|Engine||Power||Torque||0-100kph||Top speed||Weight||Basic price|
|V8 , 4806cc||420hp @ 6500rpm||380lb ft @ 3500rpm||5.7 secs||261kph||2085kg||$93,620|
The archaic-looking starter switch on the dashboard would also come under scrutiny were it not for the sound that erupts from the 4.8-litre V8 when it is turned. Revised inlet valve timing, new camshafts and an ECU remap mean the 420hp unit produces 20hp more than the S model and 15hp more than the preceding GTS. Combined with 380lb ft of torque, the SUV will hit 261kph and go from 0-100kph in just 5.7 seconds. Compare that time to the new Golf GTI, which takes nearly a second longer to hit 100kph from the line, and we can start to see the GTS’ potential.
It’s the noise though that sends the chills through the spine. A low rumble at idle cascades into a low growl as the revs rise thanks to specially tuned intake and exhaust acoustics. At pace, and when Sport mode is selected, exhaust noise is transferred through two channels to the A-pillars in what Porsche calls its Sound Symposer system. Clever acoustics means there’s little in the way of road and wind noise, though these would be blasted aside regardless by the V8 burble that ricochets about the cabin. It’s a glorious boom that helps remind its occupants of the GTS’ sporty nature.
So too does the handling. Chassis updates and new steel spring suspension mean the new GTS rides 24mm lower than the S, reducing the centre of gravity considerably (well, considerable for an SUV anyway). No better is this new poise demonstrated than when the GTS is tipped into a corner. Active stabilisers in the Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control work to automatically negate vehicle lean, meaning there’s impressively little body roll though the turns. There’s also impressive grip in the road legal Michelin Pilot Sports and solid heft through the electronic steering, even if it can prove heavy at low speeds. This allows the driver to lean harder through the turns than you might think possible for an SUV: only my own preconceptions about tipping over stop me from pushing on further. Then there are the brakes. On the Cayenne S the callipers are silver. On the standard GTS they are red. Our test model includes the Porsche Ceramic Composite Brake system, which means the callipers are yellow, and we’re still trying to work out if that goes with the lime green paint. The PCCB system requires less pressure applied to the pedal to bring the vehicle to a halt, and though the danger of the brakes being over-assisted is high, there’s more than enough feel through the ceramic discs to keep the driver connected.
Clearly the sports car side of the GTS has shown itself, but at a price to the SUV. The optional GTS Sports Seats offer excellent lumbar support but does mean they’re quite stiff. Regardless of whether the drive system is in Sport or Comfort, the stiffened suspension and revised dampers also affects the ride comfort, both of which leave a question mark over long distance journeys in the GTS.
Early assumptions had been that throwing 420 stampeding horses at the tarmac would bring with it a clout to the jaw and a bonnet rising to heavens. In Normal driving mode, acceleration in the all-wheel drive GTS is surprisingly relaxed, changes through the eight-speed Tiptronic S automatic gearbox keeping upshifts early and downshifts low in an effort to help fuel economy. There’s even a stop/start button, which for the sake of the engine noise I choose to deactivate.
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