It’s a model that Porsche always says is the most driver-focused in any of its product line-ups, the GTS. This time, the three-letter nameplate is freshly appended to the third-generation Cayenne, Porsche’s larger of two SUVs (the other being the Macan, which already has its GTS derivative). There have been Cayenne GTS models since 2007, when the Mk1 launched with a 405hp V8. The Mk2 Cayenne GTS of 2012 also initially used a V8, with 420hp, but it was ‘downsized’ to a twin-turbo V6 for the 2015 facelift of the second-gen Cayenne – despite power going up to 440hp, Porsche purists weren’t so happy with the loss of a couple of cylinders. However, the GTS is now back for the Cayenne Mk3 and it once again has a V8, this time a 4.0-litre twin-turbo lump that’s shared with the even mightier models higher up the SUV’s range, which are the Cayenne Turbo and the Cayenne Turbo S E-Hybrid. The GTS is detuned to 460hp and 620Nm, but Porsche still says it should provide a highly focused drive. Prices start from €159,540 for the regular Cayenne GTS or €164,773 for the more rakish Cayenne GTS, tested here – that means a GTS is about €60,000 more than the entry-level Cayenne E-Hybrid but usefully €30,000 cheaper than a Cayenne Turbo.
How is it to drive?
There are few SUVs in the world that drive as well as this Porsche Cayenne GTS Coupe, and that goes for the more potent Cayenne Turbo and Cayenne Turbo S E-Hybrid models above it in the hierarchy, while even some sports cars would like to be as talented as this high-riding, 2.25-tonne machine. Porsche fits the GTS with a 20mm-lower Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM) system, Porsche Torque Vectoring Plus (PTV Plus) with an active rear differential and larger brakes (390mm front discs with six-piston callipers, 358mm rear discs with four-piston callipers) as standard, but there are many more options to sharpen the drive even further – such as Porsche Ceramic Composite Brakes (PCCB), a carbon-fibre roof to reduce the vehicle’s centre-of-gravity, twin axle air suspension, larger wheels and a sports exhaust system, as part of the Lightweight Sports Package.
With all of these fitted to our test GTS Coupe, its price balloons from €165,000 to much closer to €200,000, but even so it is a devastatingly talented SUV. It looks great on the outside, with its black detailing and the Coupe’s sweeping roofline, while inside the cabin is enlivened with Alcantara and contrast stitching. That interior is not only beautifully built and exquisitely appointed, it is magnificently acoustically isolated as well, so the Cayenne GTS is a suitably accomplished cruiser, with a plush ride, impeccable noise suppression and light, well-judged controls.
However, up the pace and the SUV assumes the other side of its dichotomous character, the rumbling V8 and sports exhaust providing a wonderful soundtrack to performance that is brutally quick (you really don’t need more power or speed on public roads than a machine this large and heavy that can run 0-100km/h in 4.5 seconds) across the rev range. The Cayenne GTS has an eight-speed Tiptronic S automatic gearbox and Porsche Traction Management all-wheel drive and – with zero turbo lag to report – it fires down the road with startling alacrity in all situations, if you ask it to. Yet, when the corners come, it doesn’t run out of ideas, its immense grip, unfaltering mid-bend traction and rigid body control all conspiring to make this feel like a small, nimble vehicle, rather than a giant steamroller lumbering through the curves. It’s quite sensational in all regards.
When is it coming to Ireland?
The Cayenne GTS is on Porsche Ireland’s configurator right now and the standard specification is generous, including (but not limited to) the aforementioned PASM and PTV Plus, as well as Porsche 4D Chassis Control (PDCC), 21-inch alloys, the Sport Chrono Package, LED headlights with Porsche Dynamic Lighting System (PDLS), dual-zone climate control, sports front seats with heating and eight-way electrical adjustment, the 10.9-inch Porsche Communication Management (PCM) infotainment system, a ten-speaker and 150-watt sound system, keyless go, ParkAssist sensors front and rear with a reversing camera incorporated, cruise control with a speed limiter and eight passenger compartment airbags.
Any juicy technology?
Optional Rear-Axle Steering (RAS) is well worth specifying on the Cayenne GTS Coupe. It’s a system that turns the rear wheels in the opposite direction to the fronts at low speeds, to aid manoeuvrability, and then in the same direction as the front wheels at higher speeds to improve stability. While a large part of the Cayenne GTS’s dynamic brilliance is from its underlying and truly excellent chassis engineering, the RAS certainly makes the car feel even lighter on its feet than it should do.
Carzone.ie rating: 5/5
SUVs, and particularly coupe-SUVs, are frowned upon by certain sections of the automotive enthusiast population, but when they’re executed as brilliantly as this Porsche Cayenne GTS Coupe, it’s awfully hard to maintain stoic opposition to such machines. This is a vehicle that can conceivably do everything: it’s a practical, comfortable, discreet and premium family conveyance one minute, and then a hard-charging, thrilling and desirable sports coupe the next. You’ll pay a lot for the privilege of owning such a deeply multitalented SUV as this, but the Cayenne GTS is most emphatically worth every single cent of its lofty asking price, because it’s phenomenally good across the board.