Porsche Cayenne GTS (2007) review

Published:12 November 2007

Porsche Cayenne GTS (2007) review
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Cayenne GTS? What’s that then?

It’s a more sports-biased version of Porsche’s SUV supercar that seems to wind up just about everyone with an opinion, yet sells jolly nicely. Porsche also justifies the Cayenne’s existence by reminding us that it funds the cars that we all get in a froth about like the GT3, GT3 RS, and GT2. Indeed during the press conference at the GTS’s launch in Portugal, the Cayenne was candidly described as a 'cash cow'. In fact, Porsche today announced that its pre-tax profits for 2006/07 were €5.9 billion, up from €2.1 billion the previous year. The boys in Stuttgart reckon that there’s a niche between the Cayenne S and the Turbo - and the GTS is it. Porsche have seen how successful the Range Rover Sport has been and they want a slice of the action, plus everyone knows that these leviathans spend more time on the road than on the rough, so why not just give the punters what Porsche reckons they want?

And what do they want?

Well it would appear that they want a Turbo-look body kit, 21-inch alloys and low profile tyres. They want it lowered with Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM), or the option of Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control (PDCC). They want an extra 20bhp from the 4.8-litre V8 and a standard six-speed gearbox with shorter ratios. They want to hear the world-ending thunder from the engine so they also want a sports exhaust. Oh, and they want individual sports seats front and back and some new colours, which include a tasteful GTS Red and a very bling Nordic Gold. In a nutshell? They want to pose.

Sounds a bit pointless…

Well there is that argument, particularly as we’re talking about a machine that a lot of people love to hate, and one that is now rather less useful than its more versatile siblings. However, that’s an argument that can levelled at plenty of other machinery on the road. No one in London will buy it thanks to mayor Ken's Congestion Charge. That leaves footballers, people in Cheshire, lots of Americans and it’s bound to go down a bundle in the Middle East and emerging Far East markets.

OK, so what’s the Cayenne GTS like to drive?

Well it’s a right laugh actually. The Porschephiles that love to rant about the Cayenne have rarely driven one, but if they ever do they'll find it hard not to laugh their heads off every time they prod the throttle. You might not like it to look at, but you'll love the drive. While few people will spec it with a six-speed maunal over the Tiptronic option, it’s worth giving it a try, particularly if you want ultimate overall control. Predictably we motoring journo types love it. Don’t bother with the PASM though. In all its settings (comfort, normal, sport) it felt harsh over the worst of the Portuguese roads. Strange that steel springs and PASM don't work well together, as this unique combo was the reason for Porsche crowing about, and creating, the GTS in the first place. Previously such a set-up has been the preserve of Porsche's sports cars, but in the translation to a big 4x4 something has been lost.

So does that mean the GTS isn't any good to drive?

Not a bit of it. If you can afford it, tick the Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control (PDCC) box instead, which is a long-winded way of saying air suspension. Keep it in comfort mode and you’ll be amazed at how it can both smooth out the worst roads and keep something that is the size of a shed flat and level through the corners. The road bias works well and there’s no doubt that Porsche has added a dash of sport to the mix. Oh, and that V8 is just to die for. A wonderful burbly character, and oodles of performance to boot.

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And the figures?

That 20bhp hike over the standard engine gives the GTS 400bhp, which should be enough. It’s certainly enough to hurtle it to 60mph in 6.1 seconds and send it over the horizon at 157mph (6.5 sec and 156mph respectively for the Tiptronic). Torque is a given with such capacity and eight cylinders, and the GTS thumps in with 369lb ft at 3500rpm. Price? £54,000 before you start loading on the options.

Verdict

It’s true to say that the world doesn’t need a Porsche Cayenne GTS, and it’s easy to question the point of it. But then you can level that at any Cayenne if you want to. But if the road is your domain and a premium SUV is your thing, then the Cayenne GTS is hard to beat when it comes to the feat of giving two tons of metal an added sporting edge, especially if don't want to splurge £74,650 on a Turbo. Begrudging respect.

Specs

Price when new: £54,000
On sale in the UK: February 2008
Engine: 4200cc V8, 400bhp @ 6500rpm, 369lb ft @ 3500rpm
Transmission: Six-speed manual/six-speed automatic, four-wheel
Performance: 6.1secs 0-62mph, 157mph, 20.3mpg, 361g/km
Weight / material: 2225kg/steel
Dimensions (length/width/height in mm): 4798/1928/1675

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