Porsche Cayenne GTS

The German firm has sharpened the Cayenne's chassis for greater on-road thrills.

Overall Auto Express Rating

4.0 out of 5

The GTS is exactly what Porsche customers have been asking for – it’s dynamically incredible, amazingly fast and great fun to drive. At the same time, though, it’s a hugely expensive 4x4 that can’t go off-road, is very thirsty and is likely to be rendered surplus to requirements once the Panamera super-saloon arrives next year. But as a piece of engineering, this Cayenne deserves real respect.

It’s not only Maserati that has been tweaking cars in the pursuit of more driver appeal – Porsche is at it, too.

Sitting below the flagship Turbo, the Cayenne GTS is designed for customers who demand the size, road presence and practicality of an SUV, but never go off-road and don’t want to compromise on handling.

Under the bonnet is the direct-injection 4.8-litre V8 engine from the Cayenne S, but with an extra 20bhp, taking total power to 405bhp. It also gets a six-speed man­ual box with a lower final drive ratio, which helps cut the 0-62mph time by half-a-second, to 6.1 seconds. Porsche’s familiar Tip­tronic auto is a £1,760 option.

The GTS is set apart by large front air intakes, flared wheelarches and a diffuser-style rear bumper that houses the twin sports exhaust’s chrome tail­pipes. It also gets 21-inch wheels with wide tyres and rides lower than the Cayenne S, while inside, the figure-hugging seats improve comfort.

Two expensive options improve the set-up further. First, the £2,140 Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control hydraulically stiffens the anti-roll bars in corners to limit body roll. And the Porsche Active Suspension Management, which costs £1,260, features air-suspension and adjusts the dampers electronically.

These extras make the GTS absolutely incredible. Despite its size and weight, it corners superbly, generating amazing levels of grip and tackling twisty roads at hot hatch speeds.

The steering has even more feedback than in the standard Cay­enne, and with the extra control of the man­ual box, it’s a real driver’s machine. The V8 adds to the fun, providing lunging acceleration and a race car sound.

Admittedly, all this comes at a price. With both suspension options fitted, the GTS weighs in at £57,750. And it’s not only expensive to buy – fuel economy can dip into single figures, too, so running costs are steep. The driving experience is first rate, but you will clearly have to pay for it.

Rival: Range Rover Sport Even in 385bhp supercharged V8 guise, the Range Rover Sport can’t match the Cayenne GTS for driver appeal. But its immense off-road ability makes it a great all-rounder.

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