Porsche Cayenne GTS

Engine and chassis tweaks transform the Porsche Cayenne SUV into a focused sports car

Overall Auto Express Rating

4.0 out of 5

The Cayenne GTS is more than a fancy makeover: chassis and engine tweaks make this one of the world’s best-handling SUVs. It snarls when you ask it to, but is civilised when you drive it slower. It’s also comfortable, well built and has loads of space. Yet there’s no ignoring the huge running costs of a big V8 SUV like this, and once you add a few options it’s pricey.

The Porsche Cayenne GTS follows the same formula as the Panamera GTS – it’s the most focused version of Porsche’s 4x4. So it’s got more power and more bling, but can something so heavy really be fun to drive?

Under the bonnet is the same 4.8-litre V8 as in the Cayenne S – but with 19bhp more power, at 414bhp. There are two driving modes: normal and Sport. In normal, the V8’s a little quieter and throttle response a bit slow. Switch to Sport and, thanks to a new sports exhaust, the sound goes from mean rumble to full-on roar, while the throttle and steering become super-sharp.

The eight-speed auto holds gears too long in Sport, but the manual mode is crisp, and the brakes exceptional. This makes the GTS a joy to push hard; it sounds better and shrinks around you the faster you go.

Our test car had optional torque vectoring and dynamic chassis control, which add nearly £3,200 to the list price, but even without these extras, the GTS drives like a Porsche half its size.

Its looks are more of an acquired taste, though. There are chunkier front and rear bumpers, while the black bezels of the xenon headlamps match the black grille, foglamp housings and window surrounds.

There are also gloss-black roof rails, smoked tail-lights and four black exhaust tips poking out from the rear bumper.

You’ll know you’re in a GTS as soon as you open the Cayenne’s doors: there are GTS badges on the door sills, instruments and even the leather head restraints. The front seats have eight-way electric adjustment, and there is Alcantara everywhere, from the three-spoke sports steering wheel to the rooflining.

It’s not cheap, though, with a starting price of £67,147. Our test car was loaded with another £14,000 of extras, too. Sadly, they don’t include things like audio controls on the steering wheel, a reversing camera or an electronic tailgate. And an iPod connection costs £237.

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