Porsche Cayenne GTS: The Best Sporty 4×4 Ever?

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Porsche already has a fast 4×4 in the form of the Cayenne Turbo, but thought there was still room for a new GTS – the more driver focused version without the two turbochargers, but with more thorough tuning on the 4.8-litre V8 engine. It falls short 79bhp on the Cayenne Turbo and a notable 136lb ft of torque but is considerably cheaper. It’s never been the Porsche way to dwell on the numbers as they’ve always let their cars do the talking on the track/road, so if there’s a lack of power on first glace then this is probably for a reason or justified somewhere else.

You might think that in this current economic climate a car such as the Cayenne Turbo is a somewhat pointless car. Frugality is taking over and people seek power that is balanced with sound environmental credentials. The figures tell a different story though as the last Cayenne Turbo sold over 15,000 units – accounting to a strong contribution to overall Cayenne models. This bodes well for the new GTS then. Maybe there is a market?

Is this what the Cayenne GTS is then? A gap filler? A slightly cheaper and slightly more economical version of their flagship turbo charged 4×4?

This is the 2nd GTS to go on sale and is a full 160kg lighter than the last one, with 20bhp more. This bodes positively for Porsche as does the new Sound Symposer which allows the engine sound to be channelled into the cabin with variable exhaust flaps. It sits 24mm lower than the Cayenne S and comes with 20-inch alloys as standard and a tasty 8-speed automatic gearbox is available allowing the engine to stay in that ‘sweet spot’ for as long as possible. It’s looking like a nice car then, but what we really want to know is how well it drives!

In good news; the Cayenne GTS proves that it is even possible to make a two-tonne 4×4 handle and behave like a sporty estate car – such as the Audi RS4 or BMW M5. Most impressively is that the GTS proves naturally aspirated engines are still fast and there isn’t always the requirement for a turbo charger. The engine feels natural and powerful, yet not overwhelming – it is reassuringly powerful yet tame. You can get to 62mph in just 5.7 seconds too, proving the speed of the GTS is properly fast. Not just for an SUV, but full stop. The ride is decent too, and even on sports mode where the suspension is at its firmest it was relatively comfortable meaning you really could live with this car. This could be the perfect compromise when it comes to sports car handling and 4×4 practicality, although you’d have to be mad to actually take the GTS off-road with its low clearance, lack of locking differential and those huge tyres.

You get to experience a fairly nimble and fast car with the upright driving position that a 4×4 offers – and this is probably its greatest strength. The engine is punchy and the steering precise and tidy. It’s unlikely that you’ll buy one of these to test it to the max, but it’s nice to know it could handle a getaway situation.

Why you should buy one:

If you’re in the market for buying or leasing a fast 4×4 with bold styling and an alternative to the Range Rover – then yes. The Cayenne GTS is fast enough for anyone, relatively spacious with a great driving position and best of all costs over £20,000 less than the Cayenne Turbo.

You wouldn’t call this model ‘stripped out’ either, as the interior is pleasant and there are plenty of mod-cons available as options. The GTS really does the offer the compromise that many brands try to achieve, so for £67,000 this could be the car for you.

Why you shouldn’t buy one:

For a large car there is a lack of rear legroom, which can be an immediate problem if you have a family or plan on ferrying children or passengers around in the back. The gearbox is also a little sluggish and doesn’t change up and down as responsively as you’d like. If fuel economy is what you’re looking for then it still won’t be massively in the favour of the GTS. A good drive can realistically average out at around 18mpg which is hardly sensible, so this is worth bearing in mind.

It’s also unlikely that you need the power of this model, so a BMW X5 or Range Rover Sport could be more suitable, but this comes down to personal taste. Who realistically needs over 400bhp in a car that sits this high up?

Verdict:

A great new SUV from Porsche that will make a fine choice for any business lease or family ‘thrash-around’. It suffers from the same problems that other competitors do, but it gets round them through its styling and presence. A class leader in the non-off road 4×4 market.

This review is courtesy of Nationwide Vehicle Contracts who specialise in car leasing and contract hire.

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