First Drive: Porsche’s Cayenne GTS Coupe brings sledgehammer performance to the SUV segment
The GTS sits between regular Cayenne models and the Turbo. Is it a great blend of both? Jack Evans finds out.
What is it?
Though the motoring world is pushing each day for more electrification in its cars, Porsche believes that there’s still a place for the ultra-sporty SUV. Yes, it makes the Taycan – the electric, face-bending plug-in supercar, as well as a series of hybrids – but the rest of its range is largely made up of big, powerful, expensive vehicles. And here’s another one.
It’s called the Cayenne GTS Coupe, and it’s a sportier version of the firm’s high-end SUV designed to slot in neatly between the standard car and the full-fat Turbo version. Let’s climb aboard and see what it’s like.
The GTS moniker has been a long-standing feature in the Porsche line-up. Throughout its range of cars, it brings enhancements designed to make the driving experience even more involving and even more exciting.
The Cayenne Coupe GTS is no different, as it gains a revised suspension setup as well as a powerful V8 engine. It’s all about the small tweaks here, which add up to make quite the difference.
It gains some visual enhancements too to better differentiate it from the rest of the Cayenne range, while the interior receives some choice extras to help sweeten the deal even further.
What’s under the bonnet?
The old Cayenne GTS utilised a V6 engine, but this has been dropped for the latest model in favour of a red-blooded 4.0-litre V8. As a result, both power and torque are up on the predecessor’s figure, with the new GTS now producing a healthy 454bhp and 620Nm, sent to all four wheels through an eight-speed automatic gearbox. 0-60mph takes just four seconds while flat-out it’ll do 168mph.
Of course, an engine of this size and power in a car as weighty as the GTS means it’s not going to be the most efficient of vehicles. Claimed fuel economy is 24.8mpg (which will drop considerably when you drive the GTS as it’s meant to be driven) while CO2 emissions stand at 260g/km. That said, Porsche has fitted the Cayenne Coupe with a stop-start system that tries to chime in at every opportunity – no matter how small the pause in motion is.
What’s it like to drive?
Jump into the driving seat, which is high and commanding, and initially, there’s little to differentiate the GTS from other Cayenne models. Yes, there’s an understated burble from the exhaust, but save for a few notes from the V8 under the bonnet, it’s all business as usual. Very pleasant, in that case.
Push a little harder though, and the once-massive GTS appears to shrink around you. The steering is a real high point – as it is in all Porsche cars – while the engine has an unquenchable thirst for firing you towards the horizon. The adaptive ride is too firm in its hardest setting – far too firm for the UK’s roads – but in its softest mode, it provides enough support without proving overly brittle. This is a big car, mind you, and though it’ll likely feel at home sweeping through European highways, it can feel a touch oversized on the country roads here.
How does it look?
If you wanted a car for its understated, played-down looks, then you may want to look elsewhere. The Cayenne GTS Coupe isn’t a car for shrinking violets, but it does have a certain appeal in its brashness. The central-fit exhaust at the back is a divisive styling touch, as it appears to split the rear bumper in half. The Coupe styling itself is a real conversation starter, but those who would rather the GTS as a conventional SUV can have that in the standard Cayenne GTS.
The front of the car is big and imposing, while the sheer bulk of it gives the GTS a fair degree of presence out on the road.
What’s it like inside?
The cabin of the Cayenne GTS Coupe is beautifully finished, with plenty of tactile materials used throughout the cabin. It helps to give an instant sense of occasion, while the frequent use of Alcantara throughout the interior helps to add to the car’s sporty, go-faster feel. Even the thin-rimmed steering wheel appears fresh from a racing model.
Practicality-wise it ticks the boxes too; there’s plenty of legroom in the back (though headroom is slightly compromised compared to the standard Cayenne due to the Coupe’s sloping roof) while 625 litres of seats-up boot space and 1,540 litres of seats-down room means there’s more than enough area for luggage.
What’s the spec like?
As one of Porsche’s most popular models, the Cayenne has got some of the very latest bells and whistles that the firm has to offer. There’s a huge 12.3-inch infotainment screen set into the middle of the dash, and it’s both superbly clear to view and operate. It features Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, so you’ve got a more streamlined way of connecting your phone, too.
There’s also Porsche’s Advanced Cockpit, which brings two seven-inch screens either side of the central rev counter. They’re intuitive and remarkably helpful; you can display the satellite navigation display on the right-hand screen, meaning you can quickly see your upcoming turn without having to look down from the road.
It could be said that the world doesn’t really need a car like the Cayenne GTS Coupe. It’s heavy, over-the-top and relatively thirsty. But the way that Porsche executes cars like this makes you pleased that they do exist even if it could be said that cars like this have their days very much numbered.
But it’s here for now, and whoever wants to choose an SUV that’ll gladly out-pace most sports cars while delivering enough room for four people and their luggage will be rightly pleased with the Cayenne GTS Coupe.
Sorry, we are not accepting comments on this article.