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New Porsche Cayenne GTS 2024 review: big SUV brings real driving thrills

The new Porsche Cayenne GTS combines a thrilling V8 soundtrack with superb driving dynamics

Overall Auto Express Rating

4.0 out of 5

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Verdict

The new Porsche Cayenne GTS delivers the kind of driving thrills that a large, luxurious SUV should not be capable of, complemented by the villainous soundtrack of a big, burbling V8. And, as you’d expect from Porsche, the interior is well finished and technology onboard is great. But we can’t say the GTS is tangibly better to drive than the other variants in the Cayenne range – it’s just more expensive.

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Like a lot of things involving Porsche, the GTS badge was introduced on the 911 all the way back in 1963. Six decades on, and almost every model in the marque’s line-up has been offered in this special guise. It’s come to represent a kind of sweet spot in the range, as the GTS variants get additional chassis tweaks and more power than lesser models, but don’t boast about their acceleration or top speed figures like the range-topping Turbo editions.

It’s the same story with the new Porsche Cayenne GTS. It uses the same twin-turbocharged 4.0-litre V8 you’ll find in the Cayenne S, but with an extra 39bhp and 40Nm – meaning there’s now 493bhp and 660Nm at the driver’s disposal, and enough for the 2.2-tonne-plus SUV to do 0-62mph in just 4.4 seconds. 

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Helping with that is a revised eight-speed automatic transmission that delivers shorter response and shift times in Sport and Sport Plus modes. The active all-wheel drive system that sends all the grunt to the road has an additional independent water-cooling circuit to help when the car is being driven hard for long periods of time, too.

The GTS sits 10mm lower than other models, and comes as standard with adaptive air suspension, dual-valve PASM dampers, torque vectoring and traction management system. Capping it all off is a sports exhaust system, 21-inch wheels and ‘SportDesign’ package for the exterior. Well, that’s what the £106,100 starting price gets you anyway. 

Our £136,008 test car illustrates what happens when someone is let loose with the options list. Big ticket additions included carbon ceramic brakes with yellow brake calipers (nearly £7k), Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control that’s priced (just over £2,500), plus rear-axle steering, a panoramic sunroof and Carmine Red paint that each cost around £1,500 each. Oh, and a rear wiper for £158, because why would that be standard? 

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But cost aside, the real question is whether all those upgrades make the new GTS better to drive than an ordinary Cayenne? The short answer is no, although that’s an incredibly high bar to clear, as the Cayenne already handles better than an SUV this big ought to be able to. 

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Like other variants, the ride in the Cayenne GTS is on the firm side, but still comfortable enough for day-to-day use. The benefit is simply astounding body control; with Sport Plus mode engaged and Germany’s Black Forest to devour, the car is able to attack both fast, flowing roads and incredibly tight hairpins at an unrelenting pace. 

The almighty V8 under the bonnet makes the Cayenne GTS wicked fast, and delivers a loud, obnoxious, and quite addictive soundtrack, plus classic snaps, crackles and pops when you shift down. The transmission changes gear almost impossibly fast, while the steering is perfectly weighted and direct, if lacking a little in feel. 

We found the Cayenne GTS as a whole doesn’t deliver any real sensation of speed – mostly because of how planted and insulated it is. Yet that’s an issue other variants also suffer, or benefit from, depending on your standpoint.

We won’t recommend upgrading to the optional ceramic brakes. They deliver immense stopping power, but so do the Cayenne’s regular steel brakes. The ceramic set-up felt a bit grabby at times, too.

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Give the lead foot a rest for a bit and switch into Normal mode, and the Cayenne GTS is surprisingly easy to pilot around town. Our test car’s rear-axle steering undoubtedly helped here, but visibility is good all round too. On the motorway, the engine quietly burbles away in the background, and wind noise is about the only distraction at high speed. The Cayenne feels incredibly stable – obviously engineered for cruising on the autobahn.

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However, trying to accelerate hard in Normal mode can sometimes be met with one or two second delay, before the gearbox suddenly kicks down and you’re fired forward. The 493bhp V8 also guzzles petrol at a slightly guilt-inducing rate. Though not surprising, we managed just 14.8mpg after more than 100 miles. We know the Cayenne GTS isn’t meant to encourage frugal behaviour, but that seems particularly poor by our usual standards.

Aside from the heavy use of Race-Tex – Porsche’s version of Alcantara – the interior of the GTS feels no different to other Cayennes we’ve driven, either. Meaning the cabin is well-finished, the screens are super sharp, and the ergonomics – from the driving position to thickness of the steering wheel – are perfect. Our only complaint is the gloss black centre console that is constantly covered in fingerprints, no matter how hard you try to keep it clean. 

The Cayenne GTS still provides a huge amount of space for those in the rear – enough that anyone over six foot tall has room to spread out – plus up to 772 litres of boot space.

ModelPorsche Cayenne GTS
Price:from £106,100 / As tested from £136,008
Engine:4.0-litre, twin-turbo V8
Power/torque:493bhp/660Nm
Transmission:eight-speed auto, four-wheel drive
0-62mph:4.4 seconds
Top speed:171mph
Economy:21.2-22.4mpg
CO2:287-303g/km
Size (L/W/H):4,930/1,983/1,674mm
On sale:Now
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News reporter

As our news reporter, Ellis is responsible for covering everything new and exciting in the motoring world, from quirky quadricycles to luxury MPVs. He was previously the content editor for DrivingElectric and won the Newspress Automotive Journalist Rising Star award in 2022.

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