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Porsche Cayenne GTS (2015) review

Published:11 May 2015

Goes harder, sounds worse
  • At a glance
  • 5 out of 5
  • 4 out of 5
  • 4 out of 5
  • 3 out of 5
  • 4 out of 5

By CJ Hubbard

Former CAR magazine associate editor, road tester, organiser, extremely variable average wheel count

By CJ Hubbard

Former CAR magazine associate editor, road tester, organiser, extremely variable average wheel count

► Cayenne GTS updated with bi-turbo V6
► More power, more torque, less soul
► Full UK road test review 

By this point we’re all quite familiar with the concept of a modern Porsche GTS model. These are the Porsche variants – and there’s one in every individual range bar the Macan SUV – that aim to up the emotional content, the sheer driving pleasure, without necessarily demanding that you actually nail your balls to the wall every single time you take one for a drive. So, they aren’t the most powerful, and they aren’t the most hardcore, but they offer great value (relatively speaking) and enormous fun.

The GTS nameplate dates back to the 904 GTS of 1964 – a low-slung sports coupe that in a sacrilegious sort of way looks a bit like a compact Porsche version of the Ford GT40. So it’s a little odd that the GTS resurrection began with the first-generation Porsche Cayenne in 2008, as there’s definitely no accusing the Cayenne of being a sports car. But enough throat-clearing. Here we have the very latest and third iteration of Cayenne GTS, driven in the UK for the very first time.

What’s new about the 2015 Porsche Cayenne GTS?

Biggest change for 2015 is under the bonnet. Where both previous Cayenne GTS variations have harboured a fantastically vocal, naturally aspirated 4.8-litre V8, the new one has ditched the ground shaker for a soulless 434bhp 3.6-litre twin-turbo V6.

This is obviously more efficient, and boasts more power (+20bhp) and more torque (+63lb ft), but compared with the previous version – which was hardly slow and actually piped sweet V8 music into the hollow cavity of the A-pillars for maximum impact – it sounds disappointingly banal. It’s lost an element of its very GTS-ness as a result. You can press the all-guns-blazing button for the (standard) sports exhaust, but all that really does is annoy other motorists.

And trust us, when the 2.1-tonne Porsche SUV test car in question turns up painted Peridot Green, is fitted with the front end from the Turbo and a styling kit, your ability to draw looks like daggers from everyone else on the road is already pretty profound. No matter that the lurid hue does a rather splendid job of complementing the gloss black detailing present on everything from the GTS badges to the quadruple tailpipes.

If that’s the bad news, what’s the good news?

Hard though it is, put the engine issue out of your mind. The main thing, the most important thing, is that the upgraded chassis of the Cayenne GTS will still rearrange your preconceived understanding of physics. With a 20mm drop on the steel springs and a 24mm drop on the optional air suspension, from the delicacy and accuracy of the steering to the astonishing way it controls its bulk, this is an SUV that thinks it’s a sports car.

To get the full effect you are going to have to take a foray into the dangerous territory that is the Porsche options list. This is an alternative reality that somehow convinces you it’s ok to spend £971 on carbonfibre door sill guards (illuminated!) and £534 on a Bluetooth module (let’s not even get into the £2157 Porsche charges for sat-nav, nor the £324 it costs for digital radio – a feature that’s now standard on every Volkswagen).

However, it’s also home to Porsche Ceramic Composite Brakes (£5924), Porsche Torque Vectoring Plus (£1011), the self-levelling air suspension package that includes Porsche Active Suspension Management (£2328), and – most critically of all – Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control (a comparatively reasonable £2186). You want these. Especially the last one.

Browse used Porsche Cayennes for sale

What’s so special about all the GTS chassis tech, then?

PDCC is an active anti-roll system, and it’s this that really melts your melon. It isn’t new for the 2015 GTS, but the way it keeps the Cayenne flat and level through corners will almost – almost – convince you that you’re not, in fact, driving an SUV but a more conventional high-performance car that just happens to be floating two feet off the ground. The direction changes and the roll resistance are nothing short of extraordinary.

Add in that sublime steering and the surprisingly decent ride quality – no doubt the optional air suspension helps but you can comfortably drive this around in the Sport setting without rupturing any of your own personal critical components – and you’ve got such a brilliant all-rounder it could genuinely represent a one-car solution for many a well-heeled enthusiast driver. No, you’ll never entirely escape that weight and vastness, but Porsche has done a bloody good job of disguising it. 

Verdict

Still amazing to drive, but we miss the V8. Simples. So if fuel costs aren’t your primary concern, maybe save yourself a few bob on the overall price by tracking down the previous Cayenne GTS – whack a private plate on and only the nerdy few will know the difference. Either way, especially with the right options, this is a seriously impressive piece of engineering.

Specs

Price when new: £72,523
On sale in the UK: Now
Engine: 3604cc 24v twin-turbo V6, 434bhp @ 6000rpm, 442lb ft @ 1600-5000rpm
Transmission: Eight-speed auto, four-wheel drive
Performance: 5.2sec 0-62mph, 163mph, 28.5mpg, 228g/km CO2
Weight / material: 2110kg/steel
Dimensions (length/width/height in mm): 4855/1954/1702

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Photo Gallery

  • 2015 Porsche Cayenne GTS - now with twin-turbo V6
  • 2015 Cayenne GTS interior gets lots of Alcantara. And logos
  • Think this looks stroppy? Imagine it in fluorescent green
  • 2015 Porsche Cayenne GTS is on sale now from £72k

By CJ Hubbard

Former CAR magazine associate editor, road tester, organiser, extremely variable average wheel count

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