CAYENNE GTS FIRST DRIVE #2015
The latest 2015 #Porsche
Cayenne GTS has been ‘downsized’ from a V8 to a 3.6-litre V6 twin-turbo. Does that mean it’s not the performance Porsche it once was? Story: Simon Jackson Photography: Richard Pardon
There’s no getting away from it: everything in the motoring world is being forced to downsize in order to become more efficient and, like it or not, that’s starting to have a direct effect on the Porsche cars we know and love. Among the first ‘sporty’ (for want of a better term) Porsche models to be hit with the bureaucrat’s stick is one of the brand’s most prized SUV models: the Cayenne GTS. This new version of the GTS is available alongside the other petrol models in the Cayenne’s latest fourth generation guise for the 2015 MY, we drove most of the range back in our March issue and were very impressed. What’s more we took the rangetopping diesel model, aptly titled S Diesel, on a jaunt to Paris in our May issue, and found it to be a seriously impressive and capable companion.
This new Cayenne GTS follows its predecessor’s makeup, this being the third Cayenne to be graced with the GTS badge out back. The first version arrived in 2007 boasting a 4.8-litre naturally aspirated V8 engine. It borrowed its front aspect from the Cayenne Turbo and featured a revised close-ratio gearbox designed to impart a sporting feel and to improve its time when tackling the allimportant 0-62mph dash. Today the V8 engine is gone, sacrificed in order to fit with the modern world; in its place is the 3604cc V6 twin-turbo engine from the Macan and Cayenne S, this time tweaked for added performance. In fact, the GTS lays claim to 20hp more than the Cayenne S and 37lb ft more torque, shaving three tenths off its 0-62mph time. It retains the eight-speed Tiptronic gearbox so, on paper at least, it’s an improvement over the outgoing Cayenne GTS it replaces. Of course, there are other areas to consider here too: the chassis mixes PASM with traditional steel springs, which equates to a 24mm drop in ride height over the S model, unless you opt for air suspension, which of course you will. Borrowing from the mighty Cayenne Turbo, the GTS incorporates 390mm brake discs with six-piston callipers up front, with 358mm four-piston items at the rear unless you were to tick the box marked ‘PCCB’, in which case you’ll receive Porsche powerful carbon ceramic stoppers. This new GTS then blends elements from lower down and further up the Cayenne food chain, but it has a rather awkward balancing act to perform. It cannot upset the true performance variant of the Cayenne – the Turbo and Turbo S, both of which are also force induced. This is a rather tricky situation for Porsche and one which it’s likely to encounter more in future if, or rather when, a force-induced 911 arrives to replace the existing Carrera models, leaving us with a turbo Carrera, and a turbo Turbo model…
Anyway, back to the here and now. This new twin-turbo Cayenne GTS certainly misses the sense of occasion delivered by its roaring V8 forebear, and sadly it’s not any more economical than the old version to make up for it (we averaged 20mpg with a mix of driving). What it does provide, though, is a good chunk of torque in a rather large mid-range spread, so on the road it’s quick enough to feel spirited, very spirited for a vehicle of such mass. In conjunction with the very accurate and rewarding steering, the GTS is able to quickly lure you into forgetting you’re driving a 2110kg SUV, responding rather like a fast hatchback of half that weight making progress with a deadly efficiency without making a racket about it – this car is more of a silent assassin over the old car’s all-guns-blazing approach. Of course, there are the various suspension settings which enable you to tailor the chassis to suit your fancy, although it is missing a razor sharp setting which might allow this GTS to sit more comfortably with its namesakes in the current pool of GTS cars.
However, the lack of occasion, in part the result of its propulsion system (naturally), means this GTS does not provide the same hair-raising soundtrack (even with the switchable exhaust system wide open) as the V8 used to, or bizarrely that the S Diesel V8 does, which leaves it a little lacklustre in this department. What’s more, if mid-range torque is what you need, and to be honest you really do in an SUV, then the S Diesel far surpasses the abilities of the GTS – it has 184lb ft more torque than the GTS after all.
The new Cayenne is good, very good actually when compared with its rivals such as anything wearing a Range Rover badge, and this GTS is an extremely capable and alluring addition to the model line-up. However those three letters feel more like they simply denote a specification or trim level on this Cayenne, whereas they would seem to mean so much more on Porsche’s other models, most notably the 991, Cayman and Boxster. The world of SUVs is quite removed from that of sports cars, and while this Cayenne is effectively as close to an off-road sports car as you can get, it’s still a two-tonne means of transport required to serve a dual purpose, so by definition it’s somewhat compromised. As an ‘all-rounder’ it might not be our pick of the current Cayenne range but there’s no denying that the GTS makes a positive statement (especially in this optional shade of Peridot green!) aesthetically, with its driving dynamics and through its exceptionally high levels of refinement. With prices starting at £72,523, the Cayenne GTS is also considerably cheaper than the Turbo or Turbo S models, offering a pokey package with pronounced presence for the price of an entry-level 991 Carrera.
ENGINE: 3606 V6 twin-turbo
TRANSMISSION: Eight-speed Tiptronic, 4WD
BRAKES: 390mm discs with six-piston calipers (front), 358mm discs with four-piston callipers (rear)
CHASSIS: Adaptive air suspension with adjustable ride height
Torque: 443lb ft
Top Speed: 163mph
Fuel consumption: 28mpg (claimed combined)
ON THE ROAD PRICE: £72,523