne GTS Coupe. Image by Porsche GB.2020 Porsche Cayenne GTS Coupe. Image by Porsche GB.2020 Porsche Cayenne GTS Coupe. Image by Porsche GB.2020 Porsche Cayenne GTS Coupe. Image by Porsche GB.2020 Porsche Cayenne GTS Coupe. Image by Porsche GB.

2020 Porsche Cayenne GTS Coupe. Image by Porsche GB.2020 Porsche Cayenne GTS Coupe. Image by Porsche GB.2020 Porsche Cayenne GTS Coupe. Image by Porsche GB.2020 Porsche Cayenne GTS Coupe. Image by Porsche GB.2020 Porsche Cayenne GTS Coupe. Image by Porsche GB.








 

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