Porsche's worthy upgrade offers a superb ride, Edward Stephens discovers.
PORSCHE Cayenne enthusiasts who want more performance than the standard S model can offer but don’t want to pay the extra £20,000 that a Turbo version costs now have an alternative.
And visually at least, the new Cayenne GTS looks just as sporty as its more expensive and beefier turbocharged big brother.
It will cost you £11,000 more than the S but you do get a lot more for your money, including an uprated version of the V8 engine, which adds an extra 20bhp to take it to 420bhp.
While performance figures and top speed are only slightly better, the GTS feels far more responsive through the gears.
The V8 is mated to an eight-speed tiptronic gearbox with an integrated stop-start system.
You can also change gear manually with the gear shift or with the paddles behind the steering wheel. But while both options are good fun, the auto system is so efficient you don’t really need to bother.
If performance is your out and out goal, you can switch the Cayenne to a permanent sports setting to hold on to each gear for longer to give you a dramatic boost in acceleration while at the same time the big 4.8-litre engine roars out, announcing just how much power it possesses. It can rocket it to 62mph in just 5.7 seconds and 100mph in 13.3 seconds.
From both the audible point of view and the visual the GTS is not a car you buy if you are a shrinking violet.
A “face” inspired by the Turbo version, prominent side skirts, gloss black window surrounds and trims, wider wheel arches, a rear spoiler and 21-inch wheels in black framing red brake callipers tell you in no uncertain terms that this car is designed for real performance motoring.
It’s not everyone’s cup of tea and there is an element of the boy racer image to the GTS. But there’s no doubting it makes a statement.
There’s nothing boy racer about the inside, however. It’s pure class. The superb sports seats give plenty of support and grip where you need it and come in a combination of black leather and Alcantara – a kind of hard wearing suede – with contrasting red stitching and red seatbelts.
Passengers in both the front and rear have more space than they know what to do with, and while a glance under the tailgate shows you more luggage room than you could ever have expected you suddenly find there is even more under the boot floor thanks to the absence of a spare wheel in favour of a temporary get you home kit.
And the fact that the rear seats slide backwards and forwards means you can create even more space when you have no back seat passengers.
Porsche’s Active Suspension Management system combined with air suspension allows you to set the ride, with a choice of normal, comfort and sport. And while there is a distinct difference between all three, the grip on the road that this car has stays the same whichever you select.
Despite its sporty persona, the Cayenne GTS has comprehensive off-road ability.
On the road, the height of the GTS means it’s not only as fast and responsive as you would expect of a Porsche but also offers superb all round vision. But the one thing that impressed me more than anything was the ride. It’s a supremely comfortable vehicle that really cossets you and always inspires you to take the long way home.
Porsche Cayenne GTS
Mechanical: 4806cc, 8 cyl, 420bhp petrol engine driving all wheels via 8spd tiptronic gearbox.
Max speed: 162 mph
0-60 mph: 5.7 secs
Combined mpg: 26.4
CO2 emissions: 251 g/km
Insurance group: 49
Warranty: 3 years unlimited mileage