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Porsche sharpens up the Cayenne to create the GTS. Image by Porsche.

Porsche sharpens up the Cayenne to create the GTS
Few could ever accuse Porsche's Cayenne S of being slow or blunt, but Porsche's customers wanted a sharper, faster model.

 



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| First Drive | Faro, Portugal | Porsche Cayenne GTS |

Few things are as terrifying as hurtling round a tightening corner in an SUV. Unless, that is, you're in a Porsche Cayenne. Ugly it may be, but there's absolutely nothing wrong with the way it drives. Some of Porsche's customers seemed to think differently. They apparently asked Porsche for a sharper handling Cayenne, preferably at prices a little bit less stratospheric than the quite ludicrously capable, yet utterly bonkers - both in performance and price - Cayenne Turbo. So Porsche has created the GTS, a model that slots between the Turbo and Cayenne S, and the car in the range that Porsche itself calls its 'most sporting' Cayenne.

To achieve that Porsche has gone down the usual route. There's a bit more power for a start, courtesy of direct injection on the Cayenne S's 4.8-litre V8. The result of the tweakery is an increase of 20bhp, the V8's output now being 405bhp. The gear ratios have been altered on both the standard manual six-speeder and the optional Tiptronic S, and there's a drop in ride height of around 24mm. The suspension is key to the alterations on the GTS. Firstly, it's the only time Porsche has ever offered its PASM (Porsche Active Suspension Management) dampers with conventional steel springs on the Cayenne. But it's not just slammed the Cayenne closer to the ground, as Porsche has also added negative wheel camber front and rear to increase the GTS's agility further.

Riding on 21-inch alloy wheels - the arches containing them featuring extensions - the GTS also gets something of a visual makeover to denote its special status. There's a twin-plane roof-mounted spoiler, side skirts and deeper front and rear bumpers, the GTS borrowing heavily from its Turbo big sister's wardrobe in its dressing up. It's also offered in two unique GTS only colours, a nice deep GTS Red and a rather in-yer-face Nordic Gold Metallic. We'd avoid the gold... Blacked out trim around the windows on the B- and C-pillars, as well as black door handles and chromed exhausts also add some menace to the GTS's appearance.

It's not just the looks that gain some attitude though, as push the Sport button and the noise emanating from the chrome tipped exhausts is a good bit more intimidating. Pressing that button not only opens a flap in the sports exhaust, but also changes the engine's mapping for quicker throttle response and sets the PASM's dampers to their stiffest setting. If optioned with the Tiptronic S, as sadly, most will be, the shift points are also changed. But to choose the Tiptronic S is to miss out on the GTS's increased driver appeal. And not just because leaving shifting gears to the car itself is less involving; it's slower too.

Porsche's changes to the GTS in standard guise allows it to sprint to 62mph in just 6.1 seconds; that's half a second quicker than a manual Cayenne S. Add the Tiptronic S automatic and the 0-62mph time increases to 6.5 seconds. It's not just in the benchmark 0-62mph sprint where the Tiptronic S loses ground to the manual car; between 50mph and 75mph the manual GTS takes just 6.6 seconds (two seconds faster than a Cayenne S), a Tiptronic S equipped GTS taking 7.8 seconds. But it's not just the raw figures that matter, the manual GTS objectively feels so much faster on the road.

The six-speeder shifts quickly and precisely, and while the pedals aren't very well spaced to do so, heal and toe downshifts are rewarded with a rousing blare from those gigantic exhausts. The Tiptronic is smooth, but the wheel-mounted rocker switches really need to be replaced by paddles, and they're not always keen to respond to driver input, either. Both transmissions impress, but really keen drivers should opt for the manual as it feels so much sharper to drive.

But that's true of the standard Cayenne. Where the GTS really amazes is in its dynamic ability. Nothing as weighty as a Cayenne - 2,225kg unladen - should be able to corner with such aptitude. It's almost surreal the way the lofty machine changes direction, Porsche's engineers somehow disguising its bulk and making it handle like a sports car. It's even more mesmerising when fitted with Porsche's PDCC (Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control) - which constantly alters the roll bars to almost completely remove body roll - and air suspension that helps provide a smoother ride. However, start ticking those boxes and you'll be facing a significantly larger purchase price; and, really, few will find reason to complain with the standard suspension set-up.

Given the bulk they're asked to stop the brakes work remarkably well, even if the discs and red-painted callipers look a little lost behind the huge alloy wheels. The steering has some heft at the wheel's rim, the GTS reacting very quickly and precisely to input. With the engine devouring the straights between the bends the Cayenne GTS delivers quite astounding cross-country ability. Not so much literally any more; as although there's still the settings to allow it to venture off-road, doing so is likely to do little to improve its fancy body kit.

Not that you'll want to take it off road, as you'll be having too much fun on road to want to go exploring the wilderness. Inside, the GTS's interior is more suited to its sporting role, the seats front and rear featuring deeper bolstering to hold you and your passengers in firmly. If it weren't for the GTS's height you'd swear you were driving a sports saloon or estate. Drive it hard and you'll be left marvelling at not just its quite incredible ability, but also a rather eye-watering fuel bill. Official figures suggest the GTS will manage between 18.7 and 20.3mpg on the combined cycle depending on whether you've gone for the automatic or manual choices. It'll be less in the real world. Similarly, CO2 emissions of 361g/km (manual) and 332g/km (auto) are difficult to justify in these green-aware times.

Forget all that for a moment though and instead marvel at the towering engineering achievement that Porsche has accomplished in making the GTS such a remarkable performance car. Just think too, Porsche's engineers are working on hybrid drivetrains at the moment. And if they can work the same sort of miracles there that they have with making the GTS into a genuinely sporting, and enjoyable drive, then the future looks bright indeed.

Kyle Fortune - 12 Nov 2007









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2007 Porsche Cayenne specifications: (manual)
Price: £54,350 on-the-road.
0-62mph: 6.1 seconds
Top speed: 157mph
Combined economy: 18.7mpg
Emissions: 361g/km
Kerb weight: 2225kg

Full technical specifications

2007 Porsche Cayenne GTS. Image by Kyle Fortune.2007 Porsche Cayenne GTS. Image by Kyle Fortune.2007 Porsche Cayenne GTS. Image by Kyle Fortune.2007 Porsche Cayenne GTS. Image by Kyle Fortune.2007 Porsche Cayenne GTS. Image by Kyle Fortune.

2007 Porsche Cayenne GTS. Image by Kyle Fortune.2007 Porsche Cayenne GTS. Image by Kyle Fortune.2007 Porsche Cayenne GTS. Image by Kyle Fortune.2007 Porsche Cayenne GTS. Image by Kyle Fortune.2007 Porsche Cayenne GTS. Image by Kyle Fortune.



2007 Porsche Cayenne GTS. Image by Porsche.
 

2007 Porsche Cayenne GTS. Image by Porsche.
 

2007 Porsche Cayenne GTS. Image by Porsche.
 

2007 Porsche Cayenne GTS. Image by Porsche.
 

2007 Porsche Cayenne GTS. Image by Porsche.
 

2007 Porsche Cayenne GTS. Image by Porsche.
 

2007 Porsche Cayenne GTS. Image by Porsche.
 

2007 Porsche Cayenne GTS. Image by Porsche.
 

2007 Porsche Cayenne GTS. Image by Porsche.
 






 

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